Dyeing Problems:
Stripes

 
 

PROBLEM:  often store-bought eggs, when dyed, do not take dye evenly.  In many cases there are one or two such “stripes” going around the egg.

CAUSE: the equipment used to process eggs commercially has rollers and brushes which will the surface of the egg during the cleaning process and can wear away/damage the cuticle. 




This damage prevents the dye from taking well in these areas.  You will often see two parallel stripes on the egg after dyeing.

There are some pysankarky that have posited that such rings are caused by eggs sitting in styrofoam cartons; that somehow the styrofoam reacts with the eggshell to cause this problem.  The fact that this happens to eggs sold in paper cartons, and that there can be multiple stripes, goes against this theory.

SOLUTION: a good black dye might cover relatively evenly as a final background color, even with a damaged egg shell.  On eggs where it would look good (like my snowflake eggs), you can sometimes mottle the background or rub the dye off and lightly re-dye to help hide the stripes. Sometimes it works well, and sometimes not:



A potential fix is to etch off the cuticle (don’t etch too much and weaken the shell).  When I made etched snowflakes in 2011, the background dyed evenly but variably –– some colors worked well (Royal Blue, Dark Red), others did not (Light Blue, Red).

Your best bet is prevention: avoid store-bought commercial eggs if possible, and buy directly from producers.  Eggs sold as “organic” and “cage-free” are sometimes processed less than the more commercial (and cheaper) ones, and may have thicker shells to boot. 

If you don’t have access to farm raised eggs, then buy a bunch of different brands of eggs, test dye them, find a good brand and stick to it......even if the eggs cost a bit more.  And you may be surprised that often cheaper brands are better than expensive ones.  I’ve had the best luck with cage-free eggs from Costco, while a friend of mine in Cleveland swears by Sam’s Club brand.  (Note: both Costco and Sam’s Club use local regional suppliers, so these brands may not be good in your area.)



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Roller damage