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sewing 101: embroidered eggs

by Brett


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!

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