Growing up, I always remember dyeing our Easter eggs with those pre-packaged PAAS kits you see everywhere. You know the kind; they come with the little food dye pellets, a tiny wire egg dipper, stickers and those odd paper egg wrappers or stands that didn’t really seem to fit the eggs. We’d pull out the directions and a bunch of coffee mugs and tablespoons and go to town, dropping the eggs in the cups and doing our best not to crack all of them in the process. I can’t remember a single Easter where we didn’t use those kits and I thought that was how everyone dyed eggs.
It was my grandparents who introduced me to ways to get creative with the process. They still used the PAAS kits for the dye, but my grandfather would use the end of an old candle to write our names after the wax crayon from the kit broke or was worked into a nub by an overzealous decorator. He’d use scissors to cut masking tape into little strips to craft crosses and prepare elaborate patterns before dipping the eggs. It was because of him and my grandmother that I learned the art of holding half of the egg in the colored water to dye just one side and how to double dip to create dual-hued designs. The whole egg-sperience left me excited about the possibilities. (I’m sorry, but I love puns).
Now that I have a family of my own, I love the idea of experimenting with different dyes and decorations each year, and you don’t have to go very far to find them. Pinterest is loaded with ideas on everything from gilded eggs with gold leaf and temporary tattoo eggs, to eggs painted carefully by hand with watercolors. When you think about it, a plain egg is essentially a tiny blank canvas, so if you wanted to, you could get lost for hours perusing options online for inspiration.
Because my son just turned two, we wanted to try something he could get into and have some fun with. I stumbled upon this Shaving Cream Easter Eggs idea. We were all set to try it until I found an even better option: Cool Whip Dyed Easter Eggs! It’s basically the same idea–use a cream-based dyeing process to create marbled patterns, but this way, if he got curious and decided to taste it, he wouldn’t end up with a mouthful of Barbasol in his mouth before I could stop him.
I didn’t have any Cool Whip on-hand but I did have some leftover heavy cream in the fridge and because it only takes a few minutes to whip up your own, I followed this Homemade Whipped Cream recipe from Gimme Some Oven to use as the base. I also liked the idea of having a variety of colors, so we used a muffin tin instead of a Tupperware container. With a little help, my son carefully scooped the whipped cream into each individual cup and dropped in the dye, varying the drops a bit for different colors. I let him stir the cups with chopsticks, while I put the hard boiled eggs in a bowl with some vinegar (it helps with color saturation). Then he dunked each egg in the colors and I helped him spin the egg around, placing them on a few plates when we were done. The Cool Whip recipe recommends letting the eggs sit in the fridge for up to 8 hours so the dye can set in, so I just washed out the muffin tin and dropped them in for easy fridge storage.
The Whipped Cream method was definitely on the messy side, but probably not any more messy than having him dip his entire hand in a coffee cup of food dye or knock it over. Plus, it was a lot of fun, so I would definitely try this recipe again. We’re also planning on naturally-dyeing some Easter eggs this weekend with our family, so if you’re looking for a step-by-step guide, check this out.