I'm sure you've seen pictures of those beautiful works of art known as Ukrainian Eggs (or perhaps you've been lucky enough to see them in person!). This traditional style of decorating eggs uses beeswax, candles, really really really strong dyes, and other materials that most people don't have on hand.
Those eggs are true works of art, though. I've always admired them. Last Holy Saturday, I decided to try my hand at blowing eggs and decorating them with various materials-- and I never got past the Sharpies.
Sharpies are awesome.
Sharpies are the ultimate quick-and-easy-(relatively-easy-that-is)-egg-decorating-tool-things.
And, for once in my life, I am actually being a good blogger. I did a craft before the date it's themed on. I've got a very bad habit of doing themed art the day of or even the day after holidays/events, and not posting the pictures and tutorials until a week or so later. (Bad habit if I wanted to be a rich and famous blogger. OK habit for a teenager who just loves art and sporadically posts on her blog for the heck of it.)
Last week, I pulled out the Sharpies and did some more experimenting! These turned out much better than last time-- and I really liked the ones I made last year.
The eggs are pictured below in the order that I made them. Right now, though, here's some tips:
- When blowing the eggs, go ahead and make the bottom hole really big. (See below). This will keep you from getting dizzy when blowing it. Also, you might need to use tweezers to pull the membrane out of the hole; it likes to block the opening up and send raw egg up the end of the egg that your mouth is touching! BTW, I'm just using chicken eggs that we get from Costco.
- You don't need a ton of Sharpies (I've spent a lot of money and have nearly 30 in different colors and sizes, but only use 3-4 markers per egg), but be sure you use real Sharpies. You don't want that half-permanent stuff to bleed all over the place.
- Don't use a pencil to draw in your design, use a very pale marker. I use light pink and light green. The pencils will leave gray in your color.
- Use a rubber band to draw straight lines.
- Hold the egg with a kleenex or paper towel. The Sharpie takes awhile to "set," and nervous, focused fingers will get damp and bleed the color. (Ask me how I know...)
- Blend and smear colors! The unique thing about using an egg is that the Sharpies stay liquid for a good 3 seconds. Use your fingers, a Q-tip, or a bit of Kleenex on your fingertip to smear the ink.
- Sharpies pull each other up, even once the ink has dried. It's great for fixing problems, but be sure you do the dark colors last so you don't risk pulling dark brown into that light yellow you're coloring.
- If you want to color in a large area, hold a Sharpie against a kleenex and let the ink bleed. You've got 15 seconds to rub that color in wherever you want. It leaves a pale and solid color and is great for "erasing" large areas of underdrawings.
- If you really need to remove something, use fingernail polish remover on a q-tip (or something equally abrasive). It doesn't totally remove the color, but I had a major och-nee (oh-noes!) on one egg and this let me keep the background mostly white. I think it might weaken the eggshell, though.
- Use thin wire to thread ribbon through the egg. Most needles aren't long enough. (None of that is pictured here).
- Sharpies aren't toxic. I'm pretty sure you can safely use them on hardboiled eggs.
- Be patient. I spent almost two hours per egg. Rushing things won't get you anywhere. Be sure and use lots of layering to get depth.
- HAVE FUN! Because this technique is AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME and I love it and you'll love it and it's awesome. *emphathetic head nod*
Let the pictures commence!
First I did another egg very similar to last year's eggs. I forgot to snag close-up pictures of it, look for it in the bowl of eggs.
Madonna and Child
I was a little tired of boring old swirly designs and wanted to attempt something more religious. Because Easter eggs, after all, celebrate Easter, only the greatest day of the Church year!
I'm quite proud of this one. :) It's still my favorite!
The first egg left me wanting to make more! I winged the first one, but for this egg I looked up some traditional iconography for the Resurrection and tried to incorporate it. This also includes my big artsy obsession, Celtic Knotwork.
You know, art is hard enough on a flat surface. Especially knotwork. Try throwing it on an irregular spherical shape... *head explodes*
It felt a little odd to do a Resurrection drawing during Lent, so I did one of the Crucifixion.
You can still see the underlying light-pink marker underneath the words. When I draw pictures, the underdrawing gets rubbed away, but it evidently doesn't work as well for lettering!
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady's picture is very graphic and perfect for copying onto an egg.
Of note on this egg is the rose. Originally my underdrawing had some heart-shaped design that is typical on Ukrainian eggs, but I didn't like it so I used a tissue to smear tan ink and "erase" it. Then I drew the rose on top with light pink, bright red, and dark brown. It took a lot of smearing.
My family isn't very artistic but three of my siblings joined in the fun. My sister's is pretty obvious, but I bet you'd have a hard time telling about the 4 and 11 year old boy's ones. *rolls eyes* My brothers are math and physics geniuses, not artists.
My 8 year old sister did this one entirely on her own. It's "Mary holding Baby Jesus and the back of the egg is the cross after they took Jesus down and you can still see his blood on the cross and on the ground." She then told me all about how Jesus' blood washes away our sins because He died to save us and all about how sad Mary was when her Son died.
She also told me that she wants to make a special egg to commemorate her First Holy Communion this spring. :)
I made these eggs early so they can be gifts for family and friends on Easter Sunday, but they are so so so much fun to make that I'll be making them through the rest of Lent, and probably during the whole of the Easter season. You'll be seeing a lot more of these around the blog!
I think my family likes the decorated eggs so much because it means that I'll offer to cook breakfasts of omlettes and scrambled eggs!
Did you make Sharpie-ified Easter eggs? I'd love to see them! Please leave a comment with a link to your blog or flickr or whatnot. If lots of people decorate eggs with this technique I might do a special post highlighting all of them. :)