This is fun and I have been trying out lots of techniques. I bought food colouring paste from a local cake decorating shop and then set about finding what I already had in my studio that I could use. As an art teacher, I began thinking about all of the techniques I currently use which could be adapted to decorate eggs. Not as easy as you think due to to the round shape and the delicate surface of the blown egg.
Below are some of the materials I used for my first experiments.
Materials and Equipment
For this first round of experiments I used:
- food colouring paste
- mod podge
- acrylic paint
- leaves and grasses from my garden
- strips of lace material
- nylon stocking
- wax crayons
- masking fluid
- gel pens
- rub on transfer stickers
- polystyrene eggs
- hand punch
Hard Boiled Eggs – Dyed with Lace & Fern Patterns
My first two eggs were hard boiled first. It is difficult to get a perfect hard boiled egg without them cracking.
The egg on the left was wrapped tightly in a piece of lace material, secured with an elastic band then left in the dye for about 30 minutes
The egg on the right had ferns placed on it then wrapped tightly in a cut up nylon stocking and secured with an elastic band. It was popped in the same dye for 30 minutes.
I was fairly pleased with the results but the lace pattern was very subtle and I would have preferred more of a contrast. Perhaps the dye should have been a stronger colour or I should have left the egg in for longer. The fern one does not show the pattern of the fern clearly enough although is attractive as a mottled effect.
I decided to draw onto the lace egg with gel pens and a fine sharpie pen.
Blown Eggs – Painted Masking Fluid Resist
My next experiment was to paint a blown egg with a sponge in shades of aquas and greens so that I had a soft, blended effect but I first painted on some areas using masking fluid which is what water colourists use to mask the paper they wish to remain white whilst doing backgrounds. I used the masking fluid as a resist so that the masked areas would remain the colour of the egg – pale brown.
I used masking fluid for the wavy lines and circles, sponged on acrylic paint and then additional patterns were added using a white gel pen and fine black sharpie. I loved this egg until it rolled off the desk and broke! This was a blown egg and very delicate. Be careful! I painted mod podge over the egg (before it broke) to give it a nice sheen. (Make sure you use a permanent marker and pens or the mod podge will cause the colours to run). It is worth noting at this point that it is difficult to paint an egg due to the round shape so I tried inserting a skewer into the hole but that moved around a lot. I need to fine tune this a bit and maybe wrapping a piece of blue tack at the top of the skewer or a smaller hole would have worked better
Hard Boiled Eggs – Dyed Wax Crayon Resist
Still using the resist method, I had a box of wax crayons that the children use in the studio so I thought that I would try this out on a hard boiled egg.
This technique worked beautifully and is easy enough for a young child to do. You still need to make sure you don’t press down too hard with the crayons or the shell will crack, even on a hard boiled egg. Patterns were applied with yellow, green, pink and orange wax crayons then the egg was dipped in blue dye and left for about 30 minutes. It has come out a green colour but looks terrific. The lighter crayons worked best and should be a completely different colour to the dye you will be dipping the eggs into for the best results. Not safe for eating due to the wax crayons! Note: I have read that you can apply wax crayons onto warm hard-boiled eggs and the wax will react to the heat of the egg causing some interesting results. I will try this out in my next batch of experiments in part II.
Blown Eggs – Scraffito
This next egg is a blown one and I used the technique of scraffito which is a painting technique where the artist scratches into the top layer of the paint to reveal areas of the surface underneath.
I sponged on black acrylic paint and used a scalpel to scratch the patterns. This is not easy and I would rule this one out for children as it took a lot of scratching and patience to make the patterns stand out. I do love the egg though and the work has paid off. I painted on a layer of mod podge for a slight shine.
Blown Eggs – Decoupage Wrapping Paper
These next two techniques involve decoupage which is the art of decorating an object by gluing colored paper cutouts onto a surface in combination with special paint effects. I purchased some inexpensive wrapping paper which had pretty shapes and colours I could cut out.
I prepared the wrapping paper first before I cut it up. I cut out a large square from my roll of paper, scrunched it up then lay it flat to soak for about 15 minutes in a shallow container filled with coffee mixed with water. This stained paper with the colouring and creases creates a vintage effect. I cut the shapes out randomly and my aim was to cover the egg completely. Cutting in curved shapes is more desirable than straight for a more natural blend of the individual shapes.
After gluing all of the pieces onto the egg, I used a paddle pop to press out as many creases as I could so that the papers glued on flat then I applied a layer of mod podge for a shine. I really like the way this egg turned out.
Blown Eggs – Decoupage Stickers
For the next egg I used Australian animals stickers I had in the studio. I cut them out as carefully as I could from their backgrounds and stuck them randomly onto a natural blown egg. I also used the edges of the stickers to create lines on my egg.
I then decided that the egg might look better a different colour to make the stickers stand out a bit more and filled in the background with a sharpie pen. If I were to tackle this one again, I would dye or sponge on the colour first then apply the stickers. I would also have liked to arrange the animals in a row around the centre of the egg. Might have another go at this one but I still like this first attempt with stickers. I have applied a layer of mod podge for a slight shine. In the photo the egg and chick are sitting on the little book of stickers and you can see that the stickers have an edge of orange with yellow dots. I used those parts as well on the egg. Children could easily make these and the stickers can cover up the holes made when you blow out the eggs. The children could use photos of themselves instead of stickers and glue those on!
Hard Boiled Eggs – Rub On Transfer Stickers
The next egg is one of my favourites and it was very much an experiment. I had bought sheets of rub on transfer stickers ages ago and still had them in their wrappers unused. I knew I would find a use for them for one of my craft projects. The ones I used were beautiful hearts and the detail on the designs is incredible. They come on a plastic sheet and a wooden paddle pop stick is enclosed which you use to rub on the stickers to whichever surface you are decorating.
The egg being round was again a challenging surface for the transfer stickers to be attached to. What I did was to cut out the individual shapes from the plastic film with enough of a clear plastic border to hold the design onto the egg. It took a bit of practice and some shapes transferred more easily than others. The smaller shapes were more stubborn! Gripping onto the plastic edge and using the paddle pop stick, I just kept rubbing until the transfer sticker started to come away from the plastic film. I noticed that when the transfer begins to look creased that it has become detached from the plastic film. Then, I carefully peeled the whole shape onto the egg, gently flattening the transfer with my finger as I peeled it off the plastic.
You will have to practice this a few times to get it right! The transfer is incredibly thin and delicate when removed from the plastic but it is shiny and gorgeous when stuck on the egg. I chose a lighter coloured hard boiled egg for this example and unfortunately with these rub ons, you need to apply a lot of pressure that the blown eggs could not handle. This means that this gorgeous egg is only going to be temporary. It has got me thinking about water transfers though which slide off with water so this will be my next experiment.
Polystyrene Egg – Brads
The final eggsperiment (sorry, couldn’t help myself) in Part I is using a polystyrene egg which you can buy from craft stores such as Spotlight and Lincraft. Due to the soft surface, I came up with the idea of pressing things into the polystyrene egg which I had around me in the studio. I only had time to complete one using little brightly coloured flower brads. Brads are little joiners where you can attach ribbons, tags, photos etc to a thin, flat surface by piercing a small hole in the surface and in your object, then bending their little arms back to secure the objects in place. They come in a huge range of shapes, sizes, colours and finishes are every scrapbooker’s best friend.
I found it difficult with the flower shapes to align them all without showing any of the white polystyrene egg. Not that seeing some white is a problem and I could have painted the egg in one of the colours of the brads first before attaching them. Overlapping the brads may help but caused the wall of the egg to be not so even and uniform. Gluing down the brads would be necessary to secure them properly but this would probably be best done after a rough draft of where you will be placing them all.
I think the egg looks really good though and children could easily make these. The possibilities are endless due to the many varieties of brads available and you could also use mapping pins and any other small, flat objects which could be pressed into the soft polystyrene.
These are all of my ideas in Part I and I have not mentioned how these eggs could be enhanced further or displayed. They would look gorgeous all displayed together in a wicker basket on your Easter table but I have more ideas about hanging them singly or in groups with cord, ribbon, beads, jewels etc. More decorating techniques and display ideas will be in Part II.
I hope that you enjoyed this post and these ideas and experiments have inspired you to decorate your own eggs this Easter with your children. If anyone makes them or has any other ideas or advice for the readers of Pixel Occasions we would love to hear from you and see your pictures.