Last week, we had a few friends over to dye eggs, Ukrainian style (also known as Pysanky).
Well, technically we used the Ukrainian method, but didn't at all copy their style. Notice the peace sign on Jaden's egg below.
For those of you who haven't tried this, it's a similar concept to using those measly wax crayons in the kits. But about a million times better. And, you know, kinda dangerous.
To find materials, I'd try looking for actual art supply stores in your area the month before Easter. Michael's and Hobby Lobby don't carry these. If you can't find any locally, try Kalyna Ukranian Egg Supplies online.
Basically, you heat the tool (called a Kistka) over the flame of a candle and use the cup-like part to scoop up the beeswax (either yellow or black, it really doesn't matter). Scoop slowly and if the tool is hot enough, it'll melt like butter. You shouldn't have to force it. Once you have enough melted wax in the cup, you can apply it to the eggshell through the pointed, funnel-like bit.
The plastic Kistkas come in three different sizes. White makes the thinnest line, blue is medium and red is the thickest. They also have the traditional wooden version, but none of us particularly like to use that one.
Whatever color the eggshell is when you apply the wax, it will stay that color. So you'll want to start by applying wax to any areas you want to stay white, then dye it the next lightest color, like yellow. After you've waxed any areas that you want to stay yellow, you go to the next, slightly darker color.
This process works just fine with the stuff that you can get at the grocery store. Though we usually use the dyes specific for Pysanky. You should know, however, that these dyes are not food safe, so you'll want to blow the eggs first if you plan to use them.
I mix them up in wide mouthed mason jars and just reseal them after we're done. We'll use them over and over for several weeks.
They work so well that they can be applied with a q-tip if you don't want to dip the entire egg as it's traditionally done.
The original directions had us hold the egg over the flame of a candle as a final step to melt off all of the wax. I found this too tedious and, besides, my eggs usually ended up with char marks.
So instead, we stuck them in a 300 degree oven for a couple of minutes (on a disposable pie plate, which we use year after year) and then wiped all of the wax off with a paper towel. If it feels at all sticky as you rub it, put the egg back in the oven for a few more minutes. All of the wax should come right off.
Note- This year (2010), Joey has graduated to official wax melter. She has assumed total responsibility for this process. And I don't blame her. It really is the most satisfying part.
Pretty, messy and slightly dangerous. Just our kind of project.
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Egg Drying Rack
Hanging Blown Eggs
Indoor Easter Garden