silken eggs: hard boiled dye april 2015 martha j. darbonne · colorful easter eggs are traditional...
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SILKEN EGGS: Hard Boiled Dye
April 2015 Martha J. Darbonne
Colorful Easter eggs are traditional for Easter egg hunts, Easter baskets, and Easter table decorations. Away with the old tablet-dyed vinegar-water solution and in with the new silk tie-dyed eggs. Part science, and part mystery. Here are my hints gathered after reading and watching other articles and videos, and then making my own dyed Easter eggs for my seasonal decorations. Supplies: 100% silk fabric (cut into swatches) White fabric (old pillowcase is a good choice) Twist ties Rubber bands A dozen eggs, uncooked Scissors Non-reactive pot Cooling racks Vegetable oil (optional) Fabric Choice: I didn’t have any old silk lying around the house, so I went to a local thrift store / donation center. I didn’t find any women’s silk scarves, so I went to the men’s area and looked through their neckties. The neckties were easy to find hanging all in one location. If using neckties to obtain your stash of fabric, look on the back of the tie for a label describing the fabric. The label needs to say 100% silk; don’t get any blends! Go for bold colors, exotic patterns, and older out-of-style wide ties (you get more usable fabric that way)! Necktie Prep: If you purchased ties, then you must disassemble them so that you have only the silk fabric remaining.
1. On the backside of the tie, look for a few thread stitches holding the two sides together and cut these.
2. Slip out the cloth lining and remove any extra silk lining at the point of tie.
3. Now open your necktie so the fabric is as flat as possible; cut into fabric swatches.
4. These swatches may vary in size depending on the size eggs that you are wrapping. I prefer having more fabric with which to work.
Wrapping the Eggs:
1. Before wrapping the eggs, there is a cooking choice to be made regarding boiled eggs. I puncture each egg with a small pin prick using an egg punch; this helps prevent cracking. (My egg punch is in one of the pictures.)
2. For each egg, there needs to be enough fabric not only to wrap the egg, but enough to easily grasp when securing with a twist tie.
3. It’s important to have the fabric laying as smoothly as possible against the shell. Ripples, folds and air pockets prevent the silk from touching the egg’s surface that results in white, undyed spaces on the egg’s shell.
4. The right side of the colored silk must touch the egg’s surface when you wrap each egg.
5. There are at least two ways to wrap the eggs. a. Using one twist tie at the top of the egg whether you hold the egg
horizontally or vertically.
b. Using two twist ties, one at each end of the egg as it is lying horizontally. It looks like a wrapped piece of hard candy.
NOTE: Usually the best dye coverage is away from the twist ties; but those gathered folds near the twist ties do make interesting color patterns!
6. Now wrap each egg with a white cloth swatch; secure with twist ties. REMEMBER: these eggs are not hard boiled yet so they can crack if holding too tightly!
7. You may also use rubber bands for extra cloth security. However, rubber bands that are too snug leave a more heavily colored dye line on the egg’s surface.
Ready for cooking:
1. Use a deep non-reactive pot for cooking. (Research the meaning of ‘non-reactive pot’ to determine if your cookware is suitable for this craft.)
2. Place the wrapped eggs in your pot, cover with water and add 3 TBL to ¼ cup of white vinegar to the water. Bring to a boil; then start timer for 15 minutes. (NOTE: If I was to make hard boiled eggs, I would not boil for 15 minutes. I do not know if this time was to assist with the silk dying process, or if most other reviewers cook eggs for 15 minutes to make them hard boiled.)
Rinse and cool down:
1. Give eggs a good cold water bath. I let my water run for a few minutes. 2. Transfer the eggs to a cooling rack and wait.
Present Time - Unwrap the Eggs: 1. This is like taking your pottery out of a kiln – you’re not really sure of the
results! So, too, will the results vary with your eggs; don’t have a preconceived notion of what the silk patterns will look like.
2. I paired each necktie swatch with the finished dyed egg.
3. I had differing results with my eggs done on two different days. I used blue necktie swatches on the first day, and red on the second day.
4. No matter how careful I was, there were gaps and white splotches. Some necktie colors didn’t transfer very well at all yielding more of a pastel quality to the egg’s shell. NOTE TO SELF: Have a second person assist with wrapping; maybe four hands are better than two.
5. The bolder colors and bigger patterns worked out well and certainly look awesome on the eggs’ surfaces! So I will keep in mind to look for old, funky necktie designs the next time I do this project.
1. After the eggs are cool and dry, some instructions suggest rubbing the shells with a little vegetable oil to make them shiny; I did not try this yet.
2. Arrange in a basket and take some photos! 3. Keep cooked, hard boiled eggs in a refrigerator until ready to consume.
The process was fun, the eggs turned out really well – at least on the outside. One of the dyed eggs was opened to look at the hard boiled quality of the egg itself. The perimeter of the yolk had the color of being overcooked; it turned green-gray in color. The egg could still be eaten but I like all yellow yolks. I will do it again! A true measure of approval! Happy Easter, Martha