Egg Art: How To Mix Up Your Dyes

I find the easiest way to mix dyes is to put the correct amount of distilled water into the jar and microwave it for about 3 minutes until it just comes to a boil. Remove the jar (careful, use mitts – it’s hot!) and let the boiling water sit for a minute to settle down before adding the dye powder. If you add the dye powder while it is still bubbling, it will react like vinegar & baking soda, foaming up and over the sides of the jar, dyeing your table-top and splattering your clothes.

If you don’t want to microwave it, an alternate method is to pour the correct amount (1-1/4 cup usually) of regular tap water into the jar, mark the water line on the outside of the jar with a Sharpie pen, and then pour the tap water out. Mark the rest of your jars using the first jar as a guide. Place the powered dye into the jar, and then you can boil your distilled water in a tea kettle and just pour the water up to the marked line (pour slowly to reduce splatter). This method assures that the water will be hottest when it hits the dye, and will dissolve the dye completely.

You can add your vinegar while the dye is hot, or after it cools. It doesn’t matter.

Let your dyes cool with the lids off, then when they are no longer hot – you can put the lids on and wait until they are ready for use. If you put the lids on while the dye is hot, the steam will condense on the metal lid and cause rust. If you store the dyes with the lids off, the dyes will evaporate quickly.

Important: Identify the dye color on your jars! When they are all mixed up, they are very dark and a lot of them look the same. Black and Brown. Turquoise and Bright Blue. Brick and Pumpkin. They all look alike after mixing. I write the color on the lid with a Sharpie, or (if I can’t find my Sharpie) I cut the name off the dye envelope and tape it to the lid of the jar.

You don’t want to use the dyes right away – let them cool down completely with the lids off. Putting a waxed egg into a jar of hot or warm dye will melt the wax, and ruin your design.

And while you are waiting for your dyes to cool, it’s a good time to get your work area set up!