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No Mess, No Food Coloring Easter Egg Decorating

I work hard to give my kids candy-free Easter baskets that are still fun, but I just don’t have the DIY sense or time to make homemade Easter egg colors without food dyes to decorate our Easter eggs! Check out this new idea for Easter egg decorating that is NO mess, NO prep and used no artificial dyes! Plus, it gets rid of something else that drives me nuts as a natural mama…

Easter basket of eggs decorated with temporary tattoos.

What do you get when you give kids highly colored water, breakable eggs and flimsy wires to drop set them in with?

You got it. Easter stains and Easter messes because you’re trying to decorate Easter eggs!

Is There a Way to Avoid Food Coloring with Easter Egg Decorating?

I’m pretty anti artificial food dyes for my kids under most circumstances (although we allow it in occasional candy treats that we don’t buy…so far…), but for Easter eggs, I’ve always just bought the inexpensive colors that everyone else uses.

I figure my kids aren’t eating the dyes, and if some does slip through a cracked egg, it’s still only once a year – not important enough for me to make a half dozen colors on the stove with various highly colored fruits and veggies. My friend Heather does it, and it’s beautiful, but it’s just not me. I did figure out one year how to make super easy natural food colors for frosting, but it doesn’t apply to eggs. 🙁

Last year I came up with the most brilliant idea. Maybe I saw it online; I honestly don’t remember, but it’s perfect for me.

You see, I really hate those skin tattoos that my kids love to come home with – when it comes to artificial dyes, I can’t imagine that red, black and blue ON your skin for days at a time is a good thing. I’m sure it drives my kids nuts that I maintain a “take it off tonight” rule as often as I can chase them down when they put tattoos on. Someday I’ll probably get fed up and ban them altogether. For now, they’re a very special occasion fun thing.

Dad and son decorating Easter eggs. Basket of Easter eggs decorated with temporary tattoos. Young boy holding Easter egg decorated with temporary tattoo.

But they still come into the house! Faster than they can use them under my tight thumb!

Well, guess what?

Kids’ tattoos stick to anything.

Even hard-boiled Easter eggs.


Easter basket of eggs decorated with temporary tattoos. Words read, "No Stain, No Mess, No Food Coloring to Decorate Easter eggs.

Not only was our Easter egg decorating mess-free and had almost no clean-up, it was also finished much quicker than usual, which can be a good thing on a busy weekend.

I don’t think I’ll swear off Easter egg dyes forever, because they definitely foster more creativity, and my kids always have a lot of fun with it. But I’m thrilled to share this alternative food coloring free solution for your Easter eggs, and I hope it helps someone out there!

How to Avoid Food Dyes for Easter Eggs – Use Tattoos!

It’s so simple:

  1. Peel the clear plastic off the tattoo.
  2. Wet a washcloth or small piece of rag (socks with a hole in one toe are a great reuse opportunity, then use the socks to clean toilets!).
  3. Place the tattoo on the egg and hold the wet cloth over it for 30 seconds.
  4. Carefully peel the tattoo backing off and enjoy your decorated Easter egg! They do need to dry before touching or the tattoo will slide around. Then kids might cry. But decorating eggs is a FUN, family affair, right? 😉

Lots of counting to 30 – play some music while you work!

Dad helping toddler decorate Easter eggs with temporary tattoos. Two young boys decorating eggs with temporary tattoos.

No splashing. No need for smocks to cover clothes. And no clean-up! You can usually fit 2 tattoos on each egg, at least.

Didn’t they turn out cute?

Easter basket of eggs decorated with temporary tattoos.

My daughter had some tattoos that were supposed to be a bracelet on a child’s wrist, and those going around the egg were particularly dazzling.

Plus, bonus – you can use farm-fresh brown eggs, which don’t always look so attractive with the brightly colored dyes, am I right? 😉

Easter basket of eggs decorated with temporary tattoos.

If you don’t have any tattoos cluttering up your house – congratulations, you don’t have kids in school, do you? Just kidding. No, I’m not. If you don’t have any of these, go get some kids. They come along for the ride within a month. 😉

But if you need to buy tattoos, hit up a dollar store, probably a pharmacy, or try online here:

We’ll be traveling for Easter this year and not even dyeing eggs. We’re putting coins and small items like tattoos (ha! Not tattoos, I wouldn’t do that – maybe stickers) in the plastic eggs for a hunt, organized by color so that little and big kids have different challenges and prizes.

Young boy holding up an Easter egg decorated with a temporary tattoo.
I’d love to hear your mess-free, dye-free Easter egg ideas so I have something new for next year!
Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

6 thoughts on “No Mess, No Food Coloring Easter Egg Decorating”

  1. This is the season for Easter- Christ died on the cross for us. The egg is a symbol of life. It is not only disgusting, but enough to make a person cry when eggs are decorated with snakes, cartoons, etc. Where is the cross? Where are the lilies?

    Apparently today’s generation lacks the intelligence to actually know the true meaning of Easter. Apparently the COVID has not been enough of a scare to get people thankful for the lives they have, also remembering ‘WHO’ provided it all for them.

    Christ died for us……………………….

  2. Nice idea! I’ve used those tattoos to decorate the kids notebooks in the past for the same reason. There are clean quality tattoos, (I found tattoo earings for my girls made with good dyes!) but those aren’t what people typically hand out.

    We always paint eggs with watercolors or acrylics after I’ve blown out the egg inside – we’ve built up a collection of pretty eggs over the years 🙂

  3. Love it! But any tips on teaching/helping a very independent 21M old with Easter Eggs? Shes just as likely to sit and try to peel the stickers or tattoos off as to crack the egg to try and cook it.

    1. LOL fun question, Rose! I guess I wouldn’t let the 21mo sit around with the eggs to peel off anything. 😉 Once they’re hard-boiled, at least cracking it won’t hurt, or at least won’t make a mess.

      We teach kids as young as 21mo to peel hard-boiled eggs in our Kids Cook Real Food eCourse – so maybe channel some of that energy into actually learning to cook! If she could crack and peel the eggshells off she’d probably feel like pretty hot stuff.

      Best of luck!

  4. yeah, but, what’s Easter without showing up at church with dye-stained hands?
    I love most of your ideas–even using tatoos for eggs is great–but that little bit of dye once a year on eggs can’t really be unhealthy enough to ruin a great activity with the kids. WE LOVE Dying Eggs! Messes often make the best memories, just saying. . .

    1. I agree, Tami – I don’t think the dye is unhealthy. It would be fun to dye AND tattoo the eggs! 😉 I know some parents probably hate the dyes for mess reasons so I went with than angle. For me, it was a way to use up the tattoos. 😉 Katie

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