Sunday, March 31, 2013

Masking & red cabbage dyeing Easter eggs

Easter eggs dyed with red cabbage

This year we colored Easter eggs with red cabbage juice. The patterns were made by masking the eggs with washi tape and candle wax.

Straining red cabbage

To extract the color from red cabbage, I boiled slices of five large leaves in water with some vinegar, for roughly 30 minutes, then removed the cabbage leaves by straining, and allowed the dye to cool. On the right is a piece of cotton string we boiled with the cabbage. It turned a very nice purple, I'm hoping the dye will stick to it.

Covering eggs with washi masking tape

To get patterns on the eggs, we covered some parts of them with washi masking tape. We also used molten candle wax, applied with a small paint brush.

Easter eggs soaking in red cabbage dye

The eggs were soaked in the cabbage dye for a few hours.

Dyed Easter eggs

Rinsing and removing the masking tape. The color is a nice blue, even though the cabbage was red and the dye purple! Red cabbage juice works as a pH indicator; it turns red when acidic and blue in alkaline solutions (and can even turn green or yellow for strong alkalines). It seems there is some chemistry going on in the shells.

The masking tape worked well - it kept the dye off the masked parts of the egg. Where two stripes of tape crossed each other an unexpected effect appeared: the upper stripe did not mask the egg perfectly just where it passed the lower stripe, giving an illusion of depth in the final pattern! The lines on the egg that appears to pass below another line were created where the tape stripe passed above another stripe.

The painted-on candle wax gave nice artistic effects!

Dyed Easter eggs

The finished eggs. Happy Easter to everyone!

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