Pysanky Techniques

Each of these techniques gives your eggs a different look. This site is not meant to be a comprehensive "how to", but a simple overview. Some of the methods are traditional to certain areas of the world, and they vary in their degree of difficulty and equipment needed. All of these are real eggshells decorated with dye and/or wax-- I don't work with paint, beads or other embellishments. (Yet.)

Pysanky, Batik or Wax Resist

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Melted wax is applied to an egg with a kistka (stylus), then the egg is placed into a colored dye bath. This process can be repeated many times. When the wax is removed, the colors underneath are revealed. This technique predates Christianity and is probably the one seen most often when one imagines a "Ukrainian Easter Egg." This is my personal favorite technique, and the one I am most practiced in. See the steps: first wax on, final wax, wax removed.
Drop-Pull Eggs
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These eggs are also made with melted wax and dye, but use a pin stylus instead of a kistka. (This is simply a straight pin stuck into the end of a pencil eraser.) Tiny drops of melted beeswax are scooped up by heating the pin over the flame of a candle. You can recognize this technique by the dots and teardrop shapes that make up the designs. This is how my Grandma Jule taught me to decorate eggs.
photo coming soon Trypillian Eggs
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The Trypillian people lived in the Ukraine 6,000 years ago. These eggs are characterized by the large motifs in earth tones. While these designs might not seem as difficult as traditional pysanky, there is a certain knack to covering large areas completely that can elude beginners (and experts, too).
Colored wax or stained glass eggs
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Stained glass eggs are made by drawing lines with black wax and filling in the open areas with a brush dipped in dye or paint. Or, colored wax can be used to draw designs directly onto the egg. Different colors of wax must be kept liquid. In both cases, the wax remains on the egg as part of the finished design. These eggs may not be as hardy and long-lasting as those that have the wax removed, especially in warmer climates.
Etched Eggs
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By applying wax to a shell, (by kistka or pin stylus) then soaking the egg in vinegar (or other acidic solution), the unwaxed portions are slightly eaten away, leading to a relief design. Designs can be drawn on naturally colored or dyed eggs. [shown is a brown chicken egg] Emu eggs have a thick, forest green shell which becomes aqua, then white on its inner layers, making them perfect for etching.
Scratched Eggs
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After dying or painting the egg, the color is scratched off with a sharp tool to reveal the white egg underneath. [The egg pictured is from the artist's collection. It was purchased in Prague.]
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