I’m always a little sad that we don’t dye eggs, carve pumpkins, and decorate a tree and celebrate all year round. There is value in celebrating the seasons as they come, and paying attention to the rhythms of nature, but sometimes I think the decorating we do doesn’t have to be for one specific day, but perhaps for an entire season. Or, if you’d rather keep the day special, taking the techniques you incorporated into the decorations and using them for something else. In this instance, there are some beautiful ways people have dyed Easter eggs, and I think these techniques could also be used to dye fabric, as a way to paint on canvas, or to add a little something extra to your office supplies.
Martha Stewart has a beautiful slideshow available online that showcases these various ways to dye Easter eggs. The technique is called “masking” and it’s used to cover part of the egg so that when the paint is dry and the masking is removed, it leaves a pattern. One of my favorite ways to do this is with rubber bands. The dye creates a tie-dye look, and the eggs begin to resemble mysterious planets. If you’re scientifically minded, this might be the way you choose to go. If you’re more into patterns and fabrics, you may want to experiment with various sizes and types of tape and create your own plaids, stripes, or even spots. You can remove specific pieces of tape and dye those areas after the main dye is done for a more watercolor look, or you can create an ombre effect by dyeing one portion of the egg at a time. If you’d rather have a feminine, delicate look to the egg, you can use lace as a mask. This one is particularly breathtaking. You only need one dye color and some lace and masking tape, and voila! Beautiful, antique-esque eggs. These would look great in an array of pastels, such as yellow, purple, green, pink, and blue.
Of course, this doesn’t have to be limited to eggs. You will want to test the dye and mask on whatever object you’re going to work with, as the surface may take the dye differently than an egg shell. Once you’re happy with the look, use your tape, lace, and bands to create beautiful designs on everything from t-shirts to mugs to notebooks. These would all make sweet presents for birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions. You could also use it for decorating your home, whether it be table linens, wall art, or even something you’ve thrifted that you want to upcycle before you wear it and show it off.
If you want to get the whole Mask & Dye How-To, you can sign up for an account on the Martha Stewart website. If you just want to go browse the gallery for ideas, you can do so at the Masking Ideas page.