How to Decorate Easter Eggs Ukrainian Style!

comments (6) April 16th, 2014     

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JenniferStern Jennifer Stern, contributor
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After I set up, I realized there were a few steps I had to do before I could start dipping those eggs.
Here are my first two finished eggs. Although they dont look like the eggs pictured on the cover of the kit, Im happy. The more you make, the better youll get at it. (Im just warming up!)
This is the cover of the original kit we used to decorate eggs when I was a kid.
After I set up, I realized there were a few steps I had to do before I could start dipping those eggs.

After I set up, I realized there were a few steps I had to do before I could start dipping those eggs.

Photo: Jen Stern
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Many of the traditional designs are drawn in segments that repeat around the egg to create an overall design. If you want to give it a try, draw guidelines around your egg. First, draw a line around the center (tip to tip) or around the middle (like a belt). Decide how many segments you want to work with, and draw lines circling the egg on the diagonal. 

You can also draw little shapes like flowers or stripes instead.

Draw guide lines for your design   Don't worry about the pencil lines; you won't see them after the first couple of dips into the dye.

Next, draw on the pencil lines with melted wax using the writing tool. Light a candle to heat the writing tool. (I use the leftover tapers from my advent wreath.) If you don't have a stable candle holder, use a big piece of aluminum foil and mold it around the bottom end of the candle.

  • Heat the metal cone attached to the end of the writing tool.
  • Scoop some beeswax* into the open end of the cone.
  • Reheat the writing tool until the wax is liquid. 
  • Dab the tip on a tissue to get it going.
  • Start writing with the melted wax. 
  • Reheat the writing tool as needed to keep the flow of wax coming and scoop more wax as needed.

*If you don't have a cube of beeswax, you can use the wax from the tip of the candle...it's easy to scoop because it's softened by the flame. (Just be careful not to tip over the candle!)

The end of the writing tool becomes black with use-making the wax black as well. I like the fact that the wax turns black because it makes it easy to see what I'm drawing.

Draw with melted wax   Plan on having a few extra eggs to work with because it takes a few to get into the "groove" of creating a nice smooth line. This is my first attempt...not too smooth.

Oops...I was talking on the phone while I was working on this egg. The conversation got a little "racy" and I squeezed my egg too hard and broke it!

oops   Raw eggs are surprisingly durable, but they can break, so be careful!

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posted in: Ukrainian Egg decorating

Comments (6)

416 writes: I think Ukranian eggs are beautiful. I have colored them before. The wooden eggs were a great icebreaker at one of our family reunions. Everyone took an egg when they came. They colored it with markers and signed it. Just before leaving the site, the eggs were voted on and the winner got a prize, had his/her picture taken with the egg and the whole celebrity thing. Each person took their egg with them or exchanged with someone else. It was a fun time.
Posted: 8:47 pm on April 18th
sewinggal1 writes: Although the traditional way of doing this is fun, if you don't have time for all the preparations, or if you can't afford the tools, but still really want to decorate eggs, you can buy a handful of wooden eggs. Just prime, sand, and paint the base colour the day or event the weekend before. Then all you have to do is pull out some permanent markers, paint markers, or, if you have the skills, fine brushes and paints, to decorate in traditional style. You can also do very modern styles too.

The nice thing about wooden eggs, is that they aren't as likely to get broken, so you have a long lasting hand decorated egg that can be passed down through the generations.

While I have one egg that my grandmother decorated in the traditional way, its not in great shape and may not end up getting passed down, whereas the wooden ones I did with my daughter will be around for much longer.

I think its great to do both if you can, but if life is just too busy, rather than skipping it altogether, you can still do it using alternatives, like we did.
Posted: 5:41 pm on April 10th
mjbains writes: I've been making these eggs - both traditional designs and some of my own - for more than 30 years now. It is a fun thing to do and I'm enjoying teaching people from my church this great art.

The distilled water does not have the minerals that some city water does. Boiling will take out the chlorine, but not the minerals that can sometimes interfere with the egg taking the dye.

I'm sure the kits will tell you, but it is important to note that the dyes are poisonous, so do not use them on boiled eggs you intend to eat.

But you can use Paas or other regular dyes and do simple designs on boiled eggs. Putting names on them can make great place cards for an Easter dinner.

Also, the beeswax is important because it sticks better to the egg than the paraffin in a candle. Lines are likely to flake off if you use the regular candle.

This site

http://www.pysanky.info/PYSANKY/Pysanka_Home.html

has everything you would ever want to know about this fascinating art.


Posted: 7:22 pm on April 4th
diyday writes: I wonder, why distilled water? Less impurities? Would boiling the water beforehand serve the same purpose?
Posted: 8:56 pm on May 9th
designerdiva writes: We hold an "Eggstravaganza" at my church each year, which include egg dying for the little ones, and pysanki egg decorating for the older crowd. I find decorating the eggs very relaxing.
To mimimize the eggs cracking, both while we work on it, and later, we always use organic eggs instead of the regular grocery store eggs. They typically have a thicker shell.
If you want to keep your egg for many years, you will need to rotate it periodically (monthly) until the insides dry up.
Posted: 3:50 pm on April 7th
marie99 writes: i started making these eggs when i was a child and as you haven't done them for many years.......my baba won awards for her eggs and embroidery.........those were the days
Posted: 12:29 am on April 2nd
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