bbb craft sisters by 42

diy project: ukrainian eggs made simple


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!

materials:

  • 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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42 Comments

Ashley at Hither and Thither

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!

BobbinTalk

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!

Hilaire

I want to try this for Easter this year! So neat! I just use to buy the plastic ones and stuff them with candy.

Kellie

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

Yours are beautiful though!

Joana

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!

annemarie

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!

Stella

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. :)

Kristina

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!

Kayt

How cool! We always used a crayon growing up. I love that stylus, I think I need one!

Doris Beers

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

bbbcraft

hi karen!

you can find supplies at surma, the ukrainian shop (their dyes are beautiful!):

http://www.surmastore.com/

but i would also check your local craft store, as they might supply the tools as well.

good luck and have fun!

–bbbcraft sisters

Nicole

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.

kinleigh

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!

Sarah Fox

I JUST learned how to do this and posted my attempt on my blog. I love your simple idea of monograming. Going to try it. Thanks

Stefanie

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!

The Art of Doing Stuff

These are beautiful. I actually really like them with the eggs just plain white and the beeswax on them! They looked great. M-O-D-E-R-N.
I don’t like linking to my own posts AT ALL, but if you spill the dye this WILL work to get it out. Promise.

http://wp.me/pPpVJ-pK

Caroline

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

MayDae

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!

holly

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….

Cathy

Wow … look, look … our family was making Ukranian eggs at Eastertime for twenty years too … just like you. And you are right, they are time consuming, but we love to pull them out and touch them every year. Here is a picture of our collection and a couple of little tips for new Ukranian egg makers. We love your fun new modern take on this great tradition. http://www.cathyhecknurseryart.com/blog/2009/04/ukrainian-eggs-sort-of/

Ellie

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.

Wendi

I love these! I’m going to an egg decorating party this weekend. Thanks for the ideas!

Lisa

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

Oksana

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

Wendy

Nicely done! This method is standard around our house this time of year. I would suggest, though, that instead of melting the wax at the flame of a candle (I always end up with some charring) that you put the egg in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes (on a disposable tin pan) instead. I’ve got some pictures of the process here if you’re interested… http://wisdomofthemoon.blogspot.com/2009/04/ukrainian-egg-dying.html

vee

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!

Mandy

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

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