From Xplor for Kids
March 2016 Issue

How To: Dye Some Wild-Colored Eggs

Publish Date

Mar 01, 2016

Missouri’s wild birds lay eggs of nearly every color and pattern. Here’s how to dye chicken eggs to look like the ones laid by crows, cardinals, and robins.

Here’s what you need:

  • White chicken eggs
  • Newspapers
  • Three coffee mugs
  • Measuring cup
  • Tablespoon
  • White vinegar
  • Kitchen tongs
  • Red, yellow, blue, and green food coloring gel
  • Two small plates
  • Old toothbrush
  • Paper towels

Here’s How You Prepare

  1. Hard boil the eggs and let them cool to room temperature. While the eggs are cooling, cover your work surface with old newspapers.
  2. Pour 1 cup of water into each coffee mug. Stir 1 tablespoon of white vinegar into each cup of water.
  3. Follow the recipes on the next page to make each kind of egg.

American Crow

Base Coat

  • 5 parts yellow gel
  • 2 parts blue gel
  • 1 part red gel

Stir the gel into the water and vinegar until it’s completely dissolved (it helps if the water is hot).

Soak the egg for 45 seconds.

Spots

  • 4 parts red gel
  • 3 parts yellow gel
  • 1 part blue gel

Mix the gel together on a small plate. Add a little water to make the mixture soupy.

Dab a toothbrush in the paint, and run your thumb over the bristles to sling paint spatters onto the egg.

Northern Cardinal

Base Coat

  • 6 parts red gel
  • 2 parts yellow gel
  • 1 part blue gel

Stir the gel into the water and vinegar until it’s completely dissolved (it helps if the water is hot).

Soak the egg for 45 seconds.

Spots

  • 1 part blue gel
  • 1 part red gel

Mix the gel together on a small plate. Add a little water to make the mixture soupy.

Dab a toothbrush in the paint, and run your thumb over the bristles to sling paint spatters onto the egg.

American Robin

Base Coat

  • 6 parts blue gel
  • 1 part green gel

Stir the gel into the water and vinegar until it’s completely dissolved (it helps if the water is hot).

Soak the egg for 3 minutes.

Tip: Use pea-sized amounts of food coloring gel. For example, if the base coat recipe says to use six parts blue and one part green, add six pea-sized squirts of blue gel and one pea-sized squirt of green gel to the water and vinegar mixture.

Tip: Approximate soaking times are provided, but check the eggs every 30 seconds and pull them out of the dye when they reach the right color.

Use kitchen tongs to pull eggs out of the dye and place them on clean paper towels to dry. Don’t add spots to the eggs until the base coat dries completely.

Marsh Muddle

For many a wetland bird, finding food has a lot to do with the length of its legs. Shortlegged birds must hunt for worms and insects in the oozy mud and shallow water along the shoreline. Leggy birds can wade in deeper to spear fish or pluck insects from the surface. And birds who float, such as ducks, don’t worry too much about water depth.

The legs of these birds have become all muddled up. Can you help the feathered foragers find their proper footgear? Draw a line from each bird to the feet it should be attached to.

Critter Corner

Eastern Cottontail Rabbits

Hoppy spring! As spring gets green, watch for baby rabbits nested up or out grazing and playing. You might even see a hippety-hoppety cottontail doing a “binky” — jumping high in the air while twisting and spinning around. If you find a baby rabbit tucked away in the brush, leave it there. Mama rabbit is probably feeding nearby.

Also in this issue

Get Out!

Don't miss the chance to discover nature at these fun events!

Into the Wild: Marsh

Life squishes out of every soggy corner in a marsh. To see it in action, pull on your mud boots and head into the wild.

Nature Myths Busted

April Fools is right around the corner, but that’s no reason to get fooled. Let’s shed light on some long-lived nature myths.

Life Size

From burly bears to tiny birds, Missouri’s critters come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Strange but True

Your guide to all the unusual, unique, and unbelievable stuff that goes on in nature.

This Issue's Staff:

Brett Dufur
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Angie Daly Morfeld
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White

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