Last week I went over to my sister’s house and we dyed eggs and had an egg hunt for my nieces. A tradition my sister carries on is making Pysanky Eggs. Pysanky Eggs are “pretty Ukrainian Easter egg[s], decorated with traditional Ukrainian folk designs using a wax-resist (batik) method.” [Wikipedia] My sister bought a kit off of the internet, and while we are not from a Ukrainian ethnicity, this is a type of art that my step-mother learned and taught us when we were younger and something my sisters and I continue to do today. We did not let the 4 and 5 year old do these eggs. I personally got burnt a bit with the hot wax, this is not a craft for really young children.
Basically you apply melted wax to the white egg using a stylus in a special design. The part with the melted wax remains white as you dye the egg in building colors from yellow to purple or black. What you cover with the wax stays that color. In the end you remove all the hardened wax by heating the egg over a fire and wiping off the wax to reveal your design. The hard part of making pysanky eggs is thinking backwards re the colors. It’s also a difficult practice because we do not use hard-boiled eggs, instead we use raw eggs, a crack can spoil the egg and then you have to throw away hours of hard work. But those that turn out are kept as decoration for years.
Here are some traditional Pysanky Eggs. You can find more on Pinterest along with several design instructions to make your own.
And here are a couple pictures of mine. I kept the dying process simple, choosing to do two shades of blue and worked on making a more elaborate design with those colors than my previous designs. Even with a simple design and only dying it two colors, the process took me four hours. I accidentally burnt parts of the egg when melting off the wax, which accounts for some of the discoloration.