How do you decorate eggs for Easter?

Question: What is your inspiration for Easter egg decorating?

Answer: The egg is a blank canvas. The possibilities are endless. But there is a style and method of egg decorating that has caught my eye.

I am talking about Pysansky.

Once only made at Easter, Ukrainian Easter Eggs, or pysanky, are now made year ’round by people of varying skill levels all over the world – and they all love it! It can be very addictive!

The above photo shows you what beautiful patterns the pysanky eggs are decorated with. Traditional Pysansky designs can be made of geometric, symbolic, fruits, flowers, man made objects, animals, and the sun and moon designs.

The Pysansky is a talisman of good luck and protection from evil spirits. The egg should be fertilized or the home would not be fertile. The egg should be very smooth and white, which may come from some of the first eggs of a young hen.

The Pysansky method is dying the eggs with natural dyes and bees wax resist to protect parts of the egg from the darker colors. The wax is applied with a kystka stylus which has a little metal funnel that is heated in a candle. The tip of the funnel is open, and the wax is drawn on the surface of the egg.

Pysanky were made using a wax resist (batik) method. Beeswax was heated in a small bowl on the stove (піч), and then scooped into the stylus as needed. The molten wax was applied to the white egg with a writing motion; any bit of shell covered with wax would be sealed, and remain white. Then the egg was dyed yellow, and more wax applied, and then orange, red, purple, black. (The dye sequence was always light to dark). Bits of shell covered with wax remained that color. After the final color, usually red, brown or black, the wax was removed by heating the egg in the stove and gently wiping off the melted wax, or by briefly dipping the egg into boiling water.

The egg is dipped in dye for a time. Then the egg has more wax added to protect portions of that lighter color, and the egg is dipped into a darker dye. This is done in several darker and darker dyes. At the finish, the egg is held close to a candle to melt the wax, and the melted wax is blotted off. The result is some very clean and bright colors and bright white.

I like to try many of the how to’s I post here to HowTutorial. I want to experience for myself as many of these great methods from around the world that I can. By doing them myself, I want to make them my own. I invite you to, to do the same. This is part of the fun of the DIY adventure. And hopefully, by passing along my impressions from actually doing this stuff, I can make HowTutorial more interesting to you, my welcome guests.

I don’t much like candles, having once had a house fire. And I don’t have the proper tools to duplicate the Pysanky method. There are electric kystka stylus for applying wax without a candle. But they are expensive and would take us past Easter before they could get here. So I decided to improvise.

What I ended up with is a far cry from what we see at the top. I thought I would try a wax melting pot, and use a toothpick to draw my lines. But the $1 egg dying kit I bought had a clear wax crayon. I went with that. The following is the result of my first and second try. I did get a melting pot, so I may yet try that someday. Also, the dye kit had me put vinegar in with the water to get more vibrant colors. But the colors are not as uniform as I would like. If you wipe the egg off before it dries you get the lighter color seen in the left egg. I used one of the simple patterns from the learnpysanky website.

Let me know what you think. They are pretty, but not anything as amazing as what inspired me.

Watch this video to see the whole process in action by an expert:

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