Dyeing kits bring kids’ creativity out of its shell

Posted: Sunday, April 09, 2006

Editor’s note: Clarion writers Nan Misner and Will Morrow tackled the task of reviewing several egg dyeing kits available in local stores with the help of ‘eggs’perts — their kids.

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  Using different decorating kits can lead to a much more interesting Easter basket. Photo by M. Scott Moon

The good, the bad, and the not so glittery

Decorating Easter eggs is an event for the young and young at heart — not the faint of heart.

 

An egg decorated with Dudley's Shake 'n Dazzl

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Gone are the days of dipping your egg into dye with a spoon or carefully layering your egg, first one color on one end and then another color on the other, or even using a white crayon to write your name so it appears magically (albeit crookedly) when the egg is dipped.

Now, a vast and colorful array of products are on the market giving promising Picassos ways to splatter, dunk, roll and encase their eggs into masterpieces that sparkle, shine and have eggs-traordinary patterns.

To make sure the yolk wasn’t on us, I enlisted the help of my son, Zack, 14, and neighbors, Lane, 13, Johnathon, 11, Savannah, 8, and Nicole Kreider, 5, and their mother, Jennifer.

 

Many creative combinations are possible with Dudley's Sparkle Easter Egg Decorating Kit.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Preparation is a must — old clothes, a plastic tablecloth and disposable trays to shake glitter over and act as a catch for splatter. Another tip is to read directions ahead of time, as they are on the back of egg dyeing kit boxes — the same place manufacturers instruct you to punch out circles to dry your eggs on. We used empty egg cartons as drying racks so we could refer to the directions when needed and so the kids’ eggs did not get scrambled together.

While most directions were easy to follow, we discovered that the PAAS Tie Dye egg decorating kit required some in-depth preparation using scissors and something to poke holes in a plastic dyeing form, not a setup for the two youngest. Lane prepared and then tried it out.

“It is OK, but they didn’t turn out like the package illustration. And there isn’t enough cloth,” he said referring to material used to rub the eggs to produce the tie-dyed effect.

“Hellllooo, advertising,” Johnathon said.

Lack of material didn’t slow the kids down from inventing their own ways of tie dyeing. Johnathon used a napkin with drizzles of egg dye on it and Nicole used a diaper wipe with dye placed on it. A bonus was the animal prints on the diaper wipe showed up on the egg.

The overall vote on this kits was it is a great idea, but a waste of money since you can use things at hand that don’t require using sharp objects.

The PAAS Splash, Sparkling Eggs kit is the one I feared the most. The word “splash” in conjunction with egg dye and energetic kids gave me pause. But I shouldn’t have been worried. It was a “bad egg.” The dye had the consistency of fabric paint and there was such a tiny amount of it that the kids could not get enough in the applicator to make it spit, let alone splash.

“Nope, not enough to even make a mess,” Johnathon said.

 

Car wheels and decals in the PAAS VehEGGles Egg Decorating Kit allow interesting combinations for creative children.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Dudley’s Shake ’n’ Dazzle decorating kit came with its own set of five colored baskets with lids and handles. The beauty of this was the baskets are used to color the egg in, then you wash them out, add the handles and have instant mini-Easter baskets to use for decorations or to hide goodies. Nicole and Savannah said they enjoyed shaking the eggs around and getting a swirling pattern. But the “dazzle” (glitter) part left them a disappointed.

“They must have bigger glitter shakers,” Nicole said, comparing her egg to to picture on the box.”Look — theirs are way more sparkly.”

“It (the glitter) sticks to me better than the egg,” Savannah said. “Maybe glue would work.”

On the the mom scale, this was worth the price — it’s reusable and has enough paint. The only drawback is the lids to the baskets fit so tightly it required the help of the guys to get them on.

The hit of the party — next to the company of my neighbors and listening to Jennifer recall her egg decorating days as a youth — was the Easter Rainbow Slide. A mom invented this, I am sure of it.

The kit comes with a plastic slide that has double-sided tape to anchor the assembly and an egg catcher at the bottom. The slide has shaped felt paint pads adhered at regular intervals. Eggs roll end over end, down the slide, over the paint pads and into the egg catcher. The bulk of our three dozen eggs went down that slide, and it never ran out of paint. All of the kids went back to use it time and again.

Last on the test list was Dudley’s Wrapits. You literally shrink wrap your eggs by placing a colorful plastic sleeve over them (use large eggs only) and plunge them into very hot water. Because of the hot water, this is not for little kids.

None of my dyers were interested.

“No challenge,” said Johnathon.

I tried them out myself. It works slick, but Johnathon was right — no challenge. And when it was time to use the egg, it was impossible to remove it from the sleeve without spooning out the contents from the top. No deviled eggs from these chickies.

 

Using different decorating kits can lead to a much more interesting Easter basket.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

When the eggs, table, clothes and kids were decorated sufficiently for the Easter season, it was time to say goodbye.

“I love doing Easter eggs. It reminds me of my family times as a kid,” Jennifer said. “And now I know what I get when we do our eggs.”

— Nan Misner

Vehicle kits an ‘eggs-ident’ waiting to happen

The prospect of dyeing Easter eggs elicited squeals of delight from my 5-year-old son, Billy, and my 3-year-old daughter, Grace.

Billy was particularly excited to discover the PAAS “Veh-EGG-Les” kit, which contains not only food coloring tablets to make the dye, but also stickers and wheels to turn four hard-boiled creations into a police car, ambulance, fire truck and school bus. The wheels, which snap to oval frames to support the veh-EGG-les, are small enough to constitute a choking hazard, and the product is not recommended for children under 3.

“Decorate and race! Eggs will roll!” reads the packaging, and indeed, eggs did roll.

And yes, eggs — even the hard-boiled variety — do crack when rolled too hard by an excited 5-year-old. We actually had two casualties — call them eggs-idents. Fortunately, we had plenty of eggs with which to work, and we hadn’t started applying the 50 stickers to create our veh-EGG-les when the crashes occurred.

The dyeing process was straightforward — food coloring tablets dissolved in vinegar, lemon juice or water, then mixed with water — but peeling the stickers off the sheet proved difficult for little fingers (it wasn’t easy for big fingers, either).

Grace, who is into princesses and anything that sparkles, got a kick out of Dudley’s “Sparkle” Easter egg decorating kit.

This kit contains five “Dazzlin’ Dye” packets — yellow, red, blue, orange and green. The kit also includes a glitter packet and brush to apply the product. The product is recommended for ages 5 and up, though Grace actually has a little more patience than Billy and did just fine with a little supervision.

 

Take One's Rainbow Slide Easter Egg Coloring Kit randomizes the coloring process.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

The neatest part of this kit is that a small amount of oil is included in the dye packets and floats on top of the dye. The directions say to “slowly lower the egg, using a circular motion, through the oil and into the dye.”

It took us a little while to figure out why this method was suggested. What we found was that the oil stuck to the egg in patches, and the dye didn’t penetrate the oil. By letting the egg dry, wiping it off and then dipping it into a different color, we were able to create some cool tie-dyed effects. With Grace supervising, we came up with quite a few combinations, most of which involved some shade of pink.

The glitter part was a little disappointing. The glitter packet contains a gooey medium with the glitter in it; however, it seemed to be mostly goo with just a hint of glitter. Nevertheless, Grace did enjoy painting the glitter onto the eggs, with help from our 15-year-old exchange student daughter, Claudia Meder.

Both kits contain a strip that can be rolled up and used as display stands for the decorated eggs. However, Billy and Grace are not ones to spend too much time admiring their art. Instead, their only comments since completing our project has been, “Daddy, when can we eat them?”

— Will Morrow



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