The Idea of Coloring Easter Eggs With ‘Shake-an-Egg’ Was Always Cooler Than the Messy Reality

image from a 1981 commercial for the Shake-an-Egg Easter egg dye coloring kit. A mother is seated at a table in between her daughter, on the viewer's left, and son, on the right. They have the Shake-an-Egg kit open and spread out on the table, and they are placing eggs in bags filled with coloring crystals to shake them.
An early '80s mom and her kids in the process of ruining their nice table with Shake-an-Egg Easter egg coloring crystals

When I was a kid coloring Easter eggs with my family in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s, the egg dye kit I most often remember using was from PAAS.

As you can see in the videos below, the PAAS process involved dropping a colored tablet into a cup of water, and then dipping your egg into whatever color you wanted (or dipping different parts of the egg in a couple of different cups, if you wanted to make the egg multi-colored).

I think the PAAS kits are still around, but I’m not sure whether Shake-an-Egg — a rival egg-coloring kit that we also occasionally used back in the day — still exists. (I’ve seen vintage Shake-an-Egg kits for sale on eBay.)

I mostly remember trying Shake-an-Egg because one of my friends at school had used it and it seemed cool. Plus, my family had used Shake ‘n Bake Chicken on occasion, so why not also incorporate that innovative bag-shaking technology into our Easter egg coloring?

picture from eBay of a 1977 box of Shake-an-Egg Easter egg coloring kit.


It seemed simple enough. Put some colored crystals into a plastic bag along with your wetted egg, shake it around a bit and voila! A beautifully colored Easter egg.

Unfortunately, I could never get it to work quite as well as it looked in the commercials that featured mascot Dudley Rabbit and some happy families shaking their way to impeccable Easter table settings with bowls of brightly hued eggs, and eggs in paper holders featuring Dudley, Klara Klucker (a chicken) and other characters from the Shake-an-Egg Extended Universe.

image from a 1981 commercial for Shake-an-Egg Easter egg coloring kit. On a table is a bowl of colored eggs. Next to it is a paper stand with Dudley Rabbit, the Shake-an-Egg mascot, looking over more colored eggs that are placed in the paper stand. In front of that, more eggs are being held by paper cutouts of Dudley and other characters.

After being shaken around, my eggs tended to come out with colored grit all over them and not fully dyed. I’m sure most of it was a problem on my end. I’m not the most artistic fella, and even using the PAAS kits, I tended to spill dye on the table.

I also wasn’t the most patient person with things like coloring Easter eggs, or carving Halloween pumpkins, both of which sounded a lot more fun in theory than they ended up being in practice.

The company behind Shake-an-Egg also came out with other cool-sounding ideas that I never tried, like Swirl-an-Egg, Spin-an-Egg, and even something involving colored cubes.

image from a 1981 commercial for the Shake-an-Egg Easter egg coloring kit. The product's mascot, Dudley Rabbit, is holding an Easter basket in his left hand as he faces the viewer.

They also had an array of ancillary material, like hand puppets and stuffed versions of the Shake-an-Egg mascot characters. I guess when your products primarily exist to suit a need some people have for a week or two at the most each spring, you have to get creative in how you market it.

It was all pretty messy, but fun. Here’s a look at some commercials that show the glorious promise of Shake-an-Egg fulfilled in a way that I never could:

The commercial below is from the early 2000s, and I’m not sure if it is from the original Dudley’s company that made Shake-an-Egg, or if they are just using the name. But this wild concept of an Egg Blast sounds like something that easily could have come from the minds of those mad geniuses behind Shake-an-Egg and its offshoots.

And here’s a fun supercut of old-school commercials for not only PAAS and Shake-an-Egg, but also for some lesser-known egg-coloring gimmicks from back in the day, including “glitter eggs”!