I LOVE Easter. It means rabbits and chicks and Easter egg hunts and candy and the promise that spring will actually arrive. Sometime. (Hopefully sooner rather than later.) But my favorite part of Easter is making Easter eggs.
Over the years I’ve experimented with the crayon method to create simple designs, played around with natural dyes (fun fact: red cabbage = blue dye!), blown out raw eggs so I could preserve more elaborate designs, and even tried my hand at Ukrainian pysanky, which involves drawing designs on an egg with melted beeswax and dipping the egg in lots of different colors of dye to create a super intricate pattern.
So it will come as no surprise that I was VERY excited to dye Easter eggs with my 3 1/2-year old son, Gus, this year. He’s just at the age where he’s starting to get excited about the holiday, so I figured it was time to introduce him to the joys of Easter egg decorating. I started, as any modern mom would, by Googling “DIY easter egg decorating toddlers.” Up popped a ton of ideas, but one in particular caught my eye: shaving cream eggs. They were swirly and pretty and kinda sorta looked like they were tie dyed. To create them, you spread shaving cream in a baking sheet, top with drops of food coloring, and swirl the colors to make a marbleized pattern. You roll your eggs through the colorful swirls, let them sit for a bit, then wash them off for the big reveal. Since egg shells are porous, though, it seemed like a bad idea to eat them after a shaving cream soak. And I had some deviled eggs in mind.
But not all hope was lost. One of the shaving cream tutorials led me to a version that used Cool Whip, that pillowy, whipped-cream-ish ingredient that I loved so much as a kid (insert flashback of grade-school Nina eating it straight out of the tub with a spoon). It seemed like I could do the same exact method with Cool Whip, which would make the eggs safe to eat. Hooray!
With a plan in place, I gathered my supplies:
• A dozen hard-boiled eggs (Pro tip: steam them for insanely easy peeling)
• White vinegar (More on that below.)
• A rimmed baking sheet
• One tub of Cool Whip (NOTE: You need to let it thaw in the fridge for a few hours to make sure it’s the right consistency. Don’t microwave it or you’ll end up with a slimy, watery mess. Trust me.)
• Food coloring (I used a box of fancy gel food coloring that my husband got me as a gift, but any food coloring will work.)
• Toothpicks (or skewers or a small sharp knife…basically anything that you can use for swirling the food coloring)
• Plastic tablecloth (optional, but recommended if you’re working with a toddler or other messy human)
And then Gus and I got to work.
How to Make Cool Whip Easter Eggs
1. Soak the hard-boiled eggs in white vinegar for about three minutes. This step helps set the dye and will give you the most vibrant colors. Don’t leave them much longer than three minutes because the acid dissolves the shell. I could go on and on about this chemical reaction, but you have eggs to color (but if you wanna geek out, click here). Dry the eggs off and place in a bowl or back in the carton.
2. Spread the Cool Whip on the baking sheet. (This is oddly satisfying for people of all ages. Just ask my husband.)
3. Squeeze drops of food coloring on top of the Cool Whip. You don’t have to be precise. Just use several different colors and leave some space between drops.
4. Using your toothpick (or other implement), swirl the food coloring into a marble pattern. You want to get pretty good coverage, but don’t swirl it so much that the Cool Whip turns one color. You want swirls of color, but you also want to see the white Cool Whip, too. (NOTE: Toddlers tend to be overzealous swirlers. You’ve been warned.)
5. Roll the eggs through the food coloring swirls, covering completely. My husband preferred to stick the eggs upright in the mixture, then roll them all around for complete coverage. Gus and I went with a barrel roll technique and rolled the eggs through the mixture on their sides (this will be your natural inclination). I must admit that Matt’s eggs did turn out a little more vibrant than Gus’s and mine. Big points for Papa!
6. Let the eggs sit in the mixture for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. (Most of the tutorials said 15 minutes, but we wanted to go longer and then got distracted so ours sat for about an hour. I think that happy accident led to more colorful eggs.)
7. Rinse off the Cool Whip under cool running water. Dry the eggs. And marvel at your creations.
8. Store in the fridge and pack in your son’s lunch. All. Week. (Good thing he likes hard-boiled eggs.)