The First Steps in Creating Pysanky Easter Eggs

We are all familiar with the Easter eggs that we’ve been making since we were about three years old:  hard boiled, pastel, sort of monochromatic, maybe decorated with stickers or experiments in mixing colors.  But we’ve been making them for years after years after years.  This Easter season, make the type of Easter egg that you really want: create beautiful Easter European style Easter eggs that are covered with intricate designs.  You can bring these eggs out year after year, and be truly proud of your Easter decor.

Here are the first few steps that you need to follow to create a gorgeous pysanky (Easter European) Easter egg.

Preparations for making pysanky Easter eggs

1.  The first thing that you need to do is to make your dyes.  Remember that you need pysanky dyes rather than just your regular food coloring.  You can purchase dyes online.  Follow the instructions written on the dye packets.  Some dyes require that you add vinegar, but some dyes (like orange and pink) are ruined by the addition of vinegar.  Once you have finished making your dyes, you need to let them cool down to room temperature.  While the dyes are cooling, take your eggs out of the refrigerator and put them on the counter.  Let them warm up to room temperature naturally (do not warm them by putting them in warm water).

2.  The next thing that you need to do is to prepare your work area.  Cover your work area with newspapers.  Set up your dyes in jars in your work area.  Then make a cushion of tissue paper that you can put your eggs on.

3.   Your final preparatory step for making pysanky Easter eggs is to clean your eggs.  Dilute some white vinegar with water.  Then carefully dip a tissue into the solution, and dab the egg with the tissue.  Alternatively, you can dip the egg in a shallow bowl of the solution.  Do not rub the egg with the mixture.

Creating your pysanky egg

Now that you have prepared, you can move on to the actual creation!

1.  Very lightly draw the basic design on the egg, using a light pencil.  If you need help drawing straight lines, then use a thick rubber band that you place around the egg.  Do not ever erase the lines; simply draw the correct lines.

2.  Next, heat up the head of the stylus (technically a kistka) in the candle flame for only 20 to 3 seconds.  Then scoop up a small amount of beeswax into the funnel of the stylus.  Then reheat the funnel in the flame until all of the beeswax is melted.  Don’t let it catch fire!

3.  Now, test the wax flow on the newspaper.  You will want to ensure that if any wax blobs come out of the funnel, it is not on the egg.  Remember that you cannot remove the wax from the egg.  If you do end up with blobs in your design, don’t worry about it; you can incorporate the blobs into your design.

4.  Now, use the stylus to apply wax to the egg on every new line in whatever design step you are on.  Don’t forget to apply wax to both sides of the egg!  You should have a fine point stylus and a thick line stylus on hand.  Before you dye the egg in that step’s color, double check to make sure that all of the lines have been covered with wax.

5.  Now, dip the egg in the dye stated by that step.  Leave the egg in the dye for about 15 minutes, or until you achieve the intensity of color that you want.  Then use a spoon to remove the egg form the dye; dab the egg dry with the tissues.  Remember that the sequence of color goes from light to dark.

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