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
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
wax on, final
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
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).
wax or stained glass eggs
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.
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.
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.]