Folk Art Easter Eggs

By Connie Goldin, LMFT

Amish Eggs on Red Mat

This adventure in egg dyeing corresponds to the Mom to Madre post, “Roosters, Eggs, and Art.” My first introduction to Pennsylvania Dutch Easter Egg Hunts comes from the charming book, The Egg Tree by Katherine Milhous, 1950.

The Egg Tree
While researching Amish-style Easter Eggs I decided to try making a few. Here’s how it goes:


Hard Boiled Eggs
White Vinegar
Beeswax or Regular White Crayon (Not Oil Pastels)
Black Food Coloring
Skins from 2-3 Brown Onions
Food Coloring
Thin Paint Brushes
A Cake Rack for Drying Eggs


Prepare light color dye by peeling onion skins and then covering the skins with a small amount of water in a pan. Simmer for several minutes, until you can see the color of the liquid. It looks a nice, golden brown when it is ready. Strain the liquid in the pan into a container.
This is dye number one.

For dye number two, mix 1 teaspoon of black food coloring with 1 teaspoon of white vinegar in a container and add an egg. Add water to cover the egg completely. Swirl a bit to mix the liquids. Gloves keep hands dye-free!

Use your white crayon to make a decoration on either a white or lightly dyed dry egg. I discovered that by using a white crayon on the peach-colored egg, I could see the pattern. Then I re-dyed it in black. The crayon resists the dye and when it is dry, you can see the design.

For the light colored eggs, I painted with undiluted food coloring. This photographed nicely, but was sticky. I suggest you do what the Amish do–use watercolors–especially with kids!

Amish Egg Gallery

Have fun trying these interesting looking Easter Eggs with your children.

Another technique I read about, is to dye an egg black, then when it is dry scratch off the dye to make a design. I used an oil pastel crayon on this one and learned that didn’t work. I scratched it off with an dull knife and then gave it a little scrub with a fiber sponge. Maybe that’s not Amish, but it looks interesting!

Amish Eggs 2

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4 Responses to “Amish-Style Painted Eggs”

  1. Cynthia, Reply

    My Grandfather an artist lived all his life in Lancaster County and would make us the most beautiful onion skin Easter eggs. I wish I still had them.

  2. Weekly Blogroll: Mennonite Banana Tea Bread, Peanut Butter Fingers, Completed Painting, Newspaper gaffe and more! | Amish 365: Amish Recipes – Amish Cooking, Reply

    […] AMISH EASTER EGGS:  This is an interesting blog post about “Amish Easter eggs.”  First of all, a large percentage of Amish don’t color eggs at all, it’s an activity seen as a frivolous undermining of a solemn occasion.  Other Amish do color eggs and eat chocolate bunnies for precisely the opposite reason the others don’t: it is seen as frivolous, harmless fun that doesn’t undermine the solemn season.  So, take your pick, you’ll find a wide range of views among the Amish.  The Amish that I have seen coloring eggs usually just do some with food coloring and vinegar and water and that’s that.  Actually, when re-reading the post I think this is a classic of case of  the terms “Pennsylvania Dutch “and “Amish” being used somewhat interchangeably.   I think most of the beautiful designs seen here would be more likely to be found in Pennsylvania Dutch homes with deep and rich traditions more than Amish homes.  That said, could there be some Amish in Pennsyvlania who paint their eggs like this?  Definitely possible, but I don’t think you’d find this style throughout Amish America, I think it’d be confined to eastern Pennsyvlania’s settlements where the PA Dutch culture is deeply rooted. Click here to see the eggs. […]

    • Connie Goldin, Reply

      Thanks for this interesting and informative comment. Appreciate it!

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