leaf print easter eggs

I know Easter has come and gone, but I posted a few egg photos on Facebook and some of you have been asking for more info.

My interests tend to come and go in cycles. Lately I’ve had no desire to cook at home. I guess that’s why I decided on a crafty holiday project while staring at the ceiling at 4:30 on Saturday morning. It’s been over 20 years since I last dyed an egg, but my inspiration came from a Parsley Thief post that is chock full of good ideas and beautiful photographs.  The Leaf Print Easter Egg stood out from the rest… plus I thought it looked manageable. It’s not difficult once you get the hang of the technique, but it does requires patience.

How to Make Leaf Print Easter Eggs >> (original instructions)
My notes are below:

the eggs:
We don’t usually eat hardboiled eggs. I’ve been known to boil eggs so furiously that they end up cracked.  This means D was in charge of hardboiling. Plus I’m sure he wanted no part of the decorating. Here’s his technique: Place your eggs in a saucepan. Cover the eggs with at least an inch of color water add 1T of white vinegar. Bring eggs and water to a boil and let it continue for another minute. Turn off the heat. Cover the eggs and leave them in the saucepan for about 12 minutes. Allow eggs to cool completely before continuing.

the leaves:
While your eggs are cooking and cooling you can prep your leaves.  An expedition into the woods might have yielded other interesting options, but after consulting the instructions I decided to stick with kitchen herbs. I thought chervil would yield the prettiest results. Unfortunately the chervil I bought was too delicate. I tried numerous times, but never ended up with a single stem that would stay put on the egg.  I also tried flat leaf parsley, but the results weren’t as interesting. The most forgiving and compliant option ended up being young cilantro leaves. Remember: The key to a good pattern is a leaf with an interesting edge.  And the thinner the stem, the better. This way the the stocking lays flatter along the surface of the egg!

in action:
Now you’re ready to start this reverse stenciling process. Cut a nylon stocking into a 3″ section. Insert the egg inside the stocking and carefully place the leaf on top of the egg. This can take some practice and patience. When your leaf or leaves are positioned, pull back the open ends of the stocking and twist and secure with a rubber band. This requires even more practice and patience. Note: delicate herbs shrivel up immediately after being pressed on a hot egg. Be sure your eggs are completely cooled before starting. Ask me how I know this… It’s the ‘error’ part of trial and error.

the color:
Calling on my 1980’s childhood memories, I initially tried shortcut this step by finding a Paas kit. I couldn’t locate one in the grocery store, but that’s what I get for undertaking this project the day before Easter. Luckily I had read this Not Martha post and it helped me get a better grasp on mixing up the magic. At Stop & Shop, I bought 2 boxes of McCormick’s food coloring: traditional and neon. Each cup of color had 1 c of nearly boiling water, 1 T of white vinegar, plus food coloring. Add your drops at will or control freaks can reference on the Not Martha post above. I couldn’t exactly measure out drops (apparently I bought gel food coloring), so to get a darker color, most of my eggs were in the dye for at least 15-20 minutes. When you’re happy with the color of your egg, simply undo the rubber band, remove the stocking and the leaf and set the egg to dry.

Next I was worried about how the eggs would dry. I jammed safety pins into pieces of styrofoam I found in the basement. This resulted in a usable makeshift drying rack, but I’m not convinced this step was entirely necessary. The pink egg (back right) and green egg (front center) were both parsley, the rest were done with cilantro leaves.

the aftermath:
After all that work, can you believe D wants to crack my beautiful eggs and eat them? It pained me greatly, but I let him have two for breakfast this morning.

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  1. Hannah, What a fantastic idea to stick with a monochrome palette! We were out of town for Easter, but I am going to keep this in mind for next year. I’m also interested in trying natural dyes like blueberries, beets, turmeric…

  2. Hannah

    I tried this same progect with very successful results when I used a variety of different herbs. I also found that the best results come when you use different shades and hues of similar colors. These eggs reallly are beautiful. The perfect balence of nature and elegance.

  3. Wow, they are beautiful. You can honestly answer, “Very Martha” to the question, “How Martha were you this weekend?” I love them and love your drying rack too. Very clever.

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