Craft stylist Stephanie Hung channels the spirit of Easter and decorates eggs with pastel colours and playful patterns using the old-school wax-and-dye method.
Looking for a creative way to decorate your Easter eggs? Try our modern update on a traditional favourite.
The act of decorating eggs during springtime is said to date as far back as the 13th century. The most notable creations are Ukrainian pysanky: dyed eggs featuring highly intricate folk art designs that are drawn in beeswax.
Our modernized versions of the classic art form, which is typically done in dark, bold colours, boast bright pastel hues and simplified graphic designs. We used the original wax-resist method – the technique of applying multiple layers of wax and dyes – but we experimented with fun geometric shapes, squiggly lines, floral patterns and typography.
Make sure the area is well lit. Cover your work surface with newspaper, and have a roll of paper towels handy.
Use hollowed-out extra-large chicken eggs at room temperature. The shells should be smooth and unblemished.
The kistka is a styling tool (consisting of a metal funnel attached to a wooden or plastic handle) that allows you to draw with melted wax. Find it only at pysanky supply stores.
You’ll need tablespoons for dipping the eggs into each dye.
A short candle is ideal so you don’t have to reach up high every time you need to heat the kistka.
Mix dyes according to package instructions in clean wide-mouthed jars and bring to room temperature.
Beeswax stays liquid longer, is more pliable and adheres better than other types of waxes.
Egg drying rack
A rack is used to dry the eggs as well as hold them while you work. You can make one by drawing a 1″ grid on a 1/2″-thick piece of foam core. Place a pin at each point where the lines intersect.
(For one colour)
1 Heat the funnel of the kistka directly in the flame of the candle. When hot, scrape the beeswax into the funnel, filling it; heat the funnel in the flame again. Touch the tip of the kistka to the egg, letting out some wax, and begin to draw a design using long, even strokes. (The waxed lines will remain white when the egg is dyed.) Heat and refill the tool as required. Set the egg on the rack for a few minutes to let the wax harden fully.
2 Place the egg on a spoon and completely submerge it in the dye. After 5 to 10 minutes, remove the egg and pat it dry with a piece of paper towel (do not rub). Let the egg dry fully on the rack.
3 Remove the wax by carefully holding one side of the egg just above the candle flame for 2 to 3 seconds (it’ll look wet). Wipe clean with a piece of paper towel. Repeat until all the wax is removed.
(For two or more colours)
If using multiple colours, make sure to start with the lightest and progress to the darkest. After finishing step 2 above, use the wax to cover the areas you want to keep in their current colour, following the technique outlined in step 1. Complete step 2 again. Do step 3 once you are done adding colours.