When thinking of our prompt of “smooth” today, I thought of eggs, which lead to memories of dyeing Easter eggs as a child. The reference photos and instructions for dyeing Easter eggs I found online were, shall we say, rather pristine. Eggs are always shown delicately placed on spoons and lowered neatly into a pool of colored dye. Though I can’t speak for others who have dyed eggs, I can certainly say this was not how it happened in my house. Instead, it was a glorious and gleeful experiment in color. A science project that yielded wildly colored eggs with happy little splotches of bright hues that extended to the paper towels and the white paper or newspaper covering the table of my little art studio. Eggs weren’t lowered with a spoon so much as plunked in by my little hand and eagerly fished out later with the little wire egg dipper that came in the kit. When I discovered using a white crayon would add patterns, since it resists the dye, I was even more enthralled. It was perfectly messy and thoroughly enjoyable!
Dyeing Easter Eggs The Proper Way
As an adult, I don’t usually dye eggs anymore, but I’m thinking about trying it again this year so figured I should brush up on my skills. The original dye kit I used as a kid is still available and now comes in a convenient kit for sharing. This means that Philippe and I wouldn’t have to fight over the coloring cups, which I think would be a good thing. The process with these kits is awesomely simple in that you just dissolve a little color tablet in a one cup container using either one tablespoon of vinegar if want super vibrant eggs, or one tablespoon of water if you want pastel colors. Once dissolved, add 1/2 cup water and you’re ready to dunk some eggs!!
Okay, my childish exuberance involved a lot of plunking eggs, but the instructions did clearly say to gently place them in the cups. The longer you let your eggs bathe in the mixture, the darker the color. And the little wire instrument that comes with it is used to remove the egg, letting the liquid drain off for a moment, before placing it aside to let it dry.
Dyeing Easter Eggs My Way
Okay, so those were the rules, but as ever, I didn’t always adhere to them. I was impatient, so I would snatch an egg out of one pool of color and dunk it into another just to see what would happen. Sometimes, this experiment came with super awesome results and other times it was more of a muddy fright. The thing was, back then, I didn’t really care. It was just so much fun! I loved seeing what would happen when I mixed colors together and even though it made a bit of a mess, it was way more enjoyable than following step by step instructions. Doing something in a systematic fashion to get a controlled result has never once appealed to me.
I think the best Easter eggs were the ones created with extreme joy and a silliness that comes from trying whatever comes to mind in the moment. Looking back, this was my first experience with painting, and I suppose water color, and it’s still rather close to the way I paint today. I’ve studied all the steps and know exactly how I’m supposed to paint with watercolor, but then I branch out and do it in the way that feels natural in the moment. I never worried about whether or not I was doing it correctly back then, so I choose not to worry about those sorts of things today. Bits of imperfection and your own personal approach are what make a piece of artwork more interesting. A lesson I now realize I learned as a child, lost in the art of dyeing Easter eggs.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, Nickel Azo Yellow, Terra Cotta, Cobalt Turquoise and Cobalt Blue . Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!