MOTHER NATURE’S GIFTS ARE ALWAYS THE MOST INSPIRING… HERE, WE PLAY WITH ORGANIC COLOURS AND PATTERNS TO CREATE A DELIGHTFUL EASTER EGG BOX
Words and styling by Nomvuselelo Mncube
Photograph by Dylan Swart
1 TO ACHIEVE PALE GREEN Add about 750ml (3 cups) cold water and 3 handfuls basil leaves to a medium pot placed over medium heat on the stove. Add white eggs and bring to a simmer, 1 hour 10 minutes or until your eggs have reached your desired shade of green. Remove from stove and leave the white eggs in the dyed water, 2 hours.
TO ACHIEVE BROWN Add 15ml (1 tbsp) white spirit vinegar, the papery skins of 4 peeled onions and 500ml (2 cups) cold water to a small saucepan, and place over medium-high heat. Boil white eggs in the mixture, 45 minutes, remove from stove and allow the eggs to cool down completely in the dyed water.
FOLIAGE PATTERNS Before boiling your white eggs as for the colours above, cut a pair of beige pantyhose to create 4 single-layer rectangles of 18cm x 9cm. Lay a coriander leaf (for the pale green egg pattern) and a mint sprig (for the brown egg pattern) down on each rectangle. Place your white egg lengthways on top of the leaf and wrap the egg in the pantyhose, stretching it so that the leaf fits tightly against the egg. To secure, twist and tie the pantyhose. Make sure the egg is tightly wrapped and secured, otherwise the dye will seep into gaps and bleed colour where your leaf print should be.
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2 YELLOW DYE Add 30ml (2 tbsp) ground turmeric, white eggs and 500ml (2 cups) cold water to a small pot placed over medium heat. Allow to boil, 30 minutes or until the eggs turn yellow. Remove from stove, using a spoon, scoop out the eggs and place them on a wire rack to cool.
3 EARTHY COLOUR Add 15ml (1 tbsp) white spirit vinegar, 3 sliced beetroots, 500ml (2 cups) cold water and white eggs to a small saucepan, and place over medium-high heat. Boil the eggs, 45 minutes. Remove from stove and allow the eggs to cool down completely in the dyed water.
4 FABRIC PATTERN TRANSFER Cut pieces of patterned pure silk fabric and pieces of white linen into 25cm x 21cm rectangles, ensuring you have a rectangle of pure silk and linen for each of your eggs. Cover each white egg with a silk rectangle, followed by a linen rectangle, and secure tightly with a piece of string. Boil the covered eggs in 1L cold water, with 200ml white spirit vinegar, 1 hour. Remove the pot from the stove. Allow the eggs to cool down completely, then scoop out of the water, unwrap and place on paper towel to dry.
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5 MARBLED EGGS Make a stronger-than-usual cup of black coffee and set aside until needed. Place 500ml (2 cups) cold water in a small saucepan and boil quail eggs, 4 minutes (or 7 minutes for large white eggs). Scoop out the eggs using a spoon. Once they’re cool enough to handle, roll the eggs around on a hard surface to make the shells crack. You don’t want to push too hard – you still want the shell to stay on the egg, but to develop a nice overall cracked effect. Return the eggs to the pot of water, together with the prepared strong coffee, and boil, 8 minutes. Remove from stove and allow to cool, before peeling off the shells.