sewing 101: embroidered eggs


Some people may get spring fever, but around this time of year, I get egg fever. Egg decorating is, without a doubt, my all-time favorite holiday-crafting activity. When I came across an image recently of eggs made by Ukrainian folk artist Forostyuk Inna that were embroidered (yes, really embroidered!), my mind was officially blown. A way to combine egg decorating and sewing? Sign me up!

My research didn’t uncover much in the way of a how-to for this technique, so after much obsessing, I decided to give it a try on my own. To my surprise, sewing on eggs isn’t really difficult at all, once you get the hang of it! I know you don’t believe me, and this project truly does seem to defy the laws of physics. But just read on to learn the secret of sewing on eggs. — Brett Bara

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

Materials

  • raw eggs (I recommend using good-quality eggs, farm-raised if possible — they have much thicker shells than factory eggs.)
  • Dremel or other rotary tool with a diamond cutting disc and mini drill bit
  • embroidery floss
  • long, thin needles
  • small, sharp scissors
  • craft glue

Instructions

In the steps that follow, I’ll show you how to make the egg above, but you can easily adapt these instructions to make just about any type of embroidery design you like.

1. Cut a hole in the egg.

The secret to sewing on eggshells is that you cut a small hole in the back of the egg. Now, I know what you’re thinking: you can’t cut an egg, it will shatter! Not true. Egg shells are actually quite cut-able with the right tools.

The trick is using a Dremel tool with a diamond cutting disc or other disc meant for delicate jobs. Hold the tool perpendicular to the egg as shown, and cut a round sliver from the edge of the egg. (The contents of the egg will splatter a bit, so do this over a sink.) I promise that with just a little practice, this will seem easy, and you’ll have nice, smooth cuts. Just give yourself a little time (and it doesn’t hurt to have some extra eggs on hand).

Note: The contents of the egg should not be eaten after cutting the egg with tools. If you want to save the egg contents, you can blow out the egg before this step, but this will result in extra holes in your shell.

Wash out the inside of the egg with a little dish soap and warm water and allow to dry. The image above shows how it will look when this step is done. (This hole is a bit large for demonstration purposes; you can cut smaller holes, which make for a nicer finished presentation.)

2. Mark the egg.

Using a pencil, draw some guide lines for the pattern you plan to make on your egg. You can draw simple lines to help keep your pattern straight, or you can sketch your complete design right on the egg. (The pencil lines will be removed later.)

Next, place a mini drill bit in your Dremel tool. (Oddly, the bits I have are not labeled with sizes, so I can’t recommend what size to get. Just look for tiny bits that are slightly larger than an embroidery needle.)

Begin to drill holes in each spot where your needle will be inserted. This is really the only tricky part of this whole project because the smooth surface of the egg makes it a little difficult to drill precisely, as the drill bit wants to slide around on the surface of the egg. But again, just practice until you get comfortable, and your results will improve. Otherwise, the drilling is easy. And believe it or not, the egg stands up to it very well. I didn’t have any cracking or breaking while I was drilling!

Once you’re all drilled, wipe the surface of the egg with white vinegar and a paper towel, and the pencil marks will come right off.

3. Embroider the egg.

Load your needle with 2 or 3 strands of embroidery floss, and knot the end of the floss. Then simply start sewing on the egg by bringing the needle up and down through the pre-drilled holes.

When you finish a color, leave the end of the embroidery floss hanging (it will be finished off later).

When your image is complete, all that’s left is to secure the ends of the embroidery floss. Unless you’re a surgeon, it would be very difficult to knot the ends of the thread inside the egg. So instead, secure each thread with a drop of glue on the inside of the shell. When the glue is dry, trim the end of the thread.

And you’re done! The possibilities are really endless with this technique — try dyeing your eggs before embroidering them, embroidering names or monograms or using other stitches. Have fun and happy spring!

Summer

My. mind. is. officially. blown.

Those might be the coolest things I’ve ever seen!

a

ahh, i always decorate eggs in some new way but have never thought of embroidery! so pretty.

Nikki McWilliams

My goodness- they are so cool. I especially love the use of power tools in craft- so this is a winner int books. Roll on easter!

www.StarHughes.com

Those are pretty darn incredible!! They seem so challenging – I would never have thought that possible! But they are the perfect Easter decoration. I tried doing something similar (decoupaged Easter eggs, posted on my blog) but I have to say that I am even more in love with the idea of embroidering my Easter eggs! Thanks for such a great idea, and for trying it out yourself!

Viv

WOW! So beautiful, I can hardly wait to try this. Now to figure out what to do with all of the eggs…time to search for quiche recipes.

Debbie Phillips

Just had some chicks hatch. Think I will reuse the egg shells.

Dani

wow..great idea..we have a lot of duck eggs..these would look wonderful as the shells are harder than chicken eggs…..this is a gotta try craft for sure

Sande

love love love these! Is it possible to glue that small piece back onto the egg to cover?

jlee

oh my god, just reading this post was exhausting. looks amazing but i don’t dare try this at home!

Carrie

lol… “I know you don’t believe me… but…” That’s hilarious because I was totally thinking that as I was reading ;) Will have to give it a try someday, those eggs are super cute!

KA

That looks so cool…and difficult! My grandparent’s were Ukrainian, so I grew up making Ukrainian Easter eggs (my mom has some amazing ones made by older family members). Actually, making the real thing seems a bit easier than this, although this is very cool looking.

Beth Lord

I am so glad you had the nerve to give it a go! When I saw the embroidered eggs the other day, I too was blown away and could not figure it out. Thanks for being such a brave soul!

Djen

Whoa. (She says in her best Keanu voice.)

I am so impressed!

Shelley

It’s interesting to see how this is actually done! Thank you for trying it & giving us a glimpse into the ‘magic.’

Stephanie

What a great idea. Seeing the red embroidery floss on the white egg….i thought….how awesome would it be to make a bunch of BASEBALL easter eggs with stitching. Is it too late for this easter??? I don’t think so!!!

pam

Thank you for figuring out how to embroider on eggs and for sharing. Brilliant! Love your designs. Definitely making. Again, thank you!

Qypchak from wiki

I saw how the Ukrainian master did it (see my photo from wikipedia ). She doesn’t drill a larger hole in the back of the egg!!! She embroiders with a special tool-needle :)

Helen

In regard to the comment from Qypchak about the special tool used for embroidering the eggs, have you got a link to show the tool. I couldn’t seem to find it, although, you mentioned in your comment to “see your photo from wikipedia” Thank you.

Danielle

These are so cute. It’s too bad I saw this after Easter, but no matter! There’s always next year. :))

Quincin

I’m sorry, it’s impressive but it’s a waste of food as well…

Rebecca

Did you attempt to glue the back of the egg back on? Seems difficult, however they would look more finished.

susan

Oh My Gosh – what an effort – seems a bit of a waste with all that egg going down the drain . .

Jean Millburg

This is such a cool idea! I wonder if there would be a way to color them, cut them, spray shellac them to preserve them before you embroidered them?

Cincy Shannon

Im sure you could blow out the egg the same way I do to pysanky. No easing of eggs then. I would put the blow out hole on the part that I was going to cut off. Also I don’t see why you couldn’t dye an egg first then drill it and embroider after. I would also varnish the dyed egg before embroidering it.

adrianne

Thanks for the directions. However, if you look at some of the eggs on other sites – from rance, for instance, you can see them on stands where you can see the backs of the eggs, and they are solid backs, no holes, no backs cut off to embroider the front. Now how do they do THAT???

Amy

That is great! I might even go out and buy my own “power tool” to try this! Very impressive!

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