If you're looking for more creative ways to decorate eggs for Easter centerpieces, simply dipping them into food coloring probably won't cut it. Instead, why not try your hand at the traditional Ukrainian art of pysanky? With a combination of dyes and wax, you can use this method to create fabulous eggs that will make great Easter gifts. While the process is difficult, there are ways to make pysanky suitable for beginners. Here's what you need to know.
What is Pysanky?
According to The Ukrainian Museum, pysanky is a form of Ukrainian folk art that uses dye and wax to create intricate designs on eggs. The activity was developed centuries ago, back when people viewed eggs as the source of all life. People used to draw on the eggs using special rituals that had specific meanings, and they would use the eggs for religious and social occasions as talismans to protect against evil and attract good spirits.
What does Pysanky look like?
Pysanky eggs can have a variety of different designs. However, the Ukrainian Museum reports that certain motifs are considered to be particularly characteristic of the style. For example, images of the sun were often included on eggs in stylized designs like triangles, stars or rosettes. Plant and animal life were also sometimes depicted on eggs. Once Christianity came about, religious symbols like crosses and churches were added.
How is it done?
Pysanky uses wax to prevent certain parts of the egg from being dyed, much like the wax crayons that many egg-dying kits come with. LearnPysanky.com reports that pysanky artists start with the lightest color, usually white. Every design that's meant to be white gets covered in wax using a tool called a "kistka." The egg is then dipped into a dye, after which more wax is used to cover that color up so it shows in the final design. The process is then repeated using different colored dyes and wax to blanket the sections that will remain colored. Eventually, the artist will use a candle to melt the wax and wipe it off to reveal the colorful pattern.
Can I do it?
Better Homes and Gardens Magazine suggests creating a makeshift kistka by pushing a metal pin into the end of a pencil eraser. Melt beeswax (or candle wax) and use the tool to dip into the wax and draw designs on your egg. Dip the egg into dye afterward. You can choose to keep the wax on or melt it off when dry by holding it near a candle and wiping it with a paper towel. Once you get the hang of it, you can then start to layer the dye for more colorful patterns.