March 30--Why hunt for plain, pastel-colored eggs on Easter morning?
Liven up your search by going beyond placing a dye pellet into vinegar and dropping in the egg.
First you need to decide what type of eggs you are going to decorate.
If you're a fan of hard-boiled eggs and love egg-salad, go the traditional route. The American Egg Board offers an easy method of boiling the perfect egg.
Place eggs in a saucepan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add cold water to cover the eggs by an inch. Heat them over high heat just until the water boils and remove the pan from the heat. Cover the pan. Let the eggs stand in the hot water for about 12 minutes for large eggs, nine minutes for medium eggs and 15 minutes for extra long. Drain the hot water and cool the eggs by running cold water over the eggs or in a bowl of ice water. Refrigerate after they are cool.
The Egg Board also recommends using week-old eggs for boiling, as they are easier to peel. Hard-boiled eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.
If hard-boiled eggs will go to waste, you can go the easy route, or the harder one.
The easiest method is to use plain plastic eggs that can be filled with treats, and decorate those.
If you're up to a challenge or want to create a keepsake, try to blow out eggs.
Leave the eggs out until they are at room temperature. Puncture the large end of the egg with a needle and enlarge the hole enough to allow the egg's contents to flow out. Use the needle to break up the yolk in the shell. At the small end, punch a small hole with the needle. Hold the egg with the larger hole facing down over a small bowl. Blow through the small hole so the contents of the egg fall into the bowl. Carefully rinse the egg out under running water and let them dry.
Now that the eggs are set, it's time to decorate.
To dye or not to dye?
If you decide to use plastic eggs the answer is clear. All you'll need to do is pick the color you want to use and use that as a base.
For real eggs, dye is not necessary, as white (or brown) can be a good palatte on which to start.
If you want color, use store-bought dye kits or a dye of a 1/2 cup of room temperature water, 1 tablespoon of vinegar and food color, as desired. For a single-color base, drop the egg in the dye and let it sit until it reaches the desired color.
Or go with a two-tone look by holding half of the egg in one color and then putting the other in another.
If you want to dye, but want to have a design left in white, use a crayon to draw on the egg before dropping it in the dye.
Premade decorated shrinking egg wraps are an easy way to add a pop to the basic dye job.
Once the basic dyed eggs are dry, or the plastic eggs are chosen, let little ones get creative with Easter-themed stickers, craft paint, markers, glue, glitter, ribbons and more. Plastic eggs are probably the most forgiving for young hands. If a toddler squeezes too hard, the worst you'll get is a dent, not a cracked or shattered shell. For more crafty folks, pompoms, craft foam and googly eyes can be used to create animals such as bunnies, chicks and ducklings.
If you're not into paints, glitter and googly eyes, you can make creative eggs using dye alone.
For a marbled look, add a tablespoon of cooking oil to the basic dye mix. Swirl the liquid with spoon and dip the egg into one color. Remove it and pat it dry. Repeat the process twice more with other colors.
For the look of '60s tie die, place a few eggs in a metal colander. Splash the eggs with about 1/4 cup of vinegar. Let a few drops of food coloring fall onto the eggs and carefully roll them around to spread the color. Let them sit for about 30 seconds and repeat with a second color. A third color can be added as well. After the final color sets, rise with water and let them dry.
For a different type of tie-dye, use silk ties to dye your eggs. This should only be done on eggs that have been blown out, as fabric dye isn't edible.
Cut the ties into 4-by-6-inch squares. Place the pattern of the tie against the egg, wrapping the egg completely in the tie. Wrap thread tightly around the tie and egg until it is completely covered. Place the eggs in a pot with water, making sure the eggs will be covered with an inch of water. Because blown eggs will float, place a colander upside over the eggs to keep them submerged. Bring the water to a boil and turn down the heat and let them simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon. Let the eggs cool with the fabric still on. Once the fabric is removed, the eggs will be left with the pattern from the ties.
Those are just a few of the multitude of ideas available to turn plain eggs into works of art. The options are only limited by your imagination.
(c)2013 The Daily Star (Oneonta, N.Y.)
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Distributed by MCT Information Services
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