Layering Dyes


A third way of getting custom colors (after mixing dyes, and creating pastels) is to “layer” colors to achieve a custom color.  All of us have done this at some time: dip into one color, and then briefly dip into another, to layer the two.....or three or more...dyes into a new and different shade.

How does this method compare to others (mixing custom dyes, creating pastel dyes)?

Disadvantage:   ican be hard to reproduce

Advantages:      iless wasteful than mixing a new batch of dye,    

                            allows more variety and experimentation,

                            can be used with otherwise incompatible dyes

In theory, whenever we make pysanky in the traditional manner, we are layering.  Yellow is our base color, and over that we put orange, red, black.  If you’ve ever written two-color (white + final color) pysanky, and go straight to the final color, you’ll realize the colors often aren’t as rich, or at least somehow not the same, as if you dye in yellow first.

Layering as a specific technique is most useful for a “one-off” dyeing situation–a single pysanka of a given design–as reproducing the results can be problematic.  If exact color reproduction is not paramount, a known color sequence can be quite useful.  Mind you, eggshells vary enough in their dyeing properties that you can never count on two eggs being dyed to end up the same exact color.

Layering is also useful in those situations where mixing the dyes is not an option.  I often will dip a light green dyed egg into UGS orange briefly to get a lovely olive green.  The exact shade of green varies, but mixing the two dyes together is not an option–the orange is vinegar intolerant.

And, as noted above, layering is a much simpler and less expensive way to go then mixing up lots of new test batches of dyes.  And it is simpler than trying to spot dye large section of the egg.

Below are some layering “recipes” from the Eggs-Pysanka Yahoo group.  Some I may have found in the archive, but most were in response to my surveying the group. 

going from dark green to pink gives purple (UGS only)

Kathy Canuel

I have been able to achieve beautiful shades of burgundy by dipping in either

purple first then dark red (both the UGS dyes) or dark red then purple....I personally prefer the combination of the dark red and purple over the red and purple combo. The dark red seems to make a richer, deeper shade of burgundy that I just love.

Judi J.

You can get a lovely burgundy by dyeing your egg red, then dipping it into

purple for just a minute or two.

Stephanie Astalos Jones

For a rich burgundy I use pink first, a quick scarlet dip, and then purple.

Kathy Meyer

Sheboygan, WI

Depending on the shade of purple that I want, I usually dip my egg into

red or blue first to give it a "base." I found that it gives me a richer

purple when finished.


(NOTE: This page is cross-posted in the Dyeing section, until I write the appropriate text for that section.)

  EP Recipes        Natural Dyes

Back to Main Dyes page

Back to Main Pysankarstvo page

Search my site with Google


Another approach to custom colors