Every year we get a couple dozen eggs and then sit down as a family to transform them into beautiful oval works of art. Easter is a really special time at our house and this is one of those family traditions passed down from my parents that I am thrilled to pass along to my kids.
First I boil the eggs in a large pot for about 20 minutes and then I rinse them under cold water. I set them on a towel and let them dry thoroughly. When they are ready, I boil some water for the dye. I set out a bunch of coffee mugs (one for each colour) and add boiling water about 1" from the rim. I then add about 1 tsp of white vinegar and food colouring (can be purchased in the spice or baking section at the supermarket) I use tablespoons to lift each egg out of the dye.
Don't bother with those pricey egg decorating kits - the dye is cheap and weak and you will at best end up with pastel eggs. Easter happens but once a year - be creative and don't be chintzy with the food colouring (I may put in half a tiny bottle if I want really deeply coloured eggs!
Elastic bands: These are great for wavery lines and thick solid bands of colour (those fat post office ones are great for this) Criss cross a pile over a tiny egg and see the intricate designs you come up with.
Star Stickers (or other shaped stickers): Those little gold stars that teachers use can be had 400 for $1 at my local dollar store - the possibilities are almost endless with that many stars! Place them all over the egg or do some, dye the egg, do some more and dye again - you will end up with a kaleidoscope of colour.
Binder Reinforcements: Those little white circles that people use for three ring binder paper can be put to use here by leaving thick circles on your egg. over lap them or use them as eyes for your little egg people. Add them in with stars and elastic bands and you have some fancy eggs!
Crayons: These resist the dye - you can draw pretty pictures (I like flowers, swirls and stars) or write names of your children on them. White is particularly magical to little kids because it is the super invisible mark maker - watch how excited they get when you pull a seemingly innocent egg out of the dye and it has all sorts of neat designs on it!
After dipping the eggs over and over in the dyes, leaving some to sit a long time to really soak up the pigment you are ready for the last step. Peel off the stickers, remove the elastic bands and then take a paper towel and put some vegetable oil in it. Gently rub the eggs evenly to pick up a glossy shine. The oil will also remove any sticker residue. Display your eggs proudly - make sure to eat a few too!
If you are wondering about the safety of eating Easter eggs, one thing to do is put the bowl in the fridge and set it out only at breakfast time for a short spell. Refrigerated boiled eggs will keep up to a week, peel or no peel.