How to Make Ukrainian Easter Eggs

One of my favorite childhood memories was coloring Easter eggs with my sister in the backyard under our maple tree which was much smaller back then. I remember my mother setting up little-colored plastic cups, and filling them with water and vinegar and then we’d watch as the little fizzy color tabs would dye the water. I’d scribble flowers, hearts, and lines on my little egg and then pop it into one of the six colors. Eventually, though, all the eggs seemed to end up the same kind of greenish khaki color from being dipped in too many additional colors. We would then put stickers on them of bunnies, chicks, and flowers and present them proudly to our mother who would say how pretty they are. She would politely ignore multicolor dyed hands of her children in favor of our smiles, and she would dutifully clean up the mess of spilled dye and leftover sticker remnants on the little table outside. As an adult, the smell of vinegar still reminds me of those days.

I have a lot of eastern European countries in my DNA including Ukrainian and I remembered seeing on TV the history of Ukrainian Easter Egg Art. This is a dying art form (pun intended). It takes a lot of patience, and time to create some of the intricate traditional designs. The process includes masking off areas using bee’s wax and layering colors. The end color is usually black, and once that’s done, the wax is melted off to reveal all the other colors that have been protected by the wax during the dying process. Here’s a fantastic video about the process.

I love art and tend to pick up artistic things pretty easily. So while planning for this post, I remembered how much I wanted to learn how to do this as a child. Curiosity got to me, and I decided to see if there was such a thing as a kit on Amazon and I was so happy to see that in fact there are and they seem to be priced fairly well! So I bought THIS KIT and decided to try my hand at it.

So the first part of the process is to clean out the egg. I actually remembered my mother doing this for a craft project. You make a small hole in one end, and a slightly larger egg in the other. Using a paper clip you kind of scramble the contents and then carefully blow in the small hole to expel it out the larger one. Once the contents are removed (and used to make an omelet or something) it’s good to pop them into a warm soapy water bath and then let them dry completely. Be sure to flip them every once in a while too. The first time I did this, I didn’t flip them and they still had liquid coming out a day later, which was as gross as it sounds. This is a lot of work, so I suggest that you do a bunch at a time and allow yourself at least 24 hours to let them dry out.

This was my third egg, but my absolute favorite, so I’m going to tell you how I went about decorating it. First, I found that it helps to just divide the egg into four quadrants. From there, I also drew three lines around the middle breaking the egg up into four sections. How you decorate your egg is uniquely up to you so please don’t think that my way is the rule, this is just how I did this particular egg. I then started to play with the squares I had created. I drew lines making them into diamonds, squares, and triangles. I also took some time to look at all the shapes there were just by doing this. Let your eye put things together oddly and see what designs come to mind.

If you want to use the exact kit I used, bought by the exact seller, please click this affilate link. Not only will you get a new and fun craft with everything you need but the egg, you will also be helping me earn a small commission which of course will immediately be put back into cool and fun projects for this blog!

The next thing I did was get out the pysanka which is a little metal funnel on a stick which you heat in a candle (though some are electric, I prefer controlling how much heat it got) and you melt beeswax which has a very low melting point. It travels down the funnel into the tip and is like a pen that you can draw with. I only put wax on the places I wanted to keep white. Then I placed it in the first and lightest color which is yellow. After that I repeated the process, putting wax on all the places that I wanted to keep yellow and then put it in the next color orange and repeated the process again. This was the first egg which I allowed my gut to tell me what to keep and what to mask off. I found that my first eggs below this post where pretty, but messy. The pencil marks kept smudging and I didn’t allow my intuition to guide my artwork. So I suggest that you put down guidelines, but then, just look at the egg and ask yourself what you should make next.

After the orange dye, I repeated the process marking off what I wanted to stay orange and then put it in the red dye. I marked off what I wanted to remain red and placed it in the final color which is traditionally black. As you can see by the end of the process the egg is very black and kind of gross looking. I should also note that it took four hours to do this egg but I found it very calming and meditative. It’s just you, the colors, the designs, and then wax. Once the egg was done in the black dye it was time to melt the wax off. I did this by holding it in a fire. It does get hot so please be careful. I also should note here that this is not a children’s craft. I got burned twice while learning how to use the tools, and anything with open flames always has a risk. I have to say though, as I watched the wax qualify and I wiped it off with a paper towel to see the designs below, I was so happy.

This takes time and some practice but it was a lot of fun. Below are the three eggs I have done so far in order of attempts starting with my first attempt.

In this next picture, you can see my second attempt along with the tools for laying the wax lines called pysanka.

and here are all three eggs together. The first attempt on the left, and the most recent on the right. I’m telling you this to show you that no one has got it all together the first time around. It took me three tries to get use to how the wax melts and how the colors work. So please know if you’re not good the first time, try again.

If you’re looking to try something new this spring, I highly suggest trying this out. Let me know what you think in the comments and if you do try something like this and you’d like me to check it out, please tag me in your Instagram pictures or use the hashtag #autumnbecomesme and I’ll be sure to check it out! If you would like to be notified when I post again please SIGN UP for email notifications and if you would like exclusive content into my life then feel free to follow my social medias listed on the sidebar! Have a wonderful day!