The egg is a symbol that dates back to medieval times, representing Easter and Passover. In some traditions, the dyed hard-boiled egg morphed into the painted or dyed confetti-filled eggshell. And so, in our family, we take great joy in cracking homemade cascarones over (or directly onto) each others' noggins. Granted, this may be a southern thing, but it's an entertaining tradition to start anywhere. Read on to learn how to make this fun holiday toy...Throughout the months leading up toward Easter, we carefully crack open each egg for cooking at the very tip, so that the larger base is left uncracked. We rinse out the shells and save 'em in the egg cartons (great reuse of both egg shells and cartons, we might add) and then get to dyeing them and filling them with confetti. Here are tips for how to make it happen in a very green way.
In our family, we like to have many bright colors on each egg, so we turned to this article, which has a great list of natural dyes, on About.com.
Once you've decided on your colors (we recommend 4, one for each burner), follow these simple instructions adapted from the same article:
1. For hard-boiled eggs: Place the eggs in a single layer in a pan. Add water until the eggs are covered. [For egg shells, follow the directions below, but throughout the process be sure to flip them in the dyes, as they float.]
2. Add approximately one teaspoon of vinegar.
3. Add the natural dye. Use more dye material for more eggs or for a more intense color.
4. Bring water to a boil.
5. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
6. If you are pleased with the color, remove the eggs from the liquid.
7. If you want more intensely colored eggs, temporarily remove the eggs from the liquid. Strain the dye through a coffee filter (unless you want speckled eggs). Cover the eggs with the filtered dye and let them remain in the refrigerator overnight.
8. Naturally-colored eggs will not be glossy, but if you want a shiny appearance you can rub a bit of cooking oil onto the eggs once they are dry.
The decor-dynamic duo at Young House Love posted about naturally dyed hard-boiled eggs yesterday, and they have a few great tips for some natural color as well.
Or, if you're a fan of Martha, check out her how-to here. Her article includes a great color glossary, too, which gives a better idea of how natural dyes will turn out.
Once you've dyed your egg shells, you can fill them with biodegradable confetti , and glue a small piece of tissue paper over the opening.
Then... go to town, surprising your family or guests with a smashed egg on the head! (This is best done outside, especially if you've used biodegradable materials.)
Photo by polska1 via sxc.hu. Please note: this photo is of dyed hard-boiled eggs, not cascarones! Here are some authentic cascarones.