Onion Skin Dyed Decorative Eggs

When I was a child my mom had some hollowed out terracotta colored eggs with plant silhouettes on them.  I thought they were very pretty.   Every Easter when my family decorated eggs I wanted my eggs to look like those.  They never did.  Given that I am still thinking about those eggs (20+ years later?), I finally decided to get serious about trying my hand at creating my own version.  These eggs are not simple, but I am pretty pleased with the results and they look like my original egg-spiration (sorry, last corny egg joke, I promise).  The originals have long since perished so no side by side comparison photos are possible.  You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Later this week, I’ll post a simplified version of these eggs (using hard boiled eggs, an easy dye and edible plants).

I start my description of how I made these with clean hollowed out eggs because my experience blowing out the eggs was not so great. Let’s just say it left me with a splitting headache and a very bad taste in my mouth.  If anyone has any suggestions regarding easy and sanitary methods of removing the whites and yolks from eggs I would love to hear them!

1.  I gathered interesting plant leaves from the planters on my apartment’s roof top and our houseplants.  I secured the leaves to my hollowed out egg shells by placing the leaves against the egg shells and slipping the shell into a piece of an old pair of nylons.  I twisted the nylon into a bunch on the side opposite the leaf and secured it with a rubber band.

2.  In a large pot (one that I just use for crafting and not cooking), I combined about 1 cup of white vinegar, the skins from about 10 yellow onions, and enough water to fill the pot with some room left over for the eggs.  I covered the pot and boiled the mixture for about 45 minutes.

We bought the onions in bulk (~10 lbs), so Jaime and I were eating onions in what seemed like just about everything for awhile.  Next time I make these, I’ll probably just save onion skins for a couple of months in advance.

3.  I carefully added the wrapped egg shells to the mixture (in batches) and simmered the mixture until the shells reached a color I liked.  I added more water to the pot as necessary.  I ended up simmering my shells for a couple of hours rotating them in the liquid every so often so that they colored fairly uniformly.

4.  When the shells reached the desired color, I removed them from the liquid and let them dry on skewers stuck in their original (cardboard) carton.

5.  When the eggs were dry I spray painted them with a coat of clear acrylic gloss.

This photo shows two eggs, one with the gloss (left) and one without (right).

For the eggs I used:

  • Clean, hollowed out egg shells
  • Skins from about 10 yellow onions
  • About 1 cup white vinegar
  • Old nylons
  • Scissors
  • Rubber bands
  • Interesting leaves
  • A craft pot
  • Water
  • Clear acrylic gloss
  • Kabob skewers
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Onion Skin Dyed Decorative Eggs — 31 Comments

  1. O My Goodness Gracious! This caught my eye at The Girl Creative and I am so impressed! It’s just gorgeous! Am I using too many exclamation points? Seriously, love this idea. I think it would be fun to do with some palm leaves for some symbolic Easter fun.

  2. These look fantastic. I tried something similar a few years ago, but it was a pretty epic fail. I may have to give it another shot. Congrats on the blog!

  3. Was this passed down to you, the recipe, I mean. I never knew onion skins would release that color.

    I only eat Vidalia and Sweet Onions. Do you think it will matter? They seem to have the same skins.

    One more question if you don’t mind. When you say Skins form 10 onions, you are talking about just the outer papery skin? Can I add all those little pieces that always fall off and seem to fly all about the kitchen?

    Thanks! This is an incredibly original idea, and now that Pinterest is so active, I am betting you will get a lot of traffic to your site.

    • Lauri, Thanks for your comment! When I was a kid my mom had some similar eggs that I thought were gorgeous. I knew that they were dyed with onion skins, but I came up with the “recipe” through trial and error. When I say onion skins I just mean the papery outer skin. I am not sure about using other types of onions, but if you try them I’d love to hear if they work. It would be cool if they did because there are only so many yellow onions that my husband and I can eat! We were eating onions in pretty much everything for months after this project. These eggs take some time to make, but I have had mine for about a year now and they still look great and are a great conversation piece. People often don’t believe that these are real eggs. The nylons leave a slight pattern that you cant see in the photos, but make the eggs look almost like wood grain.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. These are the prettiest onion skin dyed eggs I’ve ever seen : ) I’ll be linking to them on WeeFolkArt.com’s Facebook page. Thanks for the tute!

  5. My family has made onion skin eggs as long as I can remember. When I am ready to make some, I go to the market and buy a couple of onions. At the same time, I put any loose skins into the same bag. I can usually find enough to dye the eggs without having to buy extra onions. No one has ever questioned me about it. I want to try your technique with the leaves. Thanks.

    • Thanks Brenda. That was originally my plan but when I went to the grocery store I think they had just finished tidying the onions and there was not a stray piece of onion skin to be found! Although eventually I got sick of onions having an excuse to make (and eat) onion rings was not so bad. I’d love to see some pictures of the eggs you make with your family. Thanks for stopping by!


  6. A couple of years ago, I bought a Ukrainian egg dyeing kit aimed at children from a lovely website. The kit included an egg blower that is quite easy and not at all messy to use, if I recall correctly. (Maybe just a little on the hands at first as you get used to how it works.) I just checked their site, and they sell egg blowers as stand alone items. Although the stand alone items are not exactly what was included in my kit, they look simple enough to use. I’m also sure that other sites sell these things…I have no affiliation with the web page I am providing here. I only provide it as an example. I’m sure any egg blower would work to keep down any unsanitary mess. I love mine! http://www.ukrainiangiftshop.com/EGG-BLOWERS/products/36/

    • Thanks so much for the recommendation. I’ll definitely be getting an egg blower as blowing eggs without one is no fun! Thanks for stopping by scissorsandspoons.com and taking the time to comment.


  7. WOW – I saw these on Rook No.17 and had to hunt them down. (The link is incorrect and says the page isn’t available.) The hunt was SO worth it! I’d never heard of onion skin dyed eggs – I think I may need to come out from under my rock a little more often. These are AWESOME! I’m adding these to Pinterest – and I’m going to check out your grape juice dyed eggs next. These are just so incredible I may have to start eating onions! :)

    • Hi Katherine,

      Hmmm . . . I am not sure what’s wrong with the link (or how to fix it), but I am glad that you were able to find the eggs! Thanks for stopping by and Pinning some of my projects. I hope that you’ll stop by Scissors and Spoons again. I have a couple of spring projects that I am excited to share soon.


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  9. I haven’t dyed Easter eggs since I was a girl, but I never would have thought to make them this way. They look really beautiful in that shade of brown – call me tacky, but I think they could make a nice decoration for any time in the spring or summer. What I’m curious about is the delicacy of the egg shells. I would have assumed boiling a hollow egg would be difficult, but it seems like they all came out fine. I’d definitely try this sometime anyway, and I wouldn’t complain too much about having onions at every meal!

    • Hi Adrienne,
      Thanks for your comment on Scissors and Spoons. I must admit that I have had these eggs displayed in my living room since I made them last year so I don’t think your idea is tacky at all! The egg shells are delicate — they are after all egg shells — but if I recall correctly I only had one or two crack during the boiling. The most difficult part was getting them to color uniformly because the hollow shells float.

  10. You don’t actually have to empty the eggs. Hardboiled eggs, if kept in a relatively dry area of your house (not the kitchen) just dry up. They don’t spoil. I make Lithuanian easter eggs (similar to Ukrainian) and it’s just not worth the effort to empty them. Also, if you wrap the onion skin around the egg and boil them that way you get fun patterns. You can do the same with celery leaves and beet greens. These are traditional ways to do eggs in Lithuania.

    • Do they smell bad if they break? It is super humid where I live so I’d be worried that they wouldn’t get dry enoug. This is good to know though. Thanks for stopping by!

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  13. Hi Marie, thank you so much this is really beautiful.I did the eggs shells years ago and I used them on my Christmas tree. But I lost the method that I used and was looking online for ideas…. everyone was using boiled eggs and I was happy to see you use empty eggs. I am from Trinidad and in the caribbean we use onions everyday so I save the skins.I simply make a small hole at one end of the egg with the tip of a skewer or knife tip and a slightly bigger one at the other end and shake the eggs out and it works really great.I used a needle to scratch on my designs years ago so I am happy to get the ideas you showed me. The first eggs I did is about 20 years old and still looks great but I wanted to do some new designs so I am doing a new batch. Thank you for sharing your lovely ideas. God bless you and have a blessed Christmas.

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  18. I just wanted to say that I love your idea of using the nylons. I thought it was something like a cheese cloth at first but nylons cover more and are very inexpensive. Great idea! :)

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