Natural Indicator Easter Egg Dye

Updated: Apr 24, 2019



Allow me to share the very best natural dye for your Easter decor needs. Not only can you customize the color to match your drapes, but it is so much fun (and educational!). There are so many chemistry class applications as well!

  • Turn this into a problem based learning activity! Have your students pick out a crayon color and then have them create a lab to produce an egg with that specific color.

  • Have students create all the colors of the rainbow and use pH strips (or electrodes) to determine the pH of the specific colors.

  • Search for other natural indicators (many fruits and flowers will also behave similarly to the cabbage juice).

So, without further ado, allow me to share how I dyed Easter eggs with cabbage juice.


Background:


The “juice” of a red cabbage is an indicator. This means that it will change color based on the pH. Adding an acid will produce a pink to red solution, while a base will produce a blue to green liquid. With very few ingredients you can customize the color to your egg dyeing needs.


Ingredients:

  • 1 Red Cabbage

  • White Vinegar (or any other acidic liquid)

  • Baking Soda (or a basic alternative)

  • Water

  • Eggs

Making the Cabbage Juice (Bile Em Cabbage Down):


I prefer to use the lazy method of tearing the cabbage leaves into small pieces and pouring boiling water over them. Alternatively, you can blend the leaf water solution and then strain the leaves (but that’s too much work for me - and too many things to wash afterwards!). The more concentrated, the deeper the color so I like to stop adding boiling water when it covers only half of the leaves. Then I will use a spoon and pack the cabbage down.


*Cabbage juice stains (which is a good thing considering we’re making dye), so you may want to take necessary precautions (gloves, protect clothes and counters, use glassware instead of plastic, etc.).


Color Customization:

The colors that I used to dye my eggs: Original juice color (bottom), 10 mL vinegar to 3 oz juice (left), 10 mL baking soda solution to 3 oz juice (right)

Adding an acid, such as white vinegar, will give you a pink to red solution. The more you add, the closer the color will approach red. I added 5 mL vinegar to 3 oz of cabbage juice solution and reached a hot pink color. 10 mL vinegar to 3 oz of cabbage juice was fuchsia (your shades will be dependent on the concentration of your cabbage juice dye).


I used a baking soda solution to create shades of green and blue. My solution was made by dissolving 1 part baking soda to 2 parts water. 5 mL of this solution in the 3 oz of cabbage juice produced a blue color and 10 mL borders on teal.


Boil Your Eggs:


Make your hard-boiled eggs. I make mine by putting the eggs in a pot, filling it up with water, and heating it on the stove until it reaches a boil. Then, I turn the burner off, cover the pot with a lid, and allow it to sit on the burner for about 15 minutes (of course, I usually forget about it and it ends up sitting for a while longer). Carefully remove the eggs from the hot water and allow them to dry and cool off.


Time to Dye:



Place your eggs in the desired dye and allow to sit. The color was apparent after an hour, but I allowed mine to sit overnight. When you remove your eggs from the dye, just remember that the dye will stain. Place them on paper towels and allow to dry before storing them in the fridge (or just eating them).


Enjoy!


Leave a comment below if you make these cabbage juice dyed eggs or tag me on Instagram @yourclassroomhelper! I would love to see them!

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