Pastel colors are those which are “pale and light,” or so Merriam-Webster informs me. When using paints, you would add white to a color (hue) to get the pastel (tint) of it.   When working with dyes we don’t have a white dye, so we create pastels by simply decreasing the amount of dye that we allow to deposit.  How do we do that? 

One way would be simply not to allow an egg to stay in the dye very long.  While this is great in theory, in reality, it doesn’t work out that least not with chemical dyes.  With natural botanical dyes, it can often take hours for a dye to saturate an egg, so it is failry straightforward to control the depth of color with proper timing. Not so with modern chemical dyes.  They take in seconds, and even a quick dip is sometimes too long if you want a truly pastel color.

The best way to control the deposition of the dye is to dilute it.  If there are fewer particles in solution, it will take longer for more of them to deposit on the eggshell. Voila!

To do this, you will need to mix up a separate jar of dye for each pastel color you want. Take two tablespoons of the full strength dye (the full strength dye solution, not the powder), and add it to 1.5 cups of water.  Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar (but only to those dyes which require vinegar, e.g. NOT UGS orange).

You will still need to keep an eye on your egg, but the dyeing time will be longer than before  If you leave the egg in long enough, it will get fairly dark, as the dye will continue to deposit as long as there are binding sites on the surface of the eggshell.  


The longer the time, the greater the deposition of dye particles, and the darker the color on the egg

These are come colors that I have made; I have used them mostly on my snowflake pysanky. You may note that my pastel dyes have been made mostly from UGS dyes, but they can be made from any pysanka dyes.  I just used the dyes I had at hand which were, at the time, mostly UGS.  (The lovely orange and peach snowflake pysanky were not planned but serendipitous–the colors just took that way from ordinary orange dye.  The shells were just resistant to the dye for some reason, and UGS orange isn’t always the most powerful orange dye.)

Other colors are, of course, possible.  Try this with your dyes and see what you come up with.  And let me know if you com up with anything great!

Pastel Pink (with UGS Pink)

Peach (with UGS Pumpkin)

Pastel Purple (with Surma Violet)

Pastel Green (with UGS Light Green)

Pastel Blue (with UGS Light Blue)

Robin’s Egg Blue (with PS Jade)

Pastel Turquoise (with UGS Turquoise)

Pastel purple snowflake pysanka

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