Thursday, April 1, 2010

How To: Easter Eggs

How did you dye eggs growing up? I remember using melted batik wax and making some of the coolest creations imaginable with my Mom. She set the bar pretty high for me, I'm afraid.

We tried out a new method today, which we I decided to share. I can't take credit for the initial idea, but we did mix things up a bit in terms of materials and technique to make it as kid-friendly as possible.

You need to have contact paper (we used the clear kind that I always have around for miscellaneous projects), scissors (a variety of styles with fancy edges are good, but plain ones work just fine too), fancy shaped hole punches (the sort that can be found in scrapbook shops or craft stores), hard boiled eggs, food coloring, water, vinegar.

Prepare your bowls of dye the way you would for most Easter egg projects: warm water, a tablespoon of vinegar, 10-15 drops of food coloring.

Using your scissors or fancy hole punches, cut shapes out of the contact paper (with the paper backing still in place). You don't want the shapes to be too large in diameter because they won't bend enough to adhere to the convex surface of the egg. Small shapes (1/2 inch or less), or long narrow strips work best. Peel off the paper backing and apply the shape to your clean egg like a sticker.

Important: use your finger nail to gently rub the contact paper shape onto the egg's surface to make sure that it's completely stuck on. If there are bubbles or edges that have not made contact, the process won't work.

Now, dip your egg in the dye bath to add your first color. Let it sit in the dye bath until it reaches your desired hue, remove it, and dry it off with a towel. It also helps to wear a white velvet ballerina costume while you do it...not sure why.

Once the egg is completely dry, you can experiment with overlapping images and layered colors by removing the contact paper shapes and adding new ones in whatever fashion tickles your fancy.

If you're doing this project with young children, I would recommend starting out with at least some of the shapes pre-cut, as the contact paper can get a little tricky for small fingers and hole punches. My daughter was very proud of this snazzy coyote egg that she created. The detail that you can get is truly amazing.

Have fun!