Onion skin and beeswax: a springtime egg tutorial

Standard

Hello! I told you all I’ve been on an egg kick. 🙂

This year I wanted to do something special for my eggs. I wanted a project that used natural ingredients and didn’t involve purchasing any special dyes or equipment, and I wanted to try a wax resist- something a bit beyond the skill level of coloring on eggs with a white crayon but not nearly so time-consuming as those beautiful pysanky designs.

You will need:

Red onion skins

Vinegar

Eggs

Ribbon

Buttons or large beads

Beeswax tea light

You will also need a small paintbrush, small cookpot, paper towels or paper bags, syringe or plastic squeeze bulb, containers for dye, large pin or needle, 2 bowls.

 

Step 1: MAKING ONION SKIN DYE

If you put the dye together first, you can work on the rest of the project while it is cooking and it should be done about when you are ready to use it.

Put the red onion skins, vinegar and enough water to cover the skins in a small pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. The longer you cook it, the deeper the dye will become. Keep an eye on it and add more water as needed.

STEP 2: BLOWING THE EGGS- there’s a bad joke in there somewhere I’m sure.

It’s important to get eggs from happy chickens. Free range, pastured and organic are good indicators at the grocery store. However, the very best eggs for this project will probably be at your local farmers’ market or, if you are lucky enough to have friends with chickens, eggs from their home coop. The shells from high-quality eggs will generally be thicker and more durable than those of the cheaper varieties of eggs in the store. Shell (ha!) out the extra couple dollars, it’s worth it.

I chose brown eggs because I think they are so pretty and I wanted the original color of the eggs to show through.

Set up your egg-blowing station up with two bowls, one for little shell bits and one for catching all the insides from the expensive fancy eggs.

Hold your egg in one hand while you poke the holes with the other. Resist the urge to rest the egg on the table while you make the hole, it will crack! I used a safety pin to make holes but any similar pointy object will do- needle, wire, etc. Make a tiny hole first and then use your pointy object to leverage up small bits of shell until you have the hole the size you want it. I made a very small hole in the small end of the egg and a larger hole in the bigger end. Stir the egg innards around with the pointy object to break up the yolk.

Holding the egg over your egg-catching bowl, take your squeeze bulb or syringe and put it tightly against the small hole. Blow air into the egg so that the egg insides come out the large hole.

Over the sink, fill your bulb or syringe with water and squirt it into the small hole in the egg until the water runs out clear.

Put your empty eggshells in the oven at 300 degrees for fifteen minutes or so until they are dry.

STEP 3: DESIGNING YOUR EGGS

Take a pencil and lightly draw the pattern you’d like on your eggshell.

Light a pure beeswax tea light or similar beeswax candle. With your small brush, paint the areas you have marked out with your pencil with the melted wax from the candle. You can just dip your brush right in to the pool of wax, avoiding the flame. Melted beeswax is very hot! Don’t let it touch your skin! Paint around the edges of the holes in the egg until beeswax covers the holes up entirely. Be patient and add one layer of wax at a time until the entire hole is covered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP 4: DYEING THE EGGS

Find a jar or container of some sort to dye your eggs in. I used tea tins. You’ll need something to weigh your eggs down in the dye- since they are hollow, they will float! I used some teacups that I didn’t mind possibly staining. I put a tray under the tins so my counter didn’t get stained.

Strain out the onion skins and cool the dye until it is cool enough not to melt the beeswax. I stuck mine in the freezer for a few minutes to cool it quickly. Add the concentrated dye to your containers, then fill with water to cover the eggs if necessary. Weight your eggs down and wait for the dye to do its work. It’ll take a few hours for a strong color to show, and the longer you can leave your eggs, the more vibrant they’ll be.

It’s a good idea to check on them every so often and turn them so they don’t dye unevenly.

STEP 5: THE END!

Whew! Now you can fish your eggs out of the dye. Put them in the oven at 250 or so on a cookie tray covered in a paper bag or paper towels. The wax will melt off and you can then rinse off any dye residue.

String them on a ribbon- you can use a bead or a button to hold them on.

Oooo pretty! Happy spring!

Advertisements

3 responses »

  1. Oooh! It looks like henna! I would have thought that red onions would make a redder dye, but you never can tell. I dyed eggs with purple cabbage once and came out with sky-blue eggs.

    We used to blow one egg each, each spring, and then decorate it for my mom’s egg collection. The most recent batch of eggs we got, the shells are so thin that they crack when boiling, even without knocking them around!

    ~:D

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s