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EGGceptional ways to decorate your Easter eggs

-Messenger photo by Kriss Nelson
Meg Beshey, museum assistant at the Blanden Art Museum in Fort Dodge uses acrylic paint to decorate an Easter egg.

If you are still planning on decorating Easter eggs, why not try some unconventional ways to the ever so popular way of decorating for the holiday?

Meg Beshey, museum assistant for the Blanden Memorial Art Museum in Fort Dodge, said there are several ways to consider decorating your eggs this year.

“Try stepping away from the traditional Easter egg dye kits,” she said. “It makes it more personal, and fun.”

Once the eggs are decorated, Beshey suggest using them as part of your Easter dinner table settings.

“Use them as place markers,” she said. “It makes the dinner a little more personal and the kids have so much fun doing that. This way, they get to participate in making Easter dinner special.”

-Messenger photo by Kriss Nelson
Easter eggs can be decorated in a variety of ways including with melted wax, a flame, paint, glue and more. The hand painted eggs in the center bowl are from Portugal and were a gift from Meg Beshey's father to her mother.

Cleaning out the egg

Beshey said she prefers emptying the yolk out of the egg before beginning her decorating process. She typically does this by using a nut meat pick or another sharp item, tapping holes on each end of the egg and gently blowing out the yolk. She will then carefully rinse them with water and let them air dry before decorating.

Options for dye

Beshey said food coloring can be used, or she prefers using icing color mixed with water as those colors tend to be more intense.

Fruit juices, fruits and spices can also be used for options for coloring your eggs.

-Submitted photo
Boiling red onion skins and red vinegar was supposed to make for a red tint to an Easter egg. In this case, Meg Beshey said changed the eggs to a green color with a marble look.

Beshey said to look for supplies around your home to use for decorating your eggs.

“There is no right or wrong to it all,” she said. “It is all about playing around and more than likely you have your supplies on hand already.”

Hot glue

Why not try using your hot glue gun to make designs on your eggs?

Beshey said one unique technique would be drizzling hot glue all over your eggs. One the glue is cool, set it in some dye and where ever the glue is, the dye will not set in.

-Submitted photo
Using candle wax to decorate an egg is similar to the Pysanky technique used to decorate eggs in the Ukraine.

You can then choose to leave the glue on the egg, or try to peel it off – just to be sure to do so gently.

Decoupage

Beshey suggests trying to decoupage your eggs. This can be done either on a dyed egg that has dried, or a plain egg.

When decoupaging eggs, Beshey prefers using decorative napkins. Once pulled apart they are very thin pieces that you can cut into strips.

Take each strip and put a small dab of Elmer’s Glue on your finger, just enough to cover the paper and then gently apply it to the egg.

-Submitted photo
Using coffee and a coffee filter is another alternative to dying Easter eggs.

All of the glue, Beshey said will dry clear, so no need to worry if you have some of the glue come off on the egg or paper.

“When you are done it will look pretty cool,” she said. “Even if there are ridges on the napkin that dries hard, it will make for some texture and it will look beautiful when it is done.”

Pysanky

A Ukrainian style of decorating Easter eggs – Pysanky, involves using hot wax; oftentimes using a jaunting tool.

“This is where they take melted wax and very gently create a design,” she said, adding this should be done using adult supervision.

Another alternative to using melted wax would be to drizzle it onto the egg.

Much like the hot glue technique, once the wax has cooled and hardened the eggs can be dyed.

If you would like to try to remove the wax, it can be easily done by running the egg under warm water.

Using a flame

This technique, Beshey said, will also call for some adult supervision as it calls for a flame.

“I think this is really interesting,” she said. “You take your empty egg shell and you literally hold it over a flame – be careful not to stick it right into the flame.”

What happens with this method is holding it certain ways over the flame, Beshey said you will get beautiful streaks going up the egg shell. Sometimes it is black; other times, she added if you get too close, it may get a brownish tint.

“I found tongs work the best and you position the egg where you want to have access to the flame the most,” she said. “You get these really neat effects. You create these gorgeous colors. It almost looks like marble or granite.”

While the egg is still in the tongs, Beshey said to try doing a little “sgraffito” or scratching through the burnt part of the egg to make a design.

Paint

Why not get creative and use some acrylic paints on your Easter eggs?

Beshey said most people have an inventory of acrylic paints in our crafting centers that would work great for this decorating idea.

Glitter

If you enjoy some sparkle, try using glitter on your previously dyed or even plain egg.

“Just put your glue on your egg first and roll it in a bowl just like you would with sugar on a cookie,” Beshey said.

Permanent markers and rubbing alcohol

Beshey said permanent markers are a way to draw pictures and designs on your Easter eggs, but, adding some rubbing alcohol into the fun could make for some interesting designs.

“After using a permanent marker on the egg, take a syringe, or a Q-Tip, just drip a small amount onto the egg and it will create some different colorations on the egg,” she said.

Mixed media

Mixed media, Beshey said means using more than one item.

In one example, she used metallic markers, dye and ribbon.

“Draw on the egg using a metallic marker. Wherever the metallic marker was drawn on, the dye will not stay. Repeat and you will get a really cool layering of colors,” she said. “Almost one resembling a water color painting effect on your eggs.”

After the eggs are dry, then try enhancing the look with some ribbon.

Silk ties

If you have some silk ties lying around trying using them to decorate your Easter egg too.

Beshey said you take the tie a part, saving the decorated part of the fabric. You then wrap it around the egg and secure it with string or rubber band and put the egg wrapped in the silk tie into boiling water. The design on the silk tie should transfer onto the shell of the egg.

Utilizing items from your kitchen

Spices

Spices, such as turmeric can be used to decorate and Easter egg. Beshey said depending on how much water you use, the color can vary – the more you play and investigate you can fun with that. Other spices to consider could be cayenne pepper and chili powder, for example.

Coffee

Either brew up a pot of coffee or utilize some leftover coffee.

Beshey said with this, you pour the coffee into a cup; wrap up your egg into a coffee filter and let it soak in the coffee.

“It gets some beautiful tones and picks up the texture of the coffee filter,” she said.

Tea

There are several different types of teas available to utilize as well.

“Different types of teas will also give different colorations on an egg,” she said.

Frozen fruit

If you have some frozen fruit you might need to use up, Beshey said to thaw it out; put it in a cup with a little water and soak the eggs for a natural dye.

Red onions

Utilizing red onions to decorate Easter eggs can be done to eggs that have been cleaned of the yolk, or even during the hard boiling process, Beshey said.

This technique utilizes red onion skins, red vinegar, water and salt. After bringing the mixture to a boil, let it slightly cool and add your eggs and let them soak.

The red is supposed to intensify into the surface of the egg.

Personally, for Beshey, when she tried this method, she said she didn’t necessarily get the red tones, however, her eggs turned more of an interesting mossy green with a marble texture.

Preserving the eggs

After all of the work gone into decorating the eggs, why not preserve them and use them for years to come?

Beshey said once you have your eggs decorated, try using a clear matte varnish spray on them.

Regardless of the method you decide to use to decorate your Easter eggs, Beshey suggests just making it fun.

“This is one of those fun, family projects that you can do if you want something different, something special,” she said. “Easter could be more special this year, we finally, maybe get to be together with people we haven’t seen in a year. Why not make the effort to do something fun that won’t take too much of your time?”

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