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Earth Friendly: Repurpose old ties for Easter fun

April 21, 2011 at midnight
Updated April 20, 2011 at 11:21 p.m.

Meridith Byrd

By Meridith Byrd

Once in awhile, I hear of something so creative and fun that I must pass it along. This one came just in time for both Earth Day and Easter: using old silk neckties to dye Easter eggs.

My guess is that most men have a few old neckties buried deep in a drawer that they never wear anymore. Maybe the tie has seen better days, or the pattern is out of fashion, or you just plain do not like it anymore. Dig them out of the drawer, and use them to dye your Easter eggs.

The tie must be 100 percent silk for this to work, so first, turn over the tie and find the tag; some are on the wide end, and others are on the narrow end. You are looking for the words "all silk" or "100 percent silk." Polyester blends cannot be used for egg dyeing. You also will need some light-colored fabric, such as cotton. Nothing too heavy; an old pillowcase or sheet will work great.

No ties or old sheets in your house? My guess is that you can find a bounty of inexpensive ties and pillowcases at local resale shops and thrift stores.

You also will need scissors, string or twist-ties, vinegar, a large spoon, a large pot, and either a colander or a towel. First, turn the tie over and cut the seam along the back, opening up the tie. Remove the lining and cut off a piece of tie large enough to wrap around an egg.

When wrapping, make sure the right side (or the printed side) of the fabric is touching the egg. Wrap tightly, as direct contact is needed to make sure the pattern transfers successfully.

There will be folds in the fabric, but this is OK because it will make for a fun, swirl effect. Tie off the fabric with either string or a twist-tie. Wrap the covered egg a second time with the light-colored fabric and tie off.

Place the eggs in a pot. Cover the eggs with water, add cup vinegar and boil for 20 minutes. Remove the eggs with the spoon and place them on a towel or in a colander to cool. Once cool, you can remove the fabric and inspect your little works of art.

For best results, only use each piece of silk fabric once, as the colors will not be as vibrant the second time.

Because the dye used to color the tie is not food-grade, eating the eggs is not recommended.

What a great way to find a new use for old ties. Celebrate Earth Day and Easter at the same time.

Meridith Byrd is a marine biologist and invites readers to contact her at meridith.byrd@gmail.com.

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