Shibori is a Japanese dying technique that dates back to the 8th century. It’s a little like tie dye, but the fabric is pleated and twisted very tightly so the pattern isn’t so much a ’70s-style blur, but more of a thin and delicate spider web effect.
It’s all the rage at the moment, which is why it’s inspired my 2016 Easter egg design. I’ve been dying eggs with varying degrees of success for a couple of years now. Last year, I used nail polish and it was a disaster!
Since, I’m tired of poisoning myself and my eggs, I was resolute to go natural this year. You’ll be amazed at how much colour you can get from the ingredients in your kitchen. Since shibori is traditionally blue, I used red cabbage, which sounds nonsensical, but if you boil cabbage for long enough, it makes the most beautiful blue colour.
1/2 red cabbage
4 thin strips of cloth, I used an old t-shirt
4 mason jars
Bring a big pot with 1 litre of water and two tablespoons of vinegar to the boil. Add your thinly sliced cabbage. Cook for 30 minutes.
Wrap your strips of cloth around your eggs. I experimented with doing this tightly and less tightly. The tighter you wrap the cloth, the more defined your lines will be. Add the eggs to the pot and simmer for 25 minutes.
Drain off the solids, but keep your purple water. Pour that into the mason jars, add your eggs and put on the lids. Leave your eggs to infuse overnight. Afterwards, remove the cloth, pat dry with some paper towels and admire your handiwork!
You can dye your eggs a multitude of colours using this method. Coffee grains makes brown, onion skins, copper, raspberries, pink and turmeric, a bright yellow. Don’t worry if after they boil, your eggs don’t look like they’ve coloured at all. Mine didn’t, but I had faith and they turned out beautiful.