Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dyeing Eggs with Silk Ties

I've seen this process a few times around on the internet. Skip To My Lou has a great tutorial with beautiful photos.

While I was looking for ties at the thrift store ($2 each) there was another mom with her daughter looking at ties, too. Her daughter was about 5 years old and kept asking, "This one feels nice. Is this the right fabric?" I asked the mom, "Are you going to dye eggs with silk ties, too?" "Yes." I always think it's great when I meet up with other people who are trying crazy things like me!

I invited my friend, CooleyBug, over to experiment with me. I thought that would be a great idea since she is the one that kinda got the 'blowing out eggs' thing started. We had a really nice time!

Here's the process we used and the things we figured out as we went along and looked back at what we had done. If you want to see how we blow out eggs, you can see how we do it here.

We started with blown out duck eggs. There are some blown out chicken eggs in the bowl, too, but we wanted to use duck eggs since they are much sturdier.
Old silk ties (they must be 100% silk or the dye won't transfer). We took them apart at the seams and only used the silk parts (I tucked the interfacing away in my box just in case I need tie interfacing sometime in the future).
We found that if we wet the silk before wrapping it around the egg, the silk was much easier to handle. This piece of silk was from the lining of one of the ties!
Sometimes the tie fabric was fairly thick and had to be folded and twisted on one side.

Sometimes the fabric was nice and thin and we could roll the egg in the fabric and twist the ends like a little candy.
Then we tied up the silk wrapped egg in an old rag. We decided later that we would have had better results if the rags had been cut on the bias so they would wrap around the egg more snugly.
We filled the pot with water and added 1/4 cup of white vinegar. Since the eggs were blown (hollow) we knew they wouldn't stay under the water. I added the cake cooling rack which happens to fit inside my pot.
Here's where it gets a bit wacky.... the cooling rack wasn't heavy enough so we added the colander upside down over the top.....
Then rested a pot on top of that. It worked.  I realized later that I could have used the flat weights I use for the cheese press on top of the cooling rack, too. We simmered the eggs for 30 minutes.
I put the eggs into a basket and let them drain and cool in the sink. Remember, these eggs were hollow so they filled with hot water while we were simmering them.
We unwrapped the rags and this is what we saw.
After taking off the silk ties, this is what the eggs look like. You can see the silk wrapping under the eggs.
I found one tie with Micky Mouse on it! It turned out really cute! CooleyBug took that one home because I thought her kids would really appreciate it.
One of my favorites. This was the lining of one of the ties. After we unwrapped them we had to use the same process we used for cleaning out the eggs--basically pushing air into the egg through the hole in the bottom to gently force the water out.
This is my half of the eggs put back in the bowl.
One of the things we tried was using both sides of one of the ties. You can see the two eggs with diamond shapes on them in the bowl. The darker one was the inside of the tie, the lighter one was the outside of the tie.

We learned that the tie has to be touching the egg or the dye doesn't transfer. Next time we will be sure to use rags cut on the bias. You can see a few eggs that don't have a complete transfer. 

It was really fun working with CooleyBug! She has two young daughters that came and played while we played. CooleyBug told her daughters that moms need play-dates, too! Sounds like a great idea to me!


Apricot said...

I just took a quick look at your eggs, etc, because I'm always interested in fibers, dyes, unusual techniques, and stuff. About tying the wrapped eggs in cloth--I wonder if using something like a piece of panty hose or an old or cheap sock, around the wrapped egg would work? You know, something knit that would conform to the egg? The perfect thing, I think, would be to use part of the knitted cotton sleeve you can get to put on a rolling pin. I've never heard of this, but it sounds like fun.

TJ said...

We thought about using stockings, but I wasn't sure how they would hold up to the simmer.... and we didn't have that many laying around :)

I hadn't thought about using knit--that is a great idea! I use t-shirt rags for all sorts of things. I'll definitely keep that idea in mind!

erin and isaac said...

Hey it's me! CooleyBug. Just thinking about you and wondering how you were doing. I guess I could call or email, but I was just looking for your blog.

TJ said...

I've been thinking about you! I haven't called or emailed you, either. How are your kids? Are you coming up for Christmas?