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.
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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While I was waiting for the red dye to take, I snapped a couple of pictures of the girls. They came home from school and wanted to get into the action.

Abby getting into the act   Abby loved helping me dip the eggs.

Anna didn't want any of her design to be white, so she dipped it in pink before she started working with the wax. You can pick any of the light colors and start with that (instead of white).

...and Anna   Anna patiently worked on her design.

After making my red flowers, I wanted to add green leaves, so I dipped my red egg into the green dye. After 7 to 8 minutes, the transformation was complete.

draw on green for green details   If I had left my red egg in the green dye for a longer period of time (15 minutes or so), the egg would be a more vivid green color.

When you have run out of colors, the last step is to melt the wax off. Heat the surface of the egg with the flame of your candle and gently rub off the wax. Keep melting and rubbing until the colors are nice and crisp and there is a shiny clear "varnish" covering the egg. 

I was planning to photograph eggs that I had made when I was a teenager. I remember seeing them displayed in a glass dish last Easter. When I asked my mom for them, she informed me that they finally cracked and she had to throw them out. They lasted for more than 20 years before they broke. I guess it's time for a new collection.

Melt the wax off, rub gently with a tissue to polish   As the black wax melts away, the vivid colors of your design are revealed. It's surprising to see how they came out.
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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

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 baba won awards for her eggs and embroidery.........those were the days
Posted: 12:29 am on April 2nd
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