It’s that time of year again! New beginnings, grass peeping from under the snow and the rebirth of the earth after a long winter.

Although the egg is commonly known to represent the resurrection of Jesus, the practice of decorating eggs in the springtime was around long before Christianity. Some credit Pagans with the beginning of the tradition, but the practice is carried through many cultures throughout the world.

No matter who or what we celebrate this season, I think almost all of us can think back fondly of balancing eggs on a thin wire hook attempting to dye them. While our parents prayed in the background we wouldn’t dump the cups all over the kitchen!

If you’re interested in changing things up this year, here are some new egg decorating techniques to add to your repertoire. Kids and adults of all ages can create their masterpieces using these new methods, and you may end up with less mess to boot.

First, let’s talk eggs. You can hard boil these any method you prefer. As someone who was well into their 30s before I could remember how long to boil an egg, the baking (not boiling at all) method is amazing. You can do a dozen eggs in 30-35 minutes without having to watch to make sure they don’t boil over or be worried about cracking them. All you need is a muffin tin.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, put one egg in each muffin cup, and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. That’s it!

Another option is to poke holes in each end of a raw egg and blow the egg out leaving it hollow. This would be a great method to use for older kids, but if you have littles they may not be sturdy enough.

Rice Dying
4-5 Ziploc zipper sandwich bags
1/3 cup rice per bag (any kind you have in the house will work fine)
Food coloring

Add 10 drops of food coloring to each bag. Add one egg and seal bag. Move egg around in bag until completely covered in color. Let egg dry in bag, or have adult remove egg to dry.

Good for toddlers and young kids. Almost zero mess.

Tip: Can be jazzed up by adding stickers to eggs before putting in the rice to add shapes, or layering colors. Also try writing initials or names in a white crayon before dying for a personalized touch. No spills and a great sensory activity.

Cool Whip & Shaving Cream
Shaving cream or Cool Whip
Food coloring
Chopstick or wooden dowel
Baking sheet/pan or muffin tin
Paper towels

Layer bottom of desired pan with cream of choice. Scatter drops of food coloring on the cream. Using the stick, swirl the food coloring around in a marbling fashion. Drop egg in the cream and roll around making sure to cover the entire egg. Once egg is covered in cream, scoop up the egg and cream and lay on a paper towel to dry for at least 10 minutes. After drying, wipe off excess cream and rinse before peeling.

Good for all ages! Younger kids would be better off using the Cool Whip option to avoid anything nontoxic being ingested.

Tip: Muffin tins would work best for multiple children to be able to have their own space to decorate as they like. Messiness factor is medium, but food coloring comes off hands easily with the shaving cream as it is soap based. Dipping eggs in white vinegar before rolling in the cream will result in more vibrant colors.

Tie Dye
Paper towels
Rubber bands
Food coloring
Spray bottle with water
Rubber gloves

Wrap paper towel around egg and secure with a rubber band. Drop food coloring directly onto paper towel on egg leaving a little space between drops. Once all dye has been added, spray egg saturating the paper towel. Hold egg over sink and squeeze gently releasing any extra water and making sure paper towel is snug against egg. Let dry and remove rubber band and paper towel.

Good for ages 6 and up.

Tip: Slightly messy and requires a little bit more control to avoid spilling the non-diluted dye. Would recommend rubber gloves for this one!

Galaxy Eggs
Nail polish, 3-4 colors. I used black, purple, pink and grey
Silver glitter
Plastic disposable cups
Lukewarm water
Paper towels
Rubber gloves

Fill cups ¾ full of lukewarm water. Pour nail polish in layers on top of water. Dunk egg into water holding with two fingers on ends. Lay on paper towel and sprinkle with glitter. Dry.

Good for older kids, 10-plus

Tip: Wear the gloves. This one is very messy. Nail polish works best when the black is layered in the water first so the lighter colors kind of peek through, giving it the space look. As you’re using a toxic material in the nail polish, I wouldn’t recommend eating these eggs after decorating, so the hollowed eggs might be your best bet. Make sure your water isn’t too cold, or your nail polish will clump up and not float and attach to the egg.

I wish you many plates of deviled eggs and egg salad sandwiches next week! Happy dye-ing and have an egg-sellent Easter!

Jenny Byrnes can be reached at [email protected]