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diy project: ukrainian eggs made simple

by Grace Bonney

every easter while we were growing up, we made ukrainian eggs with the help of our mom. we love how beautiful the traditional eggs are, whose patterns are intricate and geometric, but they are truly time consuming! we wanted to use the same great method—drawing over the egg using a kistka, or stylus, filled with hot beeswax—to make a simpler version. here we used the traditional technique to create graphic designs and monogram initials to use as decoration for a spring party or as place settings and favors. twenty years ago, our mom got the supplies from surma’s ukrainian shop in new york, and today we are using the same resource, though many of these supplies can be found at craft stores. –the bbb craft sisters

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


  • beeswax chunk
  • 1 kistka (stylus)
  • candle
  • eggs
  • egg blower
  • egg dyes
  • paper towels
  • egg dipper
  • assortment of glass jars for mixing dye
  • setting powder or vinegar
  • rubber gloves (optional—for keeping hands from staining)

how to:

1. blow out eggs using an egg blower (you can also poke holes in either side of the egg and blow out with your mouth, but this takes much longer!). set in egg carton to drain and dry. it’s best to do this step days ahead of time so that your eggs will dry out. the egg white removes the dye, so you want to make sure they are entirely dry before dying.

2. mix dyes according to directions. we used Surma’s dyes with setting powder because we love the rich colors, and the colors can be layered.

3. plan pattern and colors. whatever you cover with wax will stay the color underneath it. we made many of these simple, using the natural white of the egg and one color. you can dye the egg first in the lightest color you’re going to use, decorate with wax, then dye again in a darker color.

4. light candle. heat kistka in the flame, fill kistka with beeswax and cover hole(s) that you made in the egg to blow it out with a small dot of beeswax. this prevents the dye from getting inside of the egg when you dip it.

5. now you can use the kistka as a drawing utensil on the egg to create any pattern or design you like. you will have to continually reheat kistka and refill with beeswax.

6. once you have created a design on the base color (in our case, white), dip egg in the next color you desire, starting with the lightest color. we only dipped these in one color to simplify the process, but we could have dipped it in pink first, drawn more lines that would come out pink, and dipped it in black for a finishing color.

7. when you have the desired design and color you like, slowly wave the surface of the egg by the flame until the beeswax becomes shiny and melted. wipe off with a paper towel. repeat this process over the whole egg until it reveals the color underneath the wax, and continue until there is no more wax on your egg.

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  • Wow–this is incredible. I tend to get excited about dying eggs and then leave it until the last moment (and thus end up at the drugstore); it’s still fun, but I’m definitely going to plan ahead to try this sometime! Thank you!

    • I have just completed a small class on Ukrainian Pysanky Egg Dying. This way is much simpler.
      One of the suggestions they offered us was to use High Gloss Polyurathan liquid on our egg when we were finished. That gives the eggs a great shine and keeps them from losing their color. Happy Coloring.

  • I used to decorate eggs with wax with my mom back home in Bulgaria. It was my favorite thing to do, but I could never bring myself to break them and eat them afterwords. They were always so pretty and precious to me!
    Great project!
    Thanks for posting!

  • I have seen this sort of simplified for children by using crayons as the wax base.

    Yours are beautiful though!

  • This looks great! I am originally from Lithuania, and we decorate eggs with wax too, but I use pencil with metal pin attached to one end. Designs are more simple, it’s dots and strokes instead. I’ve tried stylus one year, but couldn’t make it work. Surma makes really good dyes.

    Thanks for posting this!

  • I did this for a grade 10 art project and spilled the blue dye all over my mom’s gorgeous unfinished wood kitchen cabinet – just a quick public service announcement to anyone trying it: THE DYE STAINS LIKE CRAZY. BE CAREFUL.

    p.s. these are gorgeous!

  • These are simply delightful! It’s been ages since I’ve decorated eggs… I think this is the year to pick it up again! Thanks for sharing. :)

    • Wouldn’t wooden eggs be more permanent and permits mny different mediums? It seems real eggs would be so delicate and after all the time and effort of the Ukranian style of painting, a broken favorite would mean a broken heart. (To me.) I hear the eastern Europeans are going wooden. I know the fragility os part of the charm but still…. Linda

  • I remember we learned that blowing the yolk out of the eggs in elementary school and my face was sore for days.

    Never again! I like the egg blower idea!

  • A childhood friend taught me to do these — she used onion skin and other natural dyes for really beautiful results.

  • When I was a kid, my dad made us each a stylus from a bit of dowel, and a little scrap of copper bent into a sort of doubled-over triangle and attached with wire. I wish I could remember more details…it worked beautifully and I was so impressed with his mad maker skillz.

  • I LOVE making Ukrainian eggs. However, I would recommend blowing out the eggs after you dye them otherwise they will float on top of the dye instead of being submerged in it. I know this means there is a chance you could break a decorated egg, but it makes the dying process much easier!

  • THANK YOU so much for highlighting this wonderful art! I have been doing them for 2 years now with my Oma and we have a wonderful time doing them. I showed my Pathfinders how to do them this year and we are teaching others in our community to do it on Thursday.

    I agree with what Kinleigh said though – either blow them out after you finish and varnish them (the yolk can make the dye run) OR fill them with a teaspoon of sand before sealing it.

    Also, http://www.ukrainianbookstore.com has all the supplies someone would need, and wonderful tutorials and advice for more complicated eggs also!

  • I haven’t done this since I was a kid…but I loved doing it then and would love to get back into it and do them this year. A trick that we used was rubber bands around the eggs for perfectly straight lines in a geometric design. One thing that we (my mom, sisters and I) could never get the hang of was blowing eggs. So we just used hardboiled ones. Which works just fine…except when you broke one that had been around for a few years….ewww

  • My six-year-old son got really excited when he saw me reading this – I LOVE to dye Easter eggs, and can’t wait to try these this year!

  • Love these and will use it as a source of inspiration to design our Easter eggs this season….However, I might modify it a bit for 6 year olds :-) Thanks for all the tips- especially the public service announcement from annmarie….

  • Thank you so much for this. I have been trying to drum up excitement for egg-dying among my group of girlfriends, and was horrified to discover that their opinions of this endevour fell in the “ambivalent” to “Meh” range. It feels good to know that there are others out there who look forward to this pasttime as much as I do.

  • I have also been doing this type of eggs…both traditional Ukranian and non-traditional since I learned it from a secretary in jr. high! I always buy my supplies from a place in Minneapolis called the Ukrainian Gift Shop. They have all the supplies, as well as lots of great tips, books and a history of the craft as well as the meaning of the Ukrainian symbolism on their website: http://www.ukrainiangiftshop.com

  • It’s so great – being a Ukrainian, living in Ukraine and reading about my traditions in an American blog – WOW :))) Thank you very much!!

  • yay! i’m going to attempt something similar to this tonight
    we don’t have any of that fancy stuff. we’ll see how PAAS does LOL!

  • you could also use frisket instead of beeswax- much easier and lots of control with a small brush.

  • When I took a class on this in college, we used raw eggs. The wax seals the shell and the eggs eventually dry out inside without smelling. It works, I swear! No egg blowing or hard boiling necessary!

  • I make pysanki from a tree. I buy wooden preparations in Zakarpattya, Ukraine (the ancient place of production of Easter eggs in Ukraine) and paint them. This is a long, but very exciting activity. Unfortunately, it is not possible to do a lot of pysanky for business. This is more of a hobby). A small amount exhibited at ETSI for viewing. You can view).


  • I love that yellow egg blower. Where did you get yours? I can’t seem to find one online anywhere. Thank you.