Onion skins and flowers have been used to dye eggs in celebration of springtime in Lower Saxony—the eastern Netherlands to northern Germany and Estonia—since pagan times. This method of dying eggs is still practiced in rural areas of the region in celebration of Easter. Growing up in the Overijssel province of the Netherlands, my father and his family used cloth and string to bind the onion skins and flowers to the eggs as they boiled. This Instructable, however, uses aluminum foil, which my father describes as a vast improvement over the difficult-to-manage cloth and string.
Step 1: Materials
Eggs, raw (NOT pre-hard-boiled), as many as you like
Aluminum foil, torn into squares that are at least 8” x 8”
Onion skins, red and brown, large pieces
Small leaves and blossoms with interesting patterns, shapes, and colors
Large pot for boiling eggs
Strainer or tongs
Large bowl of cold water
Step 2: Get Onion Skins at the Market.
Most super markets do not mind if you collect loose skins from the onion bins, but please buy at least one gratitude onion.
Step 3: Gather Small Leaves & Blossoms
Look for anything with an interesting pattern, shape, or color. Plenty of volunteers can be found in almost any lawn. Most flowers—including roses—do not impart color to the eggs, but hyacinths and dandelions work fairly well. Some suggestions: grape hyacinths, forsythia, dandelion blossoms & leaves, clover, violets, spring beauties, sprigs of hemlock, etc..
Step 4: Place a Large Piece of Onion Skin on the Middle of a Foil Square.
Step 5: Arrange Some Leaves And/or Blossoms on Top of the Onion Skin.
Step 6: Place a Raw Egg on Top of the Leaves And/or Blossoms That Are on the Onion Skin.
You may need to hold the egg to keep it from rolling, but you can also fold the sided of the foil up to keep the egg in place.
Step 7: Gently Press More Leaves And/or Blossoms Against the Exposed Surface of the Egg.
A combination of different shapes and textures works very well.
Step 8: Wrap More Onion Skins Over the Leaves And/or Blossoms and the Surface of the Entire Egg.
Step 9: Holding the Onion Skins—and the Leaves And/or Blossoms Beneath Them—in Place, Wrap the Foil Square Around the Egg Completely.
* Be careful not to break or crack the egg!
* The foil should be tight enough to keep the leaves and onion skins in place, but loose enough that water will be able to seep through to the eggs as they boil.
* Be sure to tuck all of the onion skin inside the foil.
Step 10: Twist "horns" Into Foil for Easy Identification.
In order to see how a particular egg turns out, or to identify a specific person’s design, twist one, two, or more “horns” into the foil wrappers.
Step 11: Boil Water in a Large Pot That Can Contain Enough Water to Completely Cover the Eggs.
Step 12: Gently Lower Each Egg Into the Boiling Water [boil for 20 Minutes].
BOIL for 20 minutes.
Step 13: If There Are Leftover Onion Skins, Add Those to the Boiling Water As Well.
The more onion skin wrapped eggs that are boiled, the deeper the color of the water and pigment on the eggs will become. Adding leftover onion skins to the water will make the first eggs dyed as richly colored as the last.
Step 14: After 20 Minutes on the Boil, Use Tongs or a Strainer to Fish Out the Eggs.
Step 15: Place the Eggs Into a Bowl of Cold Water, or Run Them Under the Cold Water Tap, Until They Are Cool Enough to Open.
Be careful! Even after the foil is cool to the touch, the onion skins and eggs may still be very hot.
Step 16: Unwrap the Foil and Onion Skins From the Eggs, and Rinse Off Any Remaining Petals or Leaves.