By Claire McIntosh
Looking to jazz up your annual Easter egg dying party? Try out some of these new ideas for decorating Easter egs:
Stripes: You can use rubber bands of different widths to create stripes on your eggs. Just place the bands tightly around the egg and dye it.
Wax patterns: Use a crayon to draw on a hard-boiled egg. The wax keeps dye from sticking to it, so your design will show up on dyed egg. Place the dyed, dried eggs on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet in a 250 degree oven for 10 minutes to melt the wax. Then take out the eggs and get rid of any residue with paper towels.
Animals: Create a bunny, hen, pig or even the family pet using the egg as the body and adding ears, tail, and so on. Pipe cleaners, yarn, paper cutouts, non-toxic markers and pompons are the perfect props.
Stencils: Tape small stencils to the egg and brush or sponge-on some colorful designs.
Stands: Staple a strip of paper in an egg-sized circle and you've got an instant stand for your eggs. Use scrapbook paper with holiday designs, or make them really fun with strips cut from photos.
Handle with egg-stra care
"It's important to be safe and sanitary during fun springtime egg activities," says Cayla Westergard, director of Consumer Affairs at the Iowa Egg Council. Follow these guidelines:
- Wash your hands thoroughly before handling the eggs at every step, including cooking, cooling and dyeing.
- If you won't be coloring your eggs right after cooking them, store them in their cartons in the refrigerator.
- Don't cook or color cracked eggs. Throw them out.
- Use food coloring or specially-made, food-grade egg dyes.
- Use non-toxic crayons, pens, paints, glue and other art supplies on any eggs you will eat later.
- When coloring the eggs, use water that’s warmer than the eggs, and refrigerate them in their cartons right after coloring them.
- Don't eat eggs that have been unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours.
- If using hard-cooked eggs as a centerpiece or decoration and they will be out of refrigeration for many hours or days, cook extra eggs for eating and discard the eggs that have been left out too long.
- A small percentage of young children are allergic to eggs, which can cause skin irritation or anaphalaxis, according to the Food Allergy and Anaphalaxis Network (FAAN). But kids with an egg allergy can still join in on the egg decorating fun at Easter, just not with real eggs. Get them to decorate plastic eggs with stickers, or paint or decorate wooden eggs with glitter, ribbons or permanent markers. Plus, their eggs can be saved from year to year. Hiding hard-boiled eggs for your Easter egg hunt may introduce harmful bacteria. Plastic eggs are better for hiding if you plan on eating the real ones.