Ukrainian Pysanky Easter Eggs
How to make Ukrainian Painted Easter Eggs
The first thing you have to know about me is that I am NOT Ukrainian. So I have absolutely no knowledge of, and no experience in painting these eggs.
But when I recently spotted a beautiful photo of these gorgeous eggs in a magazine, I just had to learn more about them. The article also claimed that Ukrainian painted easter eggs are amongst the most famous in the world.
Called Pysanky (which means write), these eggs are painted with Hot Wax in colourful intricate patterns, traditional geometric designs and images of or symbolising nature.
Pysanky Egg Decorating Kit from Luba - Everything you need to get started decorating eggs
If you would like to jumpstart your Pysanky egg decorating, you might check out this Luba Ukranian easter egg decorating kit. It provides you with everything you will need except for the eggs.
How to create Pysanky Eggs
Please be aware that this is NOT a fast process. This lens also just gives you a rough idea of how the process is done. The wax is drawn on the egg with a tool called a KISTKA. Since the colours will be added in layers and going from light to dark (in order - from white (the egg colour), through yellow, blue, green, orange, red and brown to black), each time you cover a part of the design with wax, that part of the design does NOT take on the new colour.
Step 1 - The design is drawn out on a RAW egg with PENCIL.
Step 2 - Cover the parts of the design you wish to stay white with the hot wax, and then dip the egg into yellow dye. All parts of the egg NOT covered in wax will become yellow. Allow the egg to dry.
Step 3 - Now cover all parts of the design you wish to stay yellow, and dip the egg into the blue dye (although some blue dyes may have to be applied manually). Allow to dry.
Step 4 - Now cover all parts of the design you wish to stay blue, and dip the egg into the green dye (although some green dyes may have to be applied manually). Allow to dry
Step 5 - Cover all parts of the design that you want to stay green, and then dip the egg into the orange dye and allow to dry.
Step 6 - Cover all parts of the design that you want to stay orange, and then dip the egg into the red dye and allow to dry.
Step 7 - Cover all parts of the design that you want to stay red, and then dip the egg into the brown dye and allow to dry.
Step 8 - Cover all parts of the design that you want to stay brown, and then dip the egg into the black dye and allow to dry. Black is the last colour to be added.
Step 9 - Once the egg is dry you want to melt all the wax off. Hold the egg close to (but NOT IN) a candle flame lightly and and rotate the egg to allow the wax to melt and drip off. Have a soft drying cloth close by to catch the melting wax. Do NOT hold the egg IN the flame or the egg shell itself will burn.
Step 10 - When the egg is dry the egg may be covered in clear varnish to protect the painted design.
The Blue and Gold fabric of the background, are indicative of the origin of these eggs. Those are the colours of the Ukrainian flag.
History and Symbolism of Pysanky Eggs
Eggs, and bunny rabbits have been a symbol of fertility and birth of nature for thousands of years. The Spring equinox (March 21st) represents a time of rebirth - when winter ends and the new life begins. This is why we have the tradition of easter eggs and bunny rabbits. The early christian church adopted the tradition of the equinox as their celebration of the rebirth of man - although that is not what it means.
The Symbolism of Pysanky Eggs
More Pysanky eggs
These painted eggs are done using the Wax-Resist Batik method. Anywhere the wax is on the egg, the dye does not go. The egg is painted with wax and dipped into the dye over and over again as the colours are built up in layers. The order of the dyes must go from white to light and then gradually becoming darker. As the instructor said on the first video below, Once the egg is dyed black, there aint no going back to white..
Photo Source - The Basket Sampler, Michigan
How To Do Pysanky - Ukranian Easter Eggs
Map of the Ukraine
Map Source - CIA World Factbook