How to Dye Marbleized Easter Eggs

Dyeing Easter eggs is a favorite holiday tradition for kids and grownups alike. Give your plain dyed eggs a kicky, multicolored twist this year: Add olive oil to the dye solution to create a swirling, mottled effect.

Marbleized dyed Easter Eggs

Photo by: H. Camille Smith

H. Camille Smith

Materials Needed:

  • eggs
  • liquid food colors (red, yellow, blue and green)
  • olive oil
  • distilled white vinegar
  • mugs or small bowls (one for each color)
  • paper towels
  • fork (one for each color)
  • teaspoon
  • tablespoon
  • 1/2 cup measuring cup
  • large pot with lid
  • tongs or a slotted spoon

Hard-Boil Eggs

Place eggs in a single layer in a deep pot. Fill the pot with cold water – the eggs should be completely covered by one to two inches of water (Image 1). Bring the pot, uncovered, to a rolling boil then remove the pot from heat and add the lid. Allow the eggs to continue to cook for another 12 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, carefully remove the eggs from the pot and place on a towel to cool (Image 2).

Mix Oil, Water and Dye Solutions

Add 1/2 cup water to mugs or small bowls (one for each color), then microwave until water boils. Remove from microwave. To each mug add 1 teaspoon white vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil and at least 20 drops of food coloring. Stir to mix. Because oil and water don't mix, the olive oil will float on the surface.

Adding food coloring to Easter egg dye bath

Roll Eggs in Oil

Use a fork to break up the floating olive oil then carefully roll an egg in the oil before submerging it (Images 1 and 2). Tip: The olive oil will form globules on the surface of the egg which prevent the dye from penetrating the shell. This creates a mottled effect.

Remove Dyed Eggs and Allow to Dry

Leave eggs in the dye solution a short time for pastel colors or longer for more saturated shades. Use a fork to remove eggs from dye; place them in a paper towel and gently wipe excess olive oil off the eggs' shells (Image 1). Set dyed eggs aside to dry (Image 2).

Double-Dip Eggs for a Multicolor Effect

If you're happy with the single-dyed eggs' appearance, you're done. For an interesting two-tone effect, repeat the dying process in a second color. Tip: If eggs aren't achieving the same mottled effect they did with the first color, add another tablespoon of olive oil to the dye solution.

Rolling dyed Easter egg in ollive oil to marbleize it

Photo by: H. Camille Smith

H. Camille Smith

Proudly Display

Display your marbleized eggs in a shallow dish or basket. Note: The FDA recommends that cooked eggs be refrigerated or consumed after only two hours at room temperature. When properly refrigerated, hard-boiled eggs can safely be eaten up to one week after cooking.

Marbleized Easter eggs in a brass urn as a centerpiece

Photo by: H. Camille Smith

H. Camille Smith

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