How to make Patchwork Easter Eggs Dyed with Silk Ties

As Easter approaches, it’s time to infuse your festivities with creativity and colour. While dyeing eggs is a cherished tradition, why not take it up a notch this year? Imagine beautifully patterned Easter eggs reminiscent of intricately woven quilts. Yes, we’re talking about how to make patchwork Easter eggs dyed with silk ties – a delightful and surprisingly simple craft that doesn’t even require boiling.

In my escapades of dyeing I am constantly switching it up to be more unique. These Dyes eggs do not use as much energy or constant watching. No dye tablets, dye packs, or other kind of dye; just some up-cycling & microwave

What can you use to Dye with?

Check you closets; perhaps you have a drawer full of old ties; Silk ones that you can’t seem to part with. Or, maybe the silk neckties are a special reminder of a loved one, like a grandparent or father? Well, here’s a permanent way of keeping them as a special artistic imprint. This will only work with Silk ties however so check the label. If you don’t have any there will be lots to choose from at thrift stores for very little cost.

To make the best use of the silk fabric take a few minutes to snip the stitching with scissors and take the lining out. This may work with other silk fabric like a blouse but I did not test them.

I am taking this dyeing to be more unique than the usual all-over print; I am making it like a patchwork quilt. Using a rotary cutter (optional) you can cut small strips quickly. Once cut into strips, those can be cut into squares or other small shapes. The sized depends on how fussy you’l like to make the patchwork.

Materials Needed:

  • Clean Hollow (Blown out) eggs
  • White vinegar (¼ cup)
  • Water and bowl
  • Wide soft paint brush
  • Old Silk ties (in various colors and patterns)(scarves, blouses may also work)
  • Scissors/ thread snips
  • strips of flannel or cotton bandage, extra fabric pieces
  • Plastic bags
  • Tongs/oven mitts
  • Cooking oil (optional) or gloss varnish

Prepare your Supplies:

To make emptying the raw eggs (blow out the whites and yolks) you can use a rubber baby nasal suction tool. I just used my own breath power. Using a sharp tool make a small hole on each end and blow out the eggs rinsing afterward.

Prepare ‘patchwork pieces’ by cutting the ties into small pieces. Cut the strips of cotton (about 1/2″ – 1″ wide, approx 18″long) and soak in a few cups of water with 1/4 cup vinegar added. (String & elastic can also be used to wrap the eggs.)

Step #1:

In my unique method instructions I do not wrap the whole egg in the silk fabric. That would always leave some section not printed well. My method involves the application of small pieces of the silk that is applied by brushing with water. The delicate silk pieces adhere by capillary action and only water. (see video)

Apply the silk tie fabric onto the eggs. The right side of the fabric (printed side) should be against the egg. Wet the egg with a brush (dipped in vinegar solution – 1/4 cup vinegar to about 4 cups water) so the silk will stick to the egg. It naturally stays put quite easily.

Work your way around the egg. The colour combination depends on your choices or could also be all one tie print. Since eggs are fairly rough the pieces do not slide around.

Step #2 Wrapping:

Take a strip of cotton from the vinegar solution, wring it out until not dripping and start to wrap the egg carefully trying not to disturb the silk. Criss-cross and pull as tight as possible. This wet fabric will provide the ‘steam’ for transferring the print.

I prepared a few at a time. If you want to add more pressure you can also wrap with some yarn or string but I did not see a need. It is just making sure that the fabric is touching the eggs. Vinegar does make the eggshell more acceptive of the dye as well, but do not put too much as the shell starts to dissolve.

Step #3 Prepare for Steaming:

Place all the silk-wrapped eggs in a plastic bag, twist and put in another bag. I also add some extra damp fabric around the eggs for assurance of ample moisture. (old flannel or cotton sheets work well)

Step #4, Heat & Insulate:

The heat process is from the microwave. I discovered that it is a great way to apply heat when Eco printing so I have adapted for these eggs (but reminder these eggs are hollow) Watch carefully as you heat in short time segments. If you see the bag puff up it is very hot (boiling inside) and stop the process before any steam escapes the bag (for safety reasons

With tongs or an oven mitt transfer the bag quickly under a blanket or towels. This insulation step is important as it will keep the heat for a long time, and not require watching. It also saves much energy! After about 1/2 hour or more you can repeat the process. The longer wait time the more the print will transfer to the eggs. I repeated 3 times between my usual easter activities…

Step #5 Discover the Magic Fun Part

The eggs can be cooled or unwrapped as soon as you can touch them. The pieces can print again but will probably be lighter. I do have some ideas for their use…

It is like magic and sometimes a bit surprising what results you get. Once you see how each of the ties transfer you can be quite creative. Perhaps you’d like to cut some shapes to create a pattern…

Maybe you will also make patchwork Easter eggs dyed with silk ties!

To finish the eggs can be wiped with a damp cloth but the dye is not on the surface, it has be absorbed by the shell so nothing wipes off. For a sheen rub a little vegetable oil onto the surface or you can varnish with an acrylic medium.

As you see, some ties print very strongly and some do not. That is what makes this method perfect as it mimics an old quilt! I also like that I am not tied to the stove to watch, and can leave them for as long as I like to insulate. No need to simmer in a pot, Much less silk is used since there isn’t large wrapping and rubber bands. There are no wrinkles in the print as the typical method…

This tutorial is my unique design and leaves much option for your own creativity… Please what your’s look like! Happy Making & Easter!

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  1. Barb, these are gorgeous!! I will be scouting out the tie section at our local thrift stores. One question, could the same process work with silk tie pieces on paper? Thanks again for sharing your creative mind with us! Happy Easter!!

    1. Well, as per usual with me I already have ideas for more ways to use! No wonder I can barely sleep sometimes… I bet that would work! I could see cards that look like old quilts; fabulous! I do know it will work on wool and silk! I have had great success Eco printing on paper with a microwave too. Just make sure things are damp enough and sealed (double bag) to keep the steam from contaminating your microwave. I do have an old one in my work area for my eco printing. Happy Easter!

      1. Is there a way to do this silk transfer with a plastic egg or something less delicate and more of something used from year to year (more permanence?

        1. Well, I had thought of the fact that this method does transfer to wool/silk (I saw that some one wool yarn had picked up the dye) I had an idea to use needle felted eggs. The problem I see is that they would have to be very densely felted and also wet enough. Then comes the issue of them having to dry out. I suppose they would eventually dry. I have done a lot of dyeing on wool, like old vintage blankets with leaves (eco printing) and wool tends to lose the wetness so the fabric wrapping helps keep the moisture where needed. I always seem to not have enough time to do egt all I want done. Oh, I just had an idea! I think there are ceramic bisque eggs available! I know the christmas ornaments printed well (eco printed but similar method) I think it would work!

  2. Barb, So glad to see you are using blown out eggs for this technique. Every year during the Easter season someone posts a tutorial on dyeing hard boiled eggs with ties. I have to tell them not to do this with hard boiled eggs they are planning to eat because the dyes are toxic. However, I was so happy to see that you were using empty eggs. Beautiful tutorial! This is one of my favorite techniques to dye silk scarves.

  3. You have just solved all my issues with making silk dyed eggs! I made them for the Spring Equinox but ended up with the wrinkles and blank spots on the eggs. They were beautiful but yours are spectacular! I have some blown eggs and lots of silk ties and 2 days until Easter. This is the perfect way to use up those supplies.

    Question: When you said to repeat 3 times (or so) do you mean to return them to the microwave then under the towel/blanket? About how long does it take to heat in the microwave? Are you using bursts of 30 seconds? I’m just a smidge confused there. 😁

    1. Thanks! It will depend how much you have in your bag as to how fast it gets hot. I watch carefully as you will see the bag start to puff (I had 8 eggs and it took 50 seconds); that means it’s getting really hot in there. If you touch the bag you will feel the heat since the fabrics are wet/damp. Put it under a the blanket and even an hour later you will feel that there’s still a ton of heat! I believe the longer-the-better! I zapped it 3 times and out back under. It’s like the Wonderbag, a thermal cooking device. I use old fleece blankets to keep food hot quite often. I use this method to process my eco print bundles as well with much success! Happy making!

  4. wow this is unique as heck. we do wax resist blown eggs nearly every year, I have scraps of ties….Ill try n remember this one for next year. Love your creativity!

  5. I volunteer at a local ministry thrift store and we get sooooo many ties (that are not a big seller). I want to try this with the ceramic bisque eggs because I would surely break all of the blown eggs – I can be a bit clumsy. Thank-you for the tutorial. I love everything you do.

    1. Well, this is not the only thing I plan on doing with the silk ties… stay tuned! If I had that job I’d be in deep trouble! I need to check for after Easter sales on bisque eggs; if it doesn’t work I can then do Eco prints on them!