There are many ways to use the boiled and dyed eggshells after Easter egg hunts. With higher egg prices, thinking about yolk-to-shell egg use can translate to saving money, fun family activities, sustainability, and waste prevention.
Using dyed shells that have been outside in edible ways is not recommended (the same goes for the insides), but you can use them in arts and crafts and gardening applications. Read on for more great ideas.
How Do You Process Dyed Eggshells Before Using Them?
Once the egg hunt is over, gather the eggs and peel eggshells away from the boiled egg . It’s perfectly OK if the shells break into tiny pieces; you’ll be using them for mosaic crafts or grinding them into calcium dust for projects. The eggs themselves are not safe to eat.
There are several options to prepare the eggshells for other uses.
- If you’re using the eggshells in your garden, simply toss the pieces into the soil around the plants.
- Rinse the pieces gently and set them outside in the sun to dry. Store the dried pieces in an air-tight container.
- Grind the dried shell pieces into a powder in a mortar and pestle, food processor, or simply by hand using a meat mallet or rolling pin over the eggshells in a baggie.
How Can You Use Dyed Eggshells?
For Easter eggshell ideas, we asked first generation urban homesteaders The Busy Homebodies and twins Magadelena and Mary, who "try to make every bit count" what they'd do with leftover eggshells.
As former preschool teachers, they had ideas to keep dyed eggshells from being discarded that kids will love:
- Create a festive garland or wreath by hot gluing dyed eggshell pieces to yarn or a flat wreath form.
- Dehydrate eggshells and toss them into the soil under plants.
- Make a mobile by threading eggshell pieces onto fishing wire and suspending them from a wire hanger with yarn.
Creative Ways To Use Easter Eggshells
Try one (or all) of these additional ideas to use up Easter eggshells and help keep them out of landfills.
Eggshell picture frame: Glue eggshell pieces to a simple frame in a mosaic pattern focused on the colorful dyed eggs. Treat the eggshells like you might make projects with vacation seashells .
Eggshell bottle: Create a dyed-eggshell mosaic with shell fragments by gluing them on to the exterior of clean and dry bottles or small vases.
Eggshell mosaic paintings: Once you’ve collected and dried dyed eggshell fragments, put out construction paper and let kids “paint” with eggshells. Print out examples of simple art like a sailboat, building, or sky; use the drawings or images as a template for them to lay out and glue the eggshells to create their own artwork.
With eggshell mosaic projects, consider the eggshells’ exteriors. If most of your eggshells are blue and white, a cloud project could work. If you’ve used pastel egg dyes, try creating eggshell flowers.
Gardening With Eggshells
While making art projects with eggshells is fun, putting them back into the environment also increases your sustainability efforts. If you're considering putting eggshells directly in your soil, first do a quick soil test to check on the existing calcium levels in your soil.
“When you use eggshells in gardening, make sure you break them into small particles for increased surface area and to allow the eggs to break down faster so the nutrients can be better utilized in the soil," says Dr. Teresa Morishita, professor of poultry medicine and food safety at Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Veterinary Medicine.
Try this eggshell water recipe to add a concentrated nutrient burst to your plant water.
Potting soil + eggshells: Add calcium-rich eggshell powder or pieces into potting soil before starting seeds or planting.
Eggshells + compost: Add eggshell pieces into an existing compost pile, or start a new one with the eggshells at the base.
Mulch + eggshells: Add eggshell powder or pieces to purchased or composted mulch. Crushed eggshells break down more quickly to release calcium and aerate soil, improving water flow.
Eggshells + pests: Eggshells are a natural enemy of garden pests like slugs. Sprinkle eggshell powder or add eggshell pieces into problem areas.
Eggshells + blossom end rot: Sprinkle eggshell powder around plants prone to or struggling with blossom end rot . The calcium in the eggshells can help balance soil calcium.
Kitchen scrubber: Use crushed eggshells to scrub away stubborn stains. Put pieces into pots and pans, add soap and warm water before scrubbing. Because you’re using dyed eggs, keep in mind the eggshells could stain if you’re scrubbing light interiors.
What About Food Safety?
According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, it's safe to handle hard-boiled eggs, and all Easter eggs should be boiled before they're dyed. Boiling eggs eliminates potentially harmful bacteria like Salmonella on the eggshells.
"Practicing sustainable living means it's a good idea for eggshells to be used after Easter egg hunts, but I suggest they be put into gardens or composting to prevent potential harm like the transmission of disease agents." says Dr. Morishita.