Dyeing Problems


Tiny bubbles

Cause: surface tension of water (dye) prevents it from getting into small spaces/details.

Solution: dip egg into rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) briefly to wet it, and then dye again.  This should get rid of the bubbles and allow the egg to dye properly.

Alternatively, you can apply dye to the egg with a larger paint brush, forcing it into each section and crevice, or hold the egg in the dye (with a gloved and) and rub the dye onto the entire surface.  Both of these techniques require much more effort and are less likely to provide uniformly good results.


Cause: the equipment used to process eggs commercially has rollers which will rub the surface of the egg and wear away/damage the cuticle.  This prevents the dye from taking well in these areas.  You will usually see two parallel stripes on the egg after dyeing.

Solution: a good black dye might cover relatively evenly, even with a damaged egg shell. 

There is no good solution for this problem except prevention: avoid store-bought commercial eggs if possible, and buy directly from producers.  Eggs sold as “organic” and “cage-free” are often processed less than the more commercial (and cheaper) ones, and have thicker shells to boot.  Find a good brand and stick to it, even if the eggs cost a bit more. 


Cause: if the membrane lining the inner aspect of the eggshell has broken down, as it can in eggs that have been emptied, dye can seep into the egg through the shell, and then back out again, causing spots of color.

Solution: the freezer method.

Preventing Spots by Using the Freezer Method

When the dye seeps into your empty shell, it causes spots or freckles that bloom moments after the egg is removed from the dye. This is almost never a problem with a full, raw egg. The fault can be an incompletely sealed hole, a leaky membrane or a small crack in the shell. 

To prevent the spots from appearing:

1. Fill the blowhole in the egg with a small ball of wax, and run the hot kistka around the edge to seal it airtight.  

2. Place the egg into your freezer for a few minutes. Make sure you don't put it on anything wet! If you leave it too long, it will get frosty, which may temporarily affect how the egg takes the dye. Warm it up, dry it off and chill it again.  

3. Take the cold egg out of the freezer and place it immediately into the dye bath.  You may notice a little "fizzing" as the air inside the egg expands, keeping the liquid from getting in. Try not to handle the egg with your hands too much, as this will heat the air inside the egg, stopping the beneficial effect. This has to do with the laws of physics (Boyle's Law and Charles' Law) concerning pressure and temperature.

4. When the egg is finished in the dye, pat it dry and break the seal in the wax hole. 

5. Write on the egg as desired, then seal the hole and put it back in the freezer for the next dye. 

If you have an egg that seems spotty beyond all saving, try to cover it up with a mottled finish:  Dip several sponges in complementary colors (for example, blue/green/purple or red/yellow/orange) and sponge the colors onto the freckled area. Try for a marbled effect.

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