No-Paint Rembrandt Easter Eggs

The magical world of ‘printing with botanicals’ has lead to many new ways to make art. Without needing any painting skills; just a few of my secrets you can have the most unique decor for this Easter with my No-Paint ‘Rembrandt’ Easter Eggs.

How it all starts:

This post shows how easy it is to print some well defined patterns on the Eggs. I’m sure you have already ‘cleaned’ out the bottom of the onion bins at your local store…

The Secret Trick:

Having spent the last few years playing with leaves and mordants and buckets of stuff to do my Eco Printing I have discovered a few things. I’ll confess; I am a Taurus, super stubborn people, but also known for their sense of observation! I am always watching what happens and how can I take that knowledge and make it work for me?! That’s really how I figure out all those amazing weird new art forms.

It the world of eco printing on fabric we use iron as a way to have prints attach to the fibres and also as a modifier to colour. I am always baffled at how it reacts to the tannins in plant material! I have used some Ferrous Sulphate (about 1/4 tsp ) added to some of the onion skin Dye (about 3/4 cup) It can be stronger or weaker without a problem.

If you do not have any ferrous sulphate you can also make your own by soaking some rusty bits in water. When I embarked on Eco Printing I often made my own, however it is somewhat difficult to figure out it’s strength so I like to use the sulphate now as it’s quite inexpensive.

As the Magic Happens:

The basic concept here is that the application of the ‘iron/onion water’ modifies the colour that is already on the eggs. It is a slow reaction which makes it much different that painting.

Apply some with a small brush wherever you would like to darken it…

…Wait and see how it turns darker before your eyes! To give depth you can darken the backgrounds around the shapes that are already there.

Wipe off with a damp rag to stop the darkening. I love the different tones that can be achieved from rusty reds to greens and darker to rich blacks!

The richness of the colours is what made me think of the wonderful paintings by Rembrandt

I bet back in the day they did use a lot of iron to make the pigments so we are ‘borrowing’ from that idea. You can NOT EAT these eggs as they will have too much iron on them. If you do not want dirty stained iron-fingers like us eco-printers do also wear gloves! (dip in lemon juice for ridding of iron stains)

Before and after; such wonderful tones of browns with only the ‘staining’ of iron!

They qualify as no-paint since the images have already been printed by mother nature; all you do is add some deepening of colours and tones.

The Finishing trick:

When you are happy with how they look (can’t stop looking at them) you can make them come alive by rubbing with some oil (olive can work, but mineral oils are best to avoid rancidity). All of a sudden they glow with wonderful depth! I instantly wanted to go start an oil painting!

What can I display them in?! Yes, the ‘crazy lady’ has a collection of bird nests! (thank you to my annual robins) And you also can make them!

‘Just a small sampling of what can happen in one afternoon… Who really needs to eat an Easter dinner?! (don’t eat these!) Keep these for the future Easters; I’ll be hard-pressed to put these away afterward…

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  1. Beautiful, Barb! Like so many of your creations. Question: If I pay attention to boiling time for the eggs in the onion bath, these can be eaten, right? I would not think that the iron painted ones would be, and that’s fine. Thanks!

  2. Hi, Barb

    I’ve made my eggs and they have been in the fridge for about 10 days. How do I dry out the yolks to use them next?

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge!


    1. So you must mean that you have coloured them? As long as you don’t break them they will eventually dry out inside. Matter of fact, I found one of my old ones from decades ago, all dry inside and moves when I shake it.