Not Martha

Easter Egg Food Color Palette

If you need to do some last moment Easter Egg dying these instructions will help you create simple, vibrant eggs using supplies from the grocery store.

A few years back I spent some time using good old fashioned food color to dye very saturated and vibrant eggs for my Easter Surprise Eggs project. I wasn’t quite happy with a few of the colors made back then so this week I set out to refine the process and what went from an easy and cheerful activity quickly turned into obsessive madness as my kitchen and dining room were turned into an egg dying laboratory. Timers were used, results were carefully examined and tweaked, charts were made, home production assembly lines were perfected. (A whole lot of my manic energy came from the fact that most of my week was spent with various crews of workers fixing our ceiling. I’m glad to report that the room is very nearly back to normal.)

The most fun part? I had an excuse to buy eggs in those large flats of 30. I never get to do that!

What You’ll Need

  • white eggs
  • white vinegar
  • one box McCormick assorted colors food color (red, yellow, green, blue)
  • one box McCormick assorted neon colors food color (purple, green, pink, blue)
  • skewers for lowering/lifting and drying the eggs
  • containers to hold the dye and eggs (we’ll be using 8 ounces of liquid)
  • a few vases or styrofoam cones to hold the skewers to dry the eggs

Not Necessary But Nice To Have

  • short skewers or drink stirrers for the lowering/lifting and stirring of colors
  • pint sized (16 oz) wide mouth jars
  • electric kettle for boiling water

How To

  • put 8 ounces just boiled water
  • and 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • and food coloring drops (amounts below below)
  • add an egg for a 25 minute soak (unless otherwise noted)
  • also agitate the eggs at least three times during the soak to knock off bubbles and prevent a bare spot where they rest


    20 red
    2 neon pink
    1 yellow


    20 yellow
    4 red
    2 neon pink


    20 yellow
    6 neon green


    25 neon green
    3 neon blue
    2 green


    6 blue
    2 neon blue


    2 neon blue
    2 neon pink
    2 neon purple

    Red Orange

    25 yellow
    6 red
    2 neon pink

    Yellow Orange

    20 yellow
    2 red

    Yellow Green

    20 yellow
    4 neon green


    6 neon blue
    1 blue

    Blue Violet

    5 neon blue
    2 neon pink
    1 neon purple

    Red Violet

    6 neon purple
    1 blue

    Dark Pink

    10 neon pink
    2 neon purple
    soak 10 minutes

    Light Pink

    1 neon pink
    1 neon purple
    soak 5 minutes

These 16 ounce jars are the perfect size. And later they will replace all of our drinking glasses because our drinking glasses were bought on sale and are not holding up well.

Note: All of the eggs shown here are eggshells that were emptied before they were dyed, meant to be turned into Easter Surprise Eggs. I don’t know if you’d get the same color results from a hard boiled egg, but I doubt you’d want to eat a hard boiled egg after it’s been introduced to this much food coloring.

Also note: The color amounts are subject to change because I’m still not quite happy with all of them and I didn’t yet have a chance to test dye everything one more time. Because if I did take the time to do that this wouldn’t get posted until Halloween.

A few things I learned

The color on the eggshell will deepen as it dries, so don’t despair if it isn’t as saturated as you’d hoped when you first pull it out of the dye.

The teal and the dark pink eggs were the consistent best and both of those colors worked perfectly almost from the very start. Reds and oranges turned out well, blues and purples were the most difficult to get right and tended to be the most blotchy or streaky.

When using emptied eggshells like these stirrers or skewers are really the best way to lift the egg, a spoon will prove a lot more tricky.

The colors will look very different under artificial lights, the neon colors will show a lot more and the reds will seem much more orange. It’s fascinating.

Agitate the eggs about three times during the process, lifting them out of the water to disrupt bubbles that might form and make the final egg speckled. (Or don’t, it’s actually a cute look, but the egg will have a bare spot where it rests on the bottom of the dye container if you don’t move it at least a bit.)

I have one more thing to add to my list of why jars are ideal.

I went from soaking the eggs for 10 minutes to 25 minutes because the eggs I accidentally left too long turned out better.

Ohmigosh. I just now noticed that there are egg dying charts on the back of the boxes of food coloring drops. What a palm-forehead moment. I don’t remember if I started with those charts way back when I did this the first time. Where those charts on the box back then? Did I not see them? Not trust them? Willfully ignore them? This year I started with my old notes and made changes from there. I see more egg dying in my future. (Somebody send help, I cannot seem to stop.)

· comments [14] · 04-18-2014 · categories:holidays ·

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kendra // Apr 18, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    Um, those charts have been on the box for as long as I can recall. I have always used the food coloring for our egg dyeing. We never got such saturated colors though, so I appreciate your research!

  • 2 megan // Apr 19, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Well that figures! Next year I’ll have to do a dye-off.

  • 3 dianne faw // Apr 19, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    And what did you make with all the eggs that came out of all those stunning shells?

  • 4 megan // Apr 21, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Dianne – I would use them to make surprise eggs or cascarones, but this time around I was too late to put them to good use. My intention was to get the colors just right because I never liked the purple from my original Surprise Egg project and years later it was still bugging me!

  • 5 ansleybleu // Apr 21, 2014 at 9:10 pm


  • 6 megan // Apr 21, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Thank you ansleybleu!

  • 7 Ailidh // Apr 23, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    We used your instructions to try to make these:

    Didn’t quite work (at ALL) but I decided to embrace the speckled look. And yeah, we did it today… it was a busy weekend.

  • 8 megan // Apr 23, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Ailidh – Is that your website? If so, were you going for an ombre look? Google Translate gives me generic text and I have no idea where this idea came from or how it was done. Let me know if you have any further resources, I’d love to attempt to recreate these!

  • 9 MaryElaine // Apr 25, 2014 at 4:54 am

    When I dyed eggs this year I had a problem I’d never had before. The dye is coming off! Aagh! Have you ever had this problem? I used the dye my family grew up using (generic store brand). This is the first time it has happened. Any advice?

  • 10 megan // Apr 28, 2014 at 11:44 am

    MaryElaine – I have not quite had this happen, do you mean the color came off after it was dry? I’ve had the color come out botchy if I agitated the eggs too much (and by that I mean a bit obsessively) while they were in the dye.

  • 11 Fritz is Fine // May 9, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Yeah for brilliant colors!!!!! And though I’ve been to this site many a time, I didn’t notice you’re from Seattle! (Me too.) Yeah for Seattle bloggers!

  • 12 NOLALeBlanc // Apr 3, 2015 at 9:39 am

    I have been using your last egg dyeing post for the past several years. We use hard boiled eggs and eat them. We are all still alive and well. I also use your dye recipes for icing. People are always amazed by the bright colors.

  • 13 Lauren // Apr 3, 2015 at 8:57 pm


  • 14 megan // Apr 4, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    NOLALeBlanc – Why thanks! Using the same combinations for icing is a really smart idea!

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