Running with the purple and gold theme, I made up a few more eggs and painted them blue, graduating to white at the bottom. Then came the white vine squiggles, with round balls on the ends of white flicks.
Finally, the balls were filled with white, gold and rose gold, just to mix things up again. Gloss up with several coats of polyurethane and we’re ready for Easter.
There are two big rules that go with making Easter Eggs.
Always make more eggs than you will need and
Never let little boys with curious fingers anywhere near your eggs otherwise:
This guy was only three coats of gloss away from finished! Oh, the humanity!
Easter caught me by surprise this year. Had grand plans to have everything prepped and ready, then I looked down for a second. Boom! It’s the 21st of March. How did that happen without anyone noticing?
The theme this year: Colours. Purple and gold, white and black. I also made some blue eggs, just to mix it up a little. There are a few ‘experimental’ designs, good to keep in the back of my mind for another time. I settled on the white, organic lines with gold bubble-fruit.
And, because it’s Easter, I’ve also made a couple of Golgotha eggs. It’s a sunset scene, with the hillock and the three crosses set against the outskirts of the City. There’s a bit of gold mixed in the sky there, doesn’t come up in the photo too well.
It’s Easter,Sunday 27th of Match,so for all you egg painting freaks,you’re probably thinking,“How am I going to blow all of my eggs in time?”, right? Am I right? I’m right, aren’t I?
Fret not! A while back I put up a post about how to blow eggs, the ins and outs, pitfalls, and at the end I mentioned that one can use a breast pump to speed up the process. The ‘Egg Express‘ (pun intended), if you will.
I’ve had a couple of sideways glances and disbelieving looks so, to show you how fast and easy it all is, I made a video.
The benefits are many: You can make a little production line – clean the eggs, make the holes, blow the shells, wash them and dry them – to go even faster or, if you’re into comfort over speed, simply chill in front of the television while pumping away. No mess, no fuss.
The only hard part is cleaning up afterwards. If you’ve got a pull-apart pump (like the one pictured), cleaning is a breeze.
Sorry for the interruption to the Digital Versus Hardback series, but time is pressing for Easter, so I had to knock this one out.
Also, more Easter Eggs this year. I wonder what the theme will be?
Still with the creepy, Halloween theme, we have the Swamp-Beast Egg.
It was going to be Cthulu, but everyone knows that Cthulu has tentacles. If you want to get all Lovecraftian, it could possibly be a Deep-One Egg. I’ve also heard it being called a Dragon-Egg. Whatever.
Find a fat, rounded egg, so that Swampy looks like he’s had a healthy fish diet. Get boggly eyes (makes everything cuter) and some impasto medium.
Undercoat as described earlier, let it dry and then paint in a solid green. If you’re after a light-hearted beast, go for a bright, vivid green. A dark green will be decidedly moodier. As for his tummy, settle for a muddy mustard of river-bed brown. Two solid coats of that and let Swampy dry.
Get some white paint and mix it into some impasto. Using a slim paintbrush, scoop and roll it onto the egg about midway to form the teeth. Think goofy, clumsy canines jutting upwards.
Clean your brush out, let it dry, then mix red with the impasto. Scoop and roll a thick slab to form the lower lip, draping it across the teeth. Build it up and sculpt it with a knife or spatula if you need to.
As always, just ask for diagrams if you need them.
While you’ve got a blob of red impasto sitting there doing nothing, dip your paintbrush in and tease to form spikes on the back. Continue all the way down the back. If the spikes fall over, tease them back up again. They’ll hold when they’re dry.
Let it dry, then mix some green in the impasto and build the lower portion of the mouth, and some eyebrows above where the eye will be. Thick, heavy eyebrows give an impression of brutishness, so be moderate if you want a goofy, rather than ugly or scary egg.
Stick on the eyes and let it dry: big and close for cute, small and wide for piggy.
When it’s all dry, pick up a fine brush, mix a different shade of green and make a succession of ‘scales’, little U shapes in rows, all the way around. This is the most time consuming part, so make sure you’ve got a coffee handy, especially if you’re doing a batch. You are doing this in batches, right? Everyone is going to want one!
Alright, so keep going around and around, making little U’s, alternative the position on each row. You can afford to get thicker at the back, where his scales would be larger, but as you near his face, scatter the scales and make them finer and smaller.
Mix some lighter tummy colour, and, using a fine brush, make horizontal lines.
Let it dry. Get some shiny gloss (he’s a swamp beast, he’s wet) and slather it all over him, going for at least two coats. I’m yet to find a proper egg cup for him, but that’s ok: He’s one of those eggs that likes to be picked up and held.
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.
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.
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!
Don’t bother glossing it up: matte texture is fine. It’ll help with the wrapping as well.
Stick your eyes on just above centre.
Using craft glue, attach the start of the piece of cloth to the base of the egg.
Wrap haphazardly. Don’t be shy going in all different directions. If your cloth is too thin, fold it over in half.
Daub glue on to hold it in places, especially since eggs don’t like to be wrapped up.
Finish off leaving a trailing bit of bandage.
Find a proper egg cup to stick it in. I found the ones in the picture from Home – a Maxwell and Williams creation.
For extra points, instead of an egg cup, try making a paper-mache sarcophagus!
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).
Get some dome nuts. These will make the feet. You’ll need two per egg, so make sure you get enough.
Get some wing nuts. These will make the shoulder joint. Again, two per egg.
Get some black enamel washers to put underneath the wingnuts.
Get some normal hexagonal nuts for the eyes. Two per.
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.
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’.
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!
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…
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!
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?).
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.
Get a one inch brush, some polyurethane gloss and brush it on lightly, getting into all of the crevices of the flower.
Give it another gloss coat.
Find some decent egg cups, voila!
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.
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:
It dries real quick, so I can do a few coats in one night.
It doesn’t pong as bad.
It cleans up real easy. Wash out with water, and you’re done.
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!
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!