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Dye Easter Eggs With Silk Ties

25 March 2009 39,927 views 52 Comments

by heather

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Use thrifted silk ties wrapped around eggs to dye them with beautiful and stunning patterns! Project from Martha.

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Project Materials:

  • Raw eggs, on hand
  • Silk ties, blouses, or boxers, on hand or thrifted
  • Cheesecloth, old nylon stockings, or old cloth to cover silk-wrapped eggs, on hand or $1
  • Yarn, string, or another method for closing the wrap around the eggs, on hand
  • 3 Tablespoons of vinegar, on hand

Total cost: $1 and up

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Finding the Ties:

I went to my local Goodwill Outlet (aka "The Bins" where stuff is sold by the pound) and scored ten silk ties (total cost: about $2). Be sure ties are 100% silk. You will usually find a tag near one end or the other of the tie that tells you if it is made of silk. If you can't find a tag, silk ties have a soft and fine feel to them.

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What to look for: bright, dark, and small-patterned ties work best! Larger-patterned ties are more abstract, but still pretty. Maroons tend to bleed throughout the entire batch (if you want to avoid this, keep all the maroons together in a separate pot). Lighter ties will make a lighter (or nearly invisible) pattern.

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Cutting the Ties:

I started the first tie by ripping the whole thing apart by the seams, and quickly decided that I'd rather just cut a piece of tie off, rip it open, and wrap. Whatever you decide to do, you will want to open the tie up, remove any lining, tags, and interfacing, and just use the single piece of silk.

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Wrapping the Egg:

Wrap the piece of silk GOOD SIDE toward the egg. If your silk has an image you want to imprint on the egg (as in the deer picture in the silk shown here), be sure the image is flush against the egg.

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After the silk is wrapped around the egg, secure it by wrapping another layer of fabric around the egg. I used cheesecloth because I had it on hand, but it would be super easy to use old nylons or tights, or any old stash fabric or old (ruined) clothing you have. Secure with a piece of yarn, a rubber band, or each end with a twisty tie.

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Boiling the Eggs:

When you are done wrapping your eggs (I used a big pot and put enough eggs in to cover the bottom of the pot in one layer), put water in your pot, enough to cover eggs. Add 3 Tablespoons of vinegar. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.

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Drain the eggs, allow to cool, and unwrap! You can re-use the silk to make more eggs, if you like.

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52 Comments »

  • Stevers said:

    I am guessing the vinegar goes in the water when you boil it?

  • TJ said:

    Oh, it’s originally from Martha Stewart – no wonder it’s popping up everywhere! They certainly are gorgeous eggs, but I think my munchkins will prefer to do the old fashioned method.

  • heather (author) said:

    @Stevers: Yes, you’re right! I added that to the instructions, thanks!

  • Sister Diane said:

    HOLY CRAP, you are KILLING ME!!! This is the coolest idea ever. But can I admit that I am a little sad for the ties? :-)

  • jen said:

    BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!

  • heather (author) said:

    @sister diane: Don’t be – they were stained & at the Bins… on their way to the rag dealer? Yay, I was hoping you would like this one! We can both thank Martha Stewart’s team of brilliant creative geniuses!

  • Becca Brant said:

    I have a question- is there any way to do this so that you could KEEP the eggs? Like when you blow out the eggs and can keep the shells for decoration year to year. I’d love to do these, but hate to go to all the effort just to have to crack them and use them or thow away when they rot. I’m guessing it wouldn’t work to use blown shells because they wouldn’t sink. Thanks! I do love the look of this!

  • heather (author) said:

    @Becca: This is the first time I’ve done it, so I’m not sure. I think some people on the Martha Stewart project (link at the very bottom of the post) have done it with blown eggs. I guess you could try it to see if it works! Maybe you could blow them out, put them in the pot, cover it with water, and then put a plate over the top of them to keep them down in the water?

    Let me know if you try it!

  • Kathy V said:

    It makes me wonder what else we could do with discarded silk ties.

    Very nicely done, Heather!

  • craftydame said:

    SO cool! i love this! i’m not usually into easter stuff, but i might break that rule for these!

    couldn’t you blow them out after dyeing them?

  • heather (author) said:

    @craftydame in this case, you boil them with the silk on them, so you couldn’t blow them out after they were done because they come out hardboiled! :)

  • craftydame said:

    oh duh!

    can you tell that i don’t ever cook eggs? ;)
    i actually had to phone my mom long distance one day to ask her how to hardboil eggs when my grandma wanted some!

  • g. said:

    this is beautiful. I’m thinking if you want to KEEP the eggs, blow them out (and rinse and clean them) and then before wrapping, fill them back up with some H20 so they’ll sink again? just a though =) I’m gonna try it out!

  • g. said:

    one more thing… did you use a special pot to boil them in? MS said to use enamel?? thanks!

  • heather (author) said:

    @g: good thinking on filling the eggs with water! I just used stainless steel – the comments on the Martha page said others did it with no problem. That darn Martha, always making things even more complicated than necessary!!

  • Nicole said:

    I saw the pics of those Easter eggs, how good do they look? I think it is great that so many people are making their plans now, and getting excited about the festivities. Hope everyone has a great Easter whatever you decide to get up to.

  • deb said:

    I would find it so hard to eat these eggs! Much too pretty to destroy. And what a great use of old silk ties.

  • Christina said:

    You crafty lady, you! These are awesome!! I cannot BELIEVE how amazing the transfer process is… that first finished egg after your picture of all of them in the boiling pot is unbelievable! It looks like you decoupaged the silk onto the egg! That would be my only other suggestion to those who want to keep the eggs… mix up your vinegar and hot water and soak the wrapped eggs in it. Maybe the lengthy boiling process is strictly for hardening the eggs?? Sounds like it’s time to experiment!

  • jek said:

    oh drats! you beat me to the punch! heehee…i have a bag of awesome silk ties here waiting to be wrapped and boiled! i love the little deer!

  • Elaine said:

    These are beautiful. How do you get the courage to destroy a silk tie? How’d you come up with this idea?

  • heather (author) said:

    @jek, I could never scoop you!! I can’t wait to see your eggies!

    @Elaine: I got the ties at the last-chance thrift store on their way to the rag dealer! Some were stained, most were very 90s! One was still tied in a Windsor knot! Ha ha! The deer one was kind of cool… but I don’t know anyone who wears a tie anymore! I got the idea from Martha Stewart!

  • Harriet Schroeder said:

    I have been doing these eggs for the past several years. I give them as gifts, and use them for center-pieces Sometimes I put glitter on them. My greand childred love helping me with them!

    Everyone loves to receive them.

  • heather (author) said:

    Harriet wrote me back and told me this about dyeing raw eggs:

    No, just wrap the raw eggs and cover with water. They will keep if you don’t break them. My friend still has hers from last year. I think they will dry up inside after a period of time. Marthas original instructions said to do them in a non-reactive pan. I cut squares of old sheets or pillow cases to use over the ties instead of cheese cloth. These are reusable. The kids love opening them after they cool.

  • cianna said:

    Thanks for posting this! I did it yesterday as an improvised activity for a 7yo and a 3yo. They really liked the mystery of not knowing how they’d turn out and are now eager to do more!

    Notes: We just cut up an old white t-shirt to wrap them in. We used the same non-stick pot that they usually boil their eggs in; there was no damage to the pot at all.

  • d said:

    These are awesome, it safe to eat the eggs?

  • Gennifer said:

    I am doing the eggs this weekend with a group of girls, I tired one out myself today and here a a few of the problems I ran into. Tying the egg in the silk took some time then I got it. I would recommend using a small egg so that you can gt more squares out of the tie. The test egg I did only part of the egg took the die but pretty nonetheless. And finding a glass or enamel pot on a budget has been the hardest of all. I found a small glass one at a second hand store but it can only do about 4 eggs at a time. I wonder if I could use my non stick big pot???/

  • amtextiles said:

    This is one of the coolest things ever!

  • heather (author) said:

    @Gennifer, I used my regular stainless steel pot with no problems!!

  • I have no idea « TeaWithBuzz said:

    [...] I last colored eggs for Easter?  Probably at least 25 years, at a guess.  Last night I did the silk-tie thing since I’m on break, it was on the internet, and thanks to Marisa I had a use for 8 eggs.  I [...]

  • katy said:

    This is frickin’ BRILLIANT!! I’m so going to try this. Of course it’ll have to wait until I get thrift some ties. So far I haven’t found a thrift store here . . .hmmmm..

  • Jeff McCollum said:

    Upon drying of the eggs, a rub down with vegetable oil really brings out the shine in these. They get a little slippery though even after the oil drys so hang on tight when you pick them up.

  • Bonnie Dee said:

    I just ran across this article.

    Your eggs are very pretty.

    BUT…!!!

    DO NOT EAT EGGS DYED WITH THIS METHOD!!!..
    apply this method to blown eggs for decorative purposes only!!

    OMG! Think people!

    Textile dyes and dry cleaning fluids contain heavy metals, formaldehyde and numerous other poisonous-cancer causing chemicals which are not to be ingested!

    Eggs are POROUS! The porous shells absorb these toxic chemicals, transferring toxins directly into the egg!!!
    The pretty color you are seeing ARE the chemicals!

    I’m not trying to be a party pooper here, Please do some research and find out for yourself.

    I have not seen Martha Stewarts method, but if she suggests you serve these up to your family and guests..she’s not only clueless, she is extremely careless.

  • Margaret Golden said:

    I have been doing these for about 10 years and I have found if you let them simmer all day they will last forever. I still have some I made in 2002.The extra boiling seems to solidify the yolk and it rolls around inside the egg like a marble. I also use old white knit under shirts,cut into strips to wrap the eggs. These make a very tidy and tight wrap. Such fun !!

  • Jim said:

    That is one of the coolest things I have ever seen done with silk ties!

  • Shay said:

    I actually saw the episode of Martha where they did this. She said that you need a non-metal pan to do this. She suggested Enamel or Visions. I guess the metal reacts w/ the vinegar and makes them not come out as well. Did you use a metal pan?

  • infants said:

    I used my regular stainless steel pot with no problems

  • Dabbled » Article » Easter Eggs: 12 Interesting ways to color/paint/dye them! said:

    [...] Dye Easter Eggs With Silk Ties – Dollar Store Crafts [...]

  • Mommy69 said:

    Hey, my question is….Does it have to be Silk or can another fabric be used? I’ve never tried this before, but it seems like it would be fun for the kids….

  • heather (author) said:

    @Mommy69 As far as I know, it has to be silk! But if you try it with another fabric and it works – let me know!

  • Make Dad a Tie Bunting | Dollar Store Crafts said:

    [...] is always a stumper for me, but the other day, I found a bag of old thrift store ties I used for another project last year, so I just sat down and played with them. I came up with this reverse-applique tie banner [...]

  • Raini said:

    Margaret Golden I like the idea of boiling these for all day. did you put anything else on them so they did not smell as they got old. did the color stay bright?

  • Jamie @ hands on : as we grow said:

    It pains me to see a silk tie cut up – but as little as my husband wears the many he has, I know he wouldn’t miss one. These turned out beautiful!

    I’m featuring this on my 2 dozen ideas and techniques to dye Easter Eggs today!

    Jamie @ hands on : as we grow

  • Easter egg dyeing FasterCraft — FasterCraft said:

    [...] Dyeing using silk – In the above photo my friend Marielle used silk ties for the bottom three eggs and silk blouses for the top three. [...]

  • Erica said:

    I’ve done this for the last few years and the results are usually excellent. The only problem is that the patterns don’t seem to transfer evenly over the entire egg. I wonder if that is due to the silk fabric shifting and losing contact with the egg. If the outside wrap were snugger then maybe the egg would stay in contact with the fabric. I’ve used old cotton pillowcases in the past as the outer wrap but going to try it with old nylon hose to get a snugger fit.

  • an egg of a different color « here is hoping. said:

    [...] color easter eggs on some crafting blog several years ago. When I Googled this time around, I found several tutorials with instructions. They all said essentially the same thing: you have to use 100% silk [...]

  • Silk Tie Easter Egg Fail | CraftFail said:

    [...] the bloggers in the world have done this craft and shared it.  (I first stumbled upon it at Dollar Store Crafts.)  So I rushed right out to the nearest thrift store and bought 3 silk ties.  Then I rushed to [...]

  • Two Baker’s Dozen Decorated Eggs | hands on : as we grow said:

    [...] <<  Silk Tie Dyed Eggs Dollar Store Crafts Simple Sticker Eggs >> Show Me Mama [...]

  • Donna said:

    Could I possibly eat the eggs after the dyeing process?…I absolutely despise food waste…and I would think these wouldn’t be too dangerous? Have you ever ingested them post-coloring? Thank you for any insight and for the very creative Easter project..

  • heather (author) said:

    Hi Donna!

    We did eat them afterward, but I believe I read something afterward that said it might not be the greatest thing to do. I wonder if you could blow the eggs out first and then try to dye them with the ties afterward?

    Heather

  • lois said:

    I have done Ukranian eggs that you boil with the yolks in them. I have had them for years and the inside of the eggs just continue to dry up. I have had an occasional one rot and you will know when you follow the smell and locate it. This process takes many, many hours so you certainly do not want to destroy your art. I can’t wait to try the silk tie project. sounds wonderful..thanks for the idea.

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