OK, so the kids noticed on the calendar that Easter is approaching and they want to make a huge production of dying eggs. In the past, the little stickers you bought at the store sufficed, but now they want the real thing. Here are some old standards with a few new ideas for you.

One important note: When the kids get really excited about egg dying, don't feel sorry for them and pour the left over egg dye in their bath water so they can have more fun (no matter how much they beg and plead! Especially if it's food coloring). Someone might panic and declare a citywide medical quarantine if they see your kids dyed all sorts of strange colors in their Easter finery.

Before you decorate Easter eggs, cover the entire table with newspaper. Keep a huge roll of paper towels or rags handy for messes. Have each kid wear one of dad's old (now disposable) tee shirts.

Making Easter Egg Stands

Cut toilet paper roll cores into one inch cylinders and use for egg stands. Decorate with stickers or paint.

Decorating Eggs

Traditional method

Hard boil eggs. Fill several mugs with boiling water and add 1-2 tsp. vinegar. Place a few drops of desired food coloring in each mug. Place eggs in mugs for several minutes until eggs reach desired shades.

Remove with a spoon. Place on paper towel to dry. When dry, polish with a small amount of shortening on a paper towel. Buff until glossy.

You can draw or write on the eggs with a light colored or white crayon before dipping. The drawing will remain white after the egg is dipped.

To clean out mugs, put a little bleach water in the cups and soak for a few minutes.

Natural Easter Egg Dyes

If you would like to try dying eggs naturally, try the following:

~Yellow-- yellow onion skins, turmeric (1/2 tsp. per cup water) celery leaves

~Orange--any yellow dye plus beet juice

~Red--beets, paprika, red onion skins

~Pink -cranberry juice

~Blue--blackberries, grape juice concentrate, red cabbage

~Brown--black tea, white oak, juniper berry, coffee, barberry

~Light purple--blackberries, grapes, violets

~Green--alfalfa, spinach, kale, violet blossom plus 1/4 tsp. baking soda, tansy, nettle, chervil, sorrel, parsley, carrot tops, beet tops or dip yellow egg in blue dye

Hard boil eggs with 1 tsp. vinegar in the water. Place dying ingredients in non-aluminum pans, cover with water and boil 5 minutes to 1 hour until desired color is achieved. Use enough material to make at least 1 cup dye. Crush ingredients as they boil to extract as much dye as possible. Strain the dye. Most dyes should be used hot. Let each egg sit in the dye until it reaches the desired color. Some dyes will take longer than others to make the desired colored on the egg. Remove the egg and let dry.

Glitter Eggs 

Place 1 tablespoon each of glue and water in a cup. Stir the mixture and then paint the eggs with it. Sprinkle with glitter. This can also add sparkle to already dyed eggs!

Crepe Paper Eggs

Wet a white or dyed egg. Dab torn pieces of colored tissue paper or pieces of pretty colored napkins on the eggs. When the paper dries, the paper falls off and leaves the color behind on the egg.

Decoupaged eggs

Tear small pieces of wrapping paper, napkins, stickers, or clip art. Mix equal amounts of glue and water. Paint egg with glue mixture. Place paper on top and then cover with more glue mixture. Let dry.

Spotted Eggs

Place 1 tsp. of cooking oil in dye. Dip the egg. The oil will cause the dye to make an irregular pattern on the egg.

Waxed Eggs

Dip a portion of the eggs in melted paraffin or candle wax. Then dip them in the dye. Remove from dye. Dry and peel off the wax. The egg will be white on one half and colored on the other half. You can also dip in dye before waxing to get two colors.

Hollow Eggs

Poke a hole in one end of an egg with a very small needle. Poke another slightly larger hole in the other end. Then blow on the small end and the egg will come out the other side. Decorate as desired.

Tawra Kellam is the author of the frugal cookbook Not Just Beans: 50 Years of Frugal Family Favorites. Not Just Beans is a frugal cookbook which has over 540 recipes and 400 tips. For more free tips and recipes visit her web site at http://www.LivingOnADime.com.