The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

Arts & Culture -

Easter and Sham El-Naseem: Egg Art and All the Know-Hows

arts cairo Easter Egg Colouring egypt Iftar Ramadan Sham Al-Naseem Sham El Nassim Suhoor
Easter and Sham El-Naseem: Egg Art and All the Know-Hows
written by
Nada Medhat

Painting on boiled eggs for Easter and/or Sham Al-Naseem isn’t just fun for kids! If you have a young sibling or a child of your own, you’ll walk away from this article with some great tips that will make you their favourite adult. It’s a fun activity for everyone, and traditional, of both Easter worldwide and of Sham A-Naseem to Egypt. It’s an amusing collective activity that you can share with friends or family. It’s artistic too, and who doesn’t like to show off a little by a few painting tricks on their boiled eggs?

There are, however, many painting methods that you can use depending on the result you want! 


There are two possible ways to go here: the first is through using traditional store-bought food colouring. In one container, mix one tablespoon of vinegar – you can replace it with lemon juice if you don’t have vinegar- with 20-25 drops of the food colouring in a bowl of hot water. In this case, you’ll submerge the egg in the bowl entirely, and it’ll come out beautifully coloured. For a darker shade of colour, soak the egg for a longer period of time! 

The other method is by using natural dye colours made out of organic ingredients at home. It’s considered a more eco-friendly way to dye eggs and relies entirely on things that might be easily found in your kitchen. It is also less toxic for your children. For different colours, use different food: black coffee for dark brown colour, onion skins for an orange colour, cabbage for greens and blues, and beets for pink! For better results, boil the eggs together with the ingredients, and they’ll absorb the colour intensely.

Either of the dyeing options is edible, offering no risk at all to the hard-boiled eggs. Dyeing is the traditional way, as well as the easier one to colour a large number of eggs.


You start here by putting one tablespoon of vinegar (or, again, lemon juice; the key is to add acidity) in a bowl of water, and dip the egg in before you start. Then, with a brush and your chosen watercolours, you can paint the egg with all the creativity you want. Careful with the percentage of water to colours though! An egg isn’t a canvas; what fits on a canvas could be too runny for an egg. Painting with watercolours is a good option too, since it gives you more artistic freedom with the brush and different colours.


Especially with the non-toxic ones! You start by the vinegar trick, then grab a bunch of your sharpies and paint as complex or as simple as you want. Sharpies are more intense than dye and watercolour, but they are good for specific and distinct shapes. Like watercolours, painting with sharpies gives you artistic freedom. But, here it’s easier to control if you’re not used to painting or handling the brush, and kids love them!