Mummy Egg

Keeping with the spooky, Halloween feel, but a whole lot less creepy, is the Mummy egg. Rather than polarizing, everyone, young and old, seems to like this one.

Preparation

There’s not a lot to prepare for this one. You’ll need some boggly eyes, some muslin or rough cotton cloth, some coffee and paint.

Cut you cloth into long strips. Get your coffee – instant, espresso, percolated, turkish, doesn’t matter so long as you haven’t added milk. What? You added milk? *Sigh* Drink that, then make another, and this time don’t add milk. Black Tea also works.

Soak your cloth in the brew for a few minutes to let it penetrate. Now rinse and squeeze it out. You should have soggy, bashed up, ‘aged’ cloth.

Method

  1. Paint your eggs a mustard yellow then, with a sponge, a rough brush or even some tissue, scrape on some green, grey or brown in blotches. Your Mummy has spent a lot of time in a sarcophagus!
  2. Don’t bother glossing it up: matte texture is fine. It’ll help with the wrapping as well.
  3. Stick your eyes on just above centre.
  4. Using craft glue, attach the start of the piece of cloth to the base of the egg.
  5. Wrap haphazardly. Don’t be shy going in all different directions. If your cloth is too thin, fold it over in half.
  6. Daub glue on to hold it in places, especially since eggs don’t like to be wrapped up.
  7. Finish off leaving a trailing bit of bandage.
  8. Find a proper egg cup to stick it in. I found the ones in the picture from Home – a Maxwell and Williams creation.

Mummy

For extra points, instead of an egg cup, try making a paper-mache sarcophagus!Mini Jeztyr Logo

Creepy Eyeball Eggs

This is a polarizing one: You either love it or you hate it.

You know how putting boggly-eyes on things makes them cuter? Well, a big, disembodied boggly-eye ain’t that cute. In this series, I did a couple of ‘body parts’, like a heart, a stomach and a brain, but I’ve given them away. My favourite was the eyeball, anyway.

I just remember that Halloween is around the corner, so I’ve bumped this post up to now.

Preparation

Choose an egg than is not so eggcentric: you want a less of difference between the size of the base and the top. Also, knock off any lumps or bumps with sandpaper or a box cutter.

Undercoat as usual, make it smooth, then coat it over with a good, strong white paint. Texturize a little with foam if you like.

Go look at a real eye. It helps. See the size of the iris (the coloured bit)? It’s not very big in the grand scheme of things. Only one and a half centimetres or half an inch or so. Make it too big, and the eyeball will look comical. My first few attempts, my irises were far too large. Keep it small.

Get a circle, piece of rubber, foam, whatever, that matches the size of the iris and use this as a stencil on the egg at the very top. Next, get a stencil or a sticky dot that is smaller than the iris. Use a pencil to trace it.

If you’ve made a small secondary hole, then the pupil, being black, will happily hide it.

Decide on the colour of your iris: I chose brown because I used my wife’s eyes as a model. Paint lightly with black around the outside of the iris, stroking toward the centre. Then get your coloured paint and paint over these, blended in toward the centre. Finally, using some white paint, add some radiating flecks. Your iris is done.

Now, fill in the pupil. Two coats of black at least to hide any white or colour underneath.

EyeballEgg1

If you need diagrams, let me know.

The blood and gore

The back of the eyeball is where you can let loose. Using impasto medium, get some red, white, blue and pink paint and build up ‘muscles’ on the side, about halfway up the eyeball.

EyeballEggRear

Use the impasto to get lines and icky textures in there, with lines of red and pink and even mustard if you like.

Toward the base, build up the goo into a peak to form the optic nerve. Let this dry.

Pro Tip: when painting arteries and veins, mix in a little white paint into the blue or the red. If you don’t, putting blue against a red background will result in a ‘black’ vein which, while more accurate, isn’t as visually appealing. The same goes for arteries. Adding a little white paint brings up the vivid red.

Using a wire or a fine brush, mix the ‘vein’ paint in with a little impasto to give it body, then dribble or drag over the eye from the base up to create your blood vessels.

When you’re satisfied, gloss it over with high gloss. Many coats. The more coats the better.

Apparently there’s some kind of gloss that gives a ‘wet feel’. I haven’t found it yet, but it sounds like something that would take this to the next level.

EyeballEggFind a shallow egg cup, darker if you can, that shows off a bit of the muscular features and the veins.

Voila! Eyeball eggs!Mini Jeztyr Logo

Robot Egg

This is a crowd-pleaser. Not only is it cute, not only can it stand on its own two feet (yes, it has feet) but it’s fully customisable. The limit is only determined by what bits and bobs you have on hand.

Body and feet

Blow your eggs, undercoat and paint a solid metallic colour. Silver is good, copper works well. Set aside and let them dry, then get your keys and head on down to the hardware store (or rummage around inside your bits-box in the garage).

  1. Get some dome nuts. These will make the feet. You’ll need two per egg, so make sure you get enough.
  2. Get some wing nuts. These will make the shoulder joint. Again, two per egg.
  3. Get some black enamel washers to put underneath the wingnuts.
  4. Get some normal hexagonal nuts for the eyes. Two per.
  5. For the eye lens, go for a packet of clear rubber bumpers that you stick on the inside of cupboards to stop them banging. Hang on… these things.
  6. For the arms, walk to the garden section and look at the micro-fittings. Get some elbows (guess what they’re for?) and some nail-clips.

As for the antenna, find some small screws, scraps of wire, anything that looks ‘robotesque’.

Copper and Brass go well
Copper and Brass go well

Assembly

Paint your pieces before you assemble. Let them dry. Also, if you want diagrams for this, just let me know.

  • Glue your feet on first. The weight in the nuts will help support the egg. Position them a little forward so that the egg has a natural tendency to balance on them.
  • Push the nails out from the nail-clips and insert them the wrong way. This makes a claw.
  • Assemble the arms – don’t attach them to the egg until they’re dry. Into the wingnut, insert one side of the elbow. If you’ve manage to get the sizes right, you can literally screw it in.
  • Insert the nail of the clip into the other end of the elbow, glue it in. Make sure it’s properly dry before you move it. I found the nail wanted to slide out, even when the glue was almost dry.
  • Glue wingnut to enamel washer. This will provide a solid surface area to attach the assembly to the egg. Wait until dry.
  • Glue arm to robot, somewhere a little forward of centre, so that the balance is still toward the ‘feet’.
  • That is the hard part done! Now for the eyes: Glue the hex-nuts in position.
  • Peel vinyl stickers and stick the on the eye-nuts. Job done.
  • Glue on antenna, let the whole thing dry and, boom! Robot Egg!

RobotEgg

Patch Panel

Robots are cute. What’s cuter? A pathetic, bashed up robot. You can add one or two ‘patch-panels’ to the egg. This gives an impression of rustiness, clunkiness, unsophisticatedness (if that’s a word). To do this, get some masking tape and form a rude quadrangle on the back.

Get some slightly off-coloured (or completely dissimilar) paint and daub it on with a sponge to create a textured finish. Mix copper and silver together, or even add gold to make some ‘brass’. This makes your makeshift patch. Let it dry.

Using a very fine paint brush, the back of a paint brush or even some wire, add some ‘dots’ to make rivets, holding the plate on. Dip, dot, dip dot…

PatchPlate
Your patch plate to fix your broken robot

With some black paint, add some oil dribbling out the back, or perhaps add rust – green for copper rust, rufus for iron rust. Depends on the primary colour of your egg.

Let it dry and, (second) boom! A sad, pathetic, lovable robot!Mini Jeztyr Logo

The Prince and the Pauper

As you saw from the Deviled eggs and eggs Benedict, having ‘pairs’ or ‘themes’ of eggs is a fun way to mix things up at Easter. And there’s a good chance that if someone doesn’t like variant A, they can have B.

Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper was favourite story when I was a tacker, I’ve heard many variants, and the theme is common in movies and books. I chose to take an Indian variant with this pair.

The Prince

Note that the eggs are ‘inverted’ in that the smaller or pointier bit is at the bottom. This makes wrapping the turban a lot easier. It also means the primary hole will be covered by the turban.

Start with a coating of skin-coloured paint. While that’s drying, cut three 1″ pieces of ribbon and use craft glue to stick these lengthways on the top of the head. This will cover the gap formed once the herringbone pattern is made.

Prince

Once these are dry, dab some craft glue on the ribbon, and tightly wrap it around and around the head, dabbing with glue on each turn to hold it in place. Keep it tight, making sure the distance between wraps is consistent.

Pro tip: Fast acting glue is a life-saver here.

Once you have enough turns, glue the tail of the ribbon in place and trim.

If you need diagrams for this, just let me know.

Now comes the decorating: Get a chicken feather and glue it into a fold. Add some craft diamantes to enhance the asymmetry and, finally, glue on some eyeballs!

BlackAndRedPrince

Try varying the ribbon, jewel and feather colour. Black and red, for example, is striking. Blue and gold. Green and white. The choice is yours!

The Pauper

The egg is inverted, as with the Prince, but now we need to make him disheveled. Get a bit of foam and ‘blot’ the skin to make it rough and textured. Give him some stubble (he’s a teenager pauper) and small, sad eyes.

Now, for the turban: Go to your favourite material shop and buy some lightly patterned cotton. I’ve gone with red and white stripes here, which I also used for the cowboy egg’s neckerchief. Cut it into long strips, fraying the ends and roughing it up here and there.

Pauper

He’s a pauper, remember?

As with the Prince, cut three 1″ bits and glue onto the top of his head to cover the ‘gap’ made in the middle of the turban. Start the length off with a dot of glue, wrap around herringbone style, gluing on each pass. You can afford to be a bit sloppy with the turns, don’t try to hold it as tight.

With the last turn, glue it into place but don’t trim it. Let it fall freely.

Find a suitable egg cup. The white one used in the picture for presentation isn’t really appropriate. Go for something down-market.Mini Jeztyr Logo

Deviled Eggs and Eggs Benedict

I’ll keep the fun going with two popular designs: “Eggs Benedict” and “Deviled Eggs”. Rather than being ‘ornamental’, they crave to be picked up, felt and looked at closely.

These two examples run with the idea that sticking boggly eyes on anything makes it cuter. They also both require ‘props’ to make them work.

Deviled Egg

There are a few components to this one, the most striking of which are the horns. You can make your horns long and slightly curved, like in the image, or dead straight, like the demon out of Dungeon Keeper, or curled like a ram’s horn, or whatever.

How to make them? Get some aluminium foil, pinch the top and twist it around itself, rolling it up to make a trumpet. Keep the pointy end pointy, and stamp out the other end to make it wide and flat. This will help glue it to your egg.

It’ll be a bit flimsy, and paint won’t want to stick to it, so here’s a trick: use impasto medium to coat it, add rigidity and allow your pigment to hold.

It works like goopy butter, and sets pretty hard, so you can build up and mould any kind of low lying structure, add texture or, as in this case, add firmness. You can buy impasto from any art or craft store, and it comes in handy.

While your horns are drying, paint your egg solid red. On the back I put purple blotches (not visible from the front) just to add a bit of contrast. Build up the bottom lip with impasto, and the same with the eyebrows.

Note that the position and size of the eyes is important: Small and wide looks ‘piggy-ish’ while large and close together looks ‘cute’.

Glue on the horn when everything is dry, two coats of lacquer with clear gloss acrylic and find a suitable egg cup to stick him in!

Deviled Egg
Deviled Egg

Eggs Benedict

Divide your egg into three, with the top being hair, the middle being skin and the bottom being clothing. Paint your skin first. Add some blush on the cheeks to break up the monotony.

While that’s drying, find a halo.

The one in the picture is from, well, do you remember CDs and DVDs (Yes, grandpa)? Do you remember buying spools of them? Do you remember the little spacer that sat on top of them to keep them from rattling around? One of them. Paint it gold or silver, several coats, then gloss that up.

Then, once dry, mix some pigment into some impasto to make the hair. Sculpt and drag you brush or spatula or iron wire to make a texture. Stick your halo on top. You can imbed it into the hair or, alternatively, use craft glue to hold it.

Mix white and silver or gold paint with a wee bit of impasto and slather it on. Use some muslin cloth and gently press and release to create a material effect. Coat again in the silver + white paint mix, leave to dry.

Add the eyes (closer together) and gloss up good.

Eggs Benedict
Eggs Benedict

Tada! Eggs Benedict!Mini Jeztyr Logo

Flower Power

You don’t need to decorate all of an egg. In many instances, the egg will live its life sitting on an egg cup, behind glass. They won’t be manhandled, felt, held, thrown, roughed up, knocked about: they are purely ornamental.

This means that the back of the egg will not get looked at, and you can put all your effort into the front.

Pressed Flowers

You wouldn’t believe how hard it was to find pressed flowers. I remember walking into any craft store and they’d be throwing them at me. Now, it was a matter of, “Do you have pressed flowers?”

Blank stare.

Try another shop, “Hi, I’m after some pressed flowers. You know, for scrap-booking and whatnot.”

Haven’t had ’em for years.

I would have done it myself, only A) I don’t have any phone books in the house and B) Easter was only a couple of days away. Finally I found a manky packet of coloured daisy flowers without a price tag tucked on an obscure shelf in a dinky shop in the middle of nowhere.

“It’ll do.”

Moulded Flowers

These were easier to find. On my travels to Lincraft, they had these in packets on the shelf. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, all flat backed which makes it a little awkward to stick on a rounded surface, but the little ones were just fine.

FlowerEggs2

Their weight makes the egg top and forward heavy, so the end product needs to be balance back onto the egg cup to stop it from tipping. Not a problem, they still look good.

General Pattern

  1. Coloured the eggs, as you can see, in a solid purple, peach or blue. Any strong colour will do. Three coats, allowing drying time between coats.
  2. Get some craft glue (make sure it dries clear). Sop it on the back of the flower, stick it on. Make sure they’re good and dry before you proceed. Wait overnight if you need to. Don’t rush this bit.
  3. Getting a piece of foam, I cut out a circle shape, dipped that in white paint and made the cluster of eight around the central flower. Allow to dry (don’t you love acrylics?).
  4. Using a fine brush, place either a dot or radiating strokes from the centre of each ‘cluster flower’. They’ll be dry by the time you finish up.
  5. Get a one inch brush, some polyurethane gloss and brush it on lightly, getting into all of the crevices of the flower.
  6. Give it another gloss coat.
  7. Find some decent egg cups, voila!

FlowerEggs

If you like, get some ribbon and ‘tie’ the egg to the cup before gifting. A bow around the midriff or from top to bottom looks shmicko. Use craft glue to hold it in place rather than tying a knot: Eggs are slippery little suckers, and, as above, if it’s an ornament, you can afford to ‘cheat’ a little.Mini Jeztyr Logo

Prepping Your Eggs

You’ve blown a batch of eggs. That’s a great start. They’re washed and dried and ready for use. Now, the question comes: What to do with them?

Eggs are a really wonderful canvas. They are porous, so they will happily absorb all manner of pigments. They are rigid, so pencils and paint and ink works just fine. They are hard, so you can drill them to insert crystals or ornaments. They respond to acid etching. You can glue things to them, or cut holes out of them, or wrap them in material.

Let’s start with painting…

To turn your brown egg shell into a nice, white canvas, you’ll need to get some undercoat. This will seal the egg, adding a little strength to it at the same time, and provide an excellent substrate onto which you can paint.

I use a matte white water based undercoat for my eggs – Dulux 1-Step. I bought half a liter of the stuff yonks back and break it open before each Easter, and I’ve barely made a dent in it.

I use water based instead of oil based because:

  1. It dries real quick, so I can do a few coats in one night.
  2. It doesn’t pong as bad.
  3. It cleans up real easy. Wash out with water, and you’re done.
  4. A lot of the mediums and overcoats I use are also acrylic.

I did try oil based paints a while back, and they give a good, strong finish, but I can achieve similar results with acrylics with a lot less fuss.

Line your eggs up on your work area, dedicating one tripod to each egg. You’ll want somewhere to put them down after each coat. Don’t forget to put some newspaper down if you’re working on the kitchen table.

Choose a 1″ or 3cm paint brush, hold your egg as shown below and get painting!

paintingSequence

Tips and Tricks

  • A better finish is achieved if you apply multiple thin coats rather than one thick coat. It’s smoother, it looks more even and you don’t end up with runs and drips.
  • Unless you’re insanely skilled, you won’t be able to paint the egg at the point where you’re holding it. Don’t worry, alternate you grip on the next coat as in the diagram above.
  • If you want an uber-smooth egg to paint on, consider sandpapering some of the little lumps on the egg before you undercoat (grinding with the Dremel also helps with this).
  • Between coats, if you can be fluffed, give a bit of a light buff with steel wool to smooth out the painting.
  • Aim for a minimum of two coats, preferably three.
  • Don’t be too concerned if you can still see the colour of the egg through the paint, since this is just the undercoat. Your pattern will take care of that.
  • If you want some of the real egg to show through, or only want to paint a certain area (like when you’re making a silhouette), use masking tape, sticky dots or any other sticking shape to mask the non-painted regions.
  • Aim to fill the secondary (top) hole with paint. If it’s small enough, it will close over nicely. You might not be able to totally close the primary hole, but that’s ok, we can work on that later.
  • Once you’ve finished one part of the paint, put the egg back onto the pizza tripod to dry.
  • Don’t let animals or kiddies come near your precious eggs. Not yet, anyway.

I’ve seen some techniques that advocate inserting a wire through the egg to allow you to paint it. I personally don’t, since it tends to weaken the egg and enlarge the hole. One part of preparation is strengthening the egg and reducing the hole!

By the end of all of this, you’ll have a carton of egg shells just waiting to be decorated! Now comes the fun part, actually making a design!

Advanced Blowing Techniques

Blowing one or two eggs is not hard, really. You can have them done in time for dinner. When you have to do a bunch for Easter, it starts to get uncomfortable. Really uncomfortable. Your mouth hurts, your lips go numb, and your back starts to give out from being hunched over a bowl for so long.

Advanced Techniques

The following are things I’ve figured out from trial and error to make your egg-blowing life easier.

Batches

No point getting your equipment out and cleaning it and getting set up… to do one or two eggs. Do a lot at a time. It doesn’t take a lot of brain power to do it, so you can sit in front of the News and see how many you can do in half an hour. You’ll be surprised when you get the hang of it.

Store your blown, cleaned, dried eggs in egg cartons, ready for use when the time comes. Don’t worry, they won’t go bad.

A Good Seal

Eggs are an inconvenient design for blowing. If they were straw-like, all good. But they aren’t. They’re smooth, and slightly rounded and it takes a bit of practice to make a positive seal with your mouth on the top of the egg.

Ever have Grolsch? You know that little rubber ring on the inside of the crown? Pick that out, wet it a little and use it as a barrier between your lips and the egg. Not only will it save you the embarrassment of making little fart noises as you blow, and not only will it improve your blowing power, it’s a good excuse to buy beer.

Grolsch rubber ring over the secondary hole
Grolsch rubber ring over the secondary hole

They last for yonky donks, too. AND you can use them for some advanced designs (but that comes later). You know what? Go and get a beer right now and then come back, OK?

Grinding a hole

Puncturing the primary hole with a stylus or pin is a little risky. If the egg is fresh and the shell isn’t thin, it’s not a problem, but take either of these two things away and you need to tread carefully (Insert your own walking on eggshells pun).

Do you have a drill? That’s a bit of overkill. Do you have a high-speed rotary tool like, oh, I don’t know, a Dremel? You do? That’s fantastic! Because if you get yourself a teeny, tiny drill bit, or pointed grinding bit, you can carefully grind a neat, countersunk hole for the primary, no sweat.

The other benefit is that you can use your Dremel for grinding patterns into eggs (later), or making holes to recess crystals (later), or cutting the top off for a egg-box (later).

Reverse Pressure

Blowing an egg relies on increase the air pressure on one side of the innards, such that it forces it out the other side. What if we lower the pressure on the primary hole, so that the air pressure on the other end pushes it through? Net effect: Goop comes out.

This is called sucking eggs. Whoa, whoa, whoa! Don’t click that close button. You don’t have to do the sucking yourself. OK? In fact, it could be quite hazardous if the egg has anything nasty internally. I prefer to cook my eggs before I eat them.

So what to use? Wait for it: A breast pump! Whoa, whoa, whoa! Come on, give me a chance, here! It’s actually designed to do exactly what’s required: Lower the air pressure on one side, letting the pressure on the other push the innards through. And, to boot, the pumps have a collector that you can use.

Breast pumps can save you time and effort
Breast pumps can save you time and effort

No bowl! No mess! No fuss! You just look a little creepy, is all. Just be sure of three things:

  1. Clean your pump after each use
  2. Ensure that the egg is large enough to not get sucked into the aperture (these things were designed for something larger, of course)
  3. MAKE SURE THAT YOU DON’T USE ONE THAT IS CURRENTLY (OR EVER) IN USE FOR GETTING BREAST MILK FOR A CHILD.

All jokes aside, that last point is very important. I marked my pump with a permanent marker and keep it stored in my art supply cabinet. You don’t want to risk giving a bub raw egg, no matter how thoroughly you clean it.

Stands

You know those little tripod things that come on the pizza that stop the top of the box from squishing it? Let me find one…

A pizza box tripod makes a superb egg stand
A pizza box tripod makes a superb egg stand

There. One of those. Next time you order pizzas, keep these, turn them upside down and, presto! Instant egg holder! You can use these to stand your eggs upright while they drain, or to let them dry after painting, or even for showcasing (but decorate them first).Hmm, first beer, now pizza. This is a hobby worth pursuing.

Nasal Aspirator

Say what? ‘Snot Suckers’. Oh. Unpleasant name, it’s pretty much a rubbery thing one uses to clear mucous from a baby’s nose when they’re all clogged up. Normally one would use it in ‘suck’ mode but in this case you’d let the aspirator nozzle act as your lips. Squeeze the bulb (or push the plunger, depending on your model) and blow the contents out.

No more Sachmo-face!Mini Jeztyr Logo

Sorry to Leave you Hanging

In the previous post I went over the basics of choosing, cleaning and making a hole in your egg.

Now what?

You’ve made the hole in the bottom. Good. Now turn the egg over. Don’t worry, it won’t come gushing out (unless you’ve got a rotten egg. Ew.) The viscous albumin and yolk have a tendency not to come out unless prompted.

You’re about to prompt it.

What you're dealing with
What you’re dealing with

Using your stylus, insert a wee hole in the top. Wee being little. Tiny. Just enough to let air from this side of the shell onto the other side of the shell. You’ll need to go far enough to puncture the membrane layer on the inside of the shell. Don’t worry, that’s pretty thin.

I generally use the top as the ‘display’ side of my egg, so a small hole is disireable. If you intend to pass a ribbon through it, make it large (5mm), otherwise keep it tiny.

Now there’s one last thing you’ll need to do: Puncture the air-sack. Insert your stylus into the bottom of the egg, all the way in, and twirl it, shredding the thin membrane. This will now allow the contents to pass through the primary aperture.

Holding the egg firmly (but gently) in your hand, fingers and thumb either side of the primary hole. Hold the bottom end over the clean bowl and press your lips to the (wee) secondary hole.

Blow.

This is why it’s called blowing an egg. Make a good seal with your lips around the hole. It might help to wet it a bit with water. Ease the pressure on and apply it constantly. It’s hard to see what’s happening, but here’s a clue:

The thick, viscous albumin will be working its way out the hole. There will be bits of tough membrane getting in the way, but by and large you’ll notice a clear drip form on the bottom of your egg. That’s good. Keep ‘blowing’.

Little by little that drip will grow larger, and form a smooth drop that will land into your bowl. Good. Keep blowing.

If you’ve mushed it with your stylus right, there’ll be a constant thick stream running out the bottom as you blow. You’ll notice the contents will go from albumin, to yolk, to albumin once more as each phase is pushed through the hole. Good. Keep blowing.

Keep blowing until the egg is light, the air from your mouth is whistling out the other end. Good job!

Egg Structure

Troubleshooting

It seldom goes as smoothly as this, unless you’ve made a whopper of a primary hole. Things that can go wrong:

  1. The hole is small, and the annoying little tubey things are wedged in there – use your stylus, tweezers or fingers to pull them through.
  2. The hole is too large, and the egg is cracking under the internal pressure – Blow more gently. Apply only enough pressure to keep the fluid moving.
  3. Nothing it coming out, no matter how hard your blow – You may not have punctured the air sack at the bottom, or your secondary hole hasn’t gone deep enough.
  4. You’ve got a bowl of albumin, no yolk and nothing’s coming out – The yolk has a thin, but surprisingly strong, membrane around it. Jab your stylus through the primary hole and keep blowing.

I find the little tube thing that gets in the way is my most common problem. It’s generally “Blow, blow, blow, stop, get a grasp on the chalaza, draw it out, crud it broke, blow, found it again, draw it out gently this time, good, blow, blow, blow, done.”

Clean up

You’ve got a bowl of egg insides, an empty shell and a smile on your face. Wash off the residual goop around the primary hole, and then wash the insides of the egg. How? Well, you know how the egg shell is effectively a straw?

Pool some water in a dish or in your hand and, rather than blow the secondary hole, suck the water up into the egg. When the egg is half full of water, slosh it around good, then blow the water back out again. Repeat a couple of times and then stand up to let the water drain and dry.

Don’t like that idea? OK. Get some running water on a needle thin stream, hold the egg upside down and let the stream trickle into the primary hole. Not as fast or as effective, but I’ve tried it and it still works.

Up next, some advanced tips and tricks.

Blowing the Egg

You can paint or colour or dye or gloss any old egg – but it helps to get the stuff out of the inside first. Yes, you can hard-boil it, but that’ll only last for so long. If it’s longevity you’re after, you need to blow the eggs.

The General Principle

Imagine a common drinking straw. Now imagine it with fragile, rigid sides. Enlarge the middle, shrink the ends and fill it with eggy goodness, and you’ve got yourself an egg that’s ready to blow.

Apply pressure at the top end, letting the goo get pushed through to the bottom end and out the hole. Collect the albumin and yolk, have a few omelettes.

Clean out the inside of the ‘straw’, let it dry and you’re done.

What you're dealing with
What you’re dealing with

You’re familiar with the white and yolk and shell. What you may not realise it that the membranes, air sack and annoying tubey things called chalaza also play a part when you are blowing.

There’s more to it than that

But, that’s not an egg. An egg doesn’t have holes at the ends! Of course not. You need to make them.

Here’s what you will need:

  • An egg – start with a chicken egg
  • A strong stylus, needle or sharp-pointy-hole-making-device
  • A clean bowl
  • A sink and towel to washup
Strong, sharp pointed stylus
Strong, sharp pointed stylus

Pick your Eggs

Check your egg for freshness. Really. Nothing worse than a rotten egg spilling its sulphurous contents all over the place. How can you test for freshness? My two main methods are the rattle test and the dunk test. Gently shake the egg from left to right. If it feels like there’s a marble rattling inside, you’ve got a dud.

The other way is to fill a glass with water and pop the egg in. If it sinks, it’s all good. If it floats like a cork, throw it out. If it sinks or rises only slowly, it’s probably still good, so don’t go wasting eggs.

Identify the top and bottom of your egg. The top is the smaller part. The bottom is more rounded. On some eggs, it’s well obvious. Others are so ovoid that it’s actually difficult to tell.

This is important, because of the way eggs are designed – there’s a little air-sac at the bottom of an egg that will obstruct your blowing. Also, the size of the holes you are going to make will be different top and bottom.

Clean your eggs

Blowing eggs requires you to blow with your mouth against the shell. Think about where the egg was made, where it has been. Now get a brush and clean off the shell. Give it a good scrub under water. I’ve never been sick from this, then again, I’ve never not washed my eggs before I began.

This isn’t just for hygiene, you will want to get rid of any poop, feathers, mud, crud or other foreign matter off the shell, so that when you paint, there’s nothing to interfere with your end result.

Ready to get cracking?

Start with the bottom. Turn your egg upside down, hold your egg gently with your non-dominant hand and apply firm pressure with your stylus to the bottom-most portion of the egg. If you have a sharp point on your stylus, this should make a very small hole. We’ll call this the ‘primary’ hole, because you make it first, it’s the most important to get right and it’s the biggest.

Pull the stylus back out and inspect it. If there are cracks leading away from the hole, you’ve worked it too hard and the structural integrity of the shell has been compromised. That doesn’t mean ‘throw it away’, it means ‘proceed with extreme caution’ – you’ll need to be extra gentle and go slowly to salvage the egg.

No cracks? Good. Now keep the stylus in your hand and slowly, gently, grind down the sides of the hole, enlarging it from a teeny-tiny hole to something about the size of a about 3mm or 1/8″. Go slowly, rub and grind little nibbles rather than push and crack big chunks.

Primary Hole
Work the ‘primary’ hole on the bottom to about 3mm

The size of the hole is going to affect three things: The ease with which you can empty the egg, the structural integrity of the egg and the aesthetics afterwards.

Too large and your egg can crack easier as you handle it or apply pressure when blowing. Also, a gaping hole looks ugly if you don’t ‘fill it’ with something.

Too small and you’ll be blowing like Sachmo trying to push the stuff out of the innards.

In my experience, 5mm is the maximum size you’ll want to go, aiming for about 3mm. Next post, I’ll get onto the secondary hole. Sorry to leave you hanging, I won’t be long.