Ukrainian Easter Eggs

Ukrainian Easter Eggs

Even if you are not Ukrainian, the beauty of these unique Easter eggs will bring a distinct flare to your Easter decorations. Also known as pysanky, which means "to write," ready-made Ukrainian Easter eggs can be found in many stores. But why pay for it when you can make it yourself? This is a great decoration for any home and a fun craft for older children as well as adults but it does require patience as well as a (fairly) steady hand.

For this project, you will need:

  • Raw eggs at room temperature
  • A pencil
  • Ukrainian egg dyes (these are different from regular egg dyes)
  • Rubber bands
  • Kistka (a copper stylus
  • Spoons
  • Beeswax
  • Tissues or a clean rag
  • A candle
  • White vinegar
  • Gloss varnish, shellac or polyurethane spray
  • Newspapers
  • Egg drying rack

Some materials, like the egg dyes and the kistka, will need to be bought at a specialty shop. Also, when you are selecting your eggs, make sure you thoroughly inspect them first. Tiny cracks and bumps can show through after the dying process and alter your design.

A drying rack can easily be made by hammering some finishing nails into a piece of wood. Or construct one by pushing tacks into a piece of cardboard.

Egg Instructions
1. Lay down newspaper over entire work surface.

2. Clean eggs by dabbing them with vinegar and then dabbing them dry. Do not wipe.

3. Using a pencil, gently and lightly draw your design. Most designs cover the entire egg. Use a rubber band to help you draw straight lines. As long as you draw lightly, the pencil design will not show through the dye, so don’t worry about mistakes.

4. Heat the kistka over the candle flame for about 30 seconds. When it is hot, put a little bit of beeswax into the funnel and then place the kistka head back into the flame until the wax has melted.

5. Once the beeswax is melted, transfer the wax onto your egg by tracing over your design. The egg dye will not color any part of your egg that has wax on it.

6. Place your egg into the lightest color dye that you are using. Leave it in the dye for about 15 minutes or until the egg reaches the color you want.

7. Retrieve your egg with a spoon and carefully dab (do not wipe!) it dry with a tissue or clean rag.

8. Repeat the waxing process but only apply the wax to those areas of the egg which you would like to keep the color you just dyed it. So, if you started off with orange dye, then only apply the wax to those areas that you would like to stay orange.

9. Dip your egg into the next dye. Keep repeating the process of waxing and dying, working from the lightest to darkest dyes, until you reach your final color.

10. Once you have finished dying your egg, let it dry for a few minutes before you remove all the wax that has built up. Your egg may look somewhat dark and unattractive at this point. Don’t worry, this will soon change.

11. If you plan to blow out your egg, it may be a good idea to do this before you remove the wax. The wax can help protect the dye from the egg’s acidity.

12. To remove the wax, hold your egg beside, not above or in, the candle flame. Wipe off the wax with a tissue or rag when the wax appears wet. Alternatively, you can also use a hairdryer to melt the wax.

13. Finish your egg off by applying a thin coat of shellac or varnish. The more coats you use, the shinier your egg will be. But make sure your shellac or varnish dries completely between coats. Leave your egg to dry on a drying rack.

Tips If you decided not to blow out your egg, be aware that gas can build up inside of the egg as it dries out. This gas can cause your egg to burst. In order to avoid this, display and store your eggs in a well-ventilated area. Also, don’t store your eggs in Styrofoam. This material does not allow the eggs to breathe, therefore they won’t dry out properly. Whether they are on display or packed away somewhere, it is also a good idea to flip your eggs around (top to bottom) every few months.

If you do have your eggs on display, do not let children play with them. These eggs are not toys. Even adults may be tempted to pick the egg up and shake it in order to hear the egg inside. Before anyone goes to handle your egg, remind them that it is fragile and should be handled delicately.