The traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs known as pysanka are often elaborately decorated with intricate geometrical patterns that can be difficult to replicate or produce. However, using the same process by which pysanka are created, you can design your own more personal and perhaps more child-friendly decorated eggs for your Easter season.
Design Your Own Pysanka Eggs
There are endless possibilities for pysanka designs. You can experiment with traditional or religious symbols, or simple motifs of birds, chicks, bunny rabbits, flowers, or with patterns that you create yourself. Colours can range from cheerful pastels to brighter shades – sky blues, bright roses, sunny yellows. You can write the names of family members, relatives or friends, even your pets, as well as the year and date of your Easter holiday. You can write special greetings or brief messages. You can create a design as simple or as elaborate as you choose to work with. Use your imagination – the egg is your palette!
The Pysanka Process
The process for creating pysanka eggs is similar to batik. Designs are drawn on the egg with hot beeswax using a special tool called a stylus, or kistka. These covered areas are then protected when the egg is dipped into a dye bath – where the wax is, the dye doesn’t colour. This process is repeated with additional wax applications and different coloured dye baths, progressing from lightest to darkest colours. After repeated waxing and dipping, and depending on the complexity of your design, the egg is covered partially or totally with wax. The coating of wax is removed by heating the egg near a candle flame and wiping off the melting wax – this is when the beautiful colours of the design on the egg are revealed.
The finished pysanka are usually coated with varnish or polyurethane which makes them shiny and also preserves them. They can then be kept indefinitely – they gradually become lighter and the insides harden, until when you shake them you hear what sounds like little balls rattling inside.
Supplies For Pysanka
You can purchase special kits for making pysanka eggs in craft and local specialty shops, as well as from numerous sites on the internet. The kits contain directions, sample patterns and the necessary supplies – wax, styluses and assorted dyes. The dyes are crucial as typical grocery store dyes are usually too weak for the pysanka process.
Once you’ve created your own personalised pysanka eggs, you may want to keep them for many Easters to come. Or you may want to give them as gifts to family or friends. Just be sure to handle them with care – after all your work, you don’t want to drop them!