How to color Easter eggs with gel food colors and rubber cement, a technique which produces some spectacularly high contrast, gorgeous abstract designs! Use it on blown-out eggs to preserve these cool Easter Eggs for years to come…
Coloring Easter Eggs
Coloring Easter eggs has always been one of my favorite Easter traditions, so I knew that I had to introduce you all to this beautiful rubber cement technique… I mean, how amazing are these eggs?!? Coloring Easter eggs with this process really could not be easier (kids can help!), and the brilliant contrasting colors are absolutely stunning!
When it comes to dyeing Easter eggs, I much prefer to make my own dyes using Betty Crocker Classic Gel Food Colors over the kits that you can purchase. The colors turn out super vibrant, and you can easily control the shades with a little creative mixing.
- white hard-boiled eggs (or blown-out white eggs)
- Betty Crocker Classic Gel Food Colors*
- white vinegar
- rubber cement
- plastic cups (to mix the dye in)
- paper towel or toilet paper tubes (for hard-boiled eggs)
- scotch tape (for hard-boiled eggs)
- wooden skewers (for blown-out eggs)
*Be sure to buy the Classic colors gel food color set. I tried the Neon colors set, and the ingredients differ slightly, which led to some funky residue that stuck to the eggs.
DIY Egg Drying Rack
The first thing you’ll need to do is create an egg drying rack. If you’re using blown-out eggs, you can simply insert the pointed end of a skewer into the eggs and insert the blunt end into an egg carton turned upside down to create a stand. But if you’re coloring hard-boiled eggs, you’ll need to get a little creative.
I’ve seen a number of approaches that use foam and pins or nails to make stands, but this toilet paper tube rack I came up with is far less expensive and works just as well! Simply cut a toilet paper or paper towel tube in half lengthwise. Then cut strips horizontally and tape the ends together to create a smaller circle that’s the perfect size for an egg to sit on. Hopefully you get the gist from the image above, but if you have questions, just ask!
How To Color Easter Eggs With Rubber Cement
As I mentioned, dyeing eggs with food coloring and this rubber cement technique is really simple and easy. First things first, you’ll want to cover your work area to prevent stains, and I also recommend setting both your dye cups and egg drying racks on rimmed baking sheets. Then just follow these steps for best results:
1| Mix your desired colors according to the directions and color blending chart on the back of the Betty Crocker Classic Gel Food Colors package.
2| Start by dyeing your eggs a lighter base color. The actual color you select doesn’t matter so much as the length of time you leave the egg in the dye in this initial step. Check them frequently and remove while the intensity of color is still low. Drain off the dye and allow the egg to dry completely.
3| Once the eggs are dry, it’s time to apply the rubber cement. Holding an egg gently on either side, use the applicator brush to drizzle rubber cement over the egg in an abstract pattern. If you have blown-out eggs, you can do the drizzling step while they’re still on a skewer, but I got frustrated with them slipping off and still ended up using my fingers. After a couple, you’ll get the hang of drizzling while avoiding your fingers. Allow the rubber cement to dry thoroughly.
4| Now it’s time to dye the eggs a second color. Choose a color that’s going to have high contrast with the base color, and leave the eggs in the dye until the color is very intense. Once you’re satisfied with the color, drain off the dye and allow the egg to dry completely again.
5| It’s time for the magic to happen! When your egg is thoroughly dry, simply use your fingers to gently rub the rubber cement off the eggs, revealing the lighter base color. If you’ve used blown-out eggs, be very gentle in this step, especially near the holes on either end. I cracked a couple of my favorite patterns when I was a little overzealous in my removal.
My Favorite Color Combinations
While I stuck with two dye colors for these images, you can get really creative with this method and pair three or more colors to create some pretty awesome effects. Just apply a little more rubber cement after each color application, and dye in successively darker colors.
I’d have to say my favorite combinations are the super high contrast colors, like the purple/orange and pink/yellow eggs. But I also think the more tonal blue/green and purple/blue eggs are pretty spectacular, too. Get a little crazy and try different color combinations — if you’re not satisfied with the way one is turning out, just slip it into another color and dye over it until you’re satisfied.
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Note: Several readers have questioned whether the eggs are safe to eat after using this technique. I’m going to err on the side of caution and say no, I don’t recommend eating them. Rubber cement is not food safe, and eggshells are fairly porous — not a good combination.
If you use this technique when you’re coloring Easter eggs, I’d love to see some pictures of your finished eggs… Please stop back and share in the comments below! Or you can tag me @Unsophisticook on Instagram or use the hashtag #Unsophisticook so I can check them out. Have fun!77