Collection of decorated eggs in colors red and black
Goose egg on artist's table with tools, beeswax and alcohol burner.
Artist holding decorated pheasant egg
basket of brightly decorated pysanky

​- Step by step instruction pages and tutorials
​- Pattern sheets
​- Video tutorials

DIY Pysanky
To make pysanky yourself, you need a few basic ingredients. Most are already in your home! The rest are readily available and inexpensive. 

You will need:
- Clean, raw eggs at room temperature. It is possible to purchase blown, empty and cleaned shells but for the beginner it is perfectly fine to use regular grocery store eggs or from your neighborhood hens.
​- Prepared dyes, also at room temperature
​- Spoons
​- Vinegar (White vinegar is best)
​- Beeswax 
​- Stylus(es)
​- Candle and holder
​- Matches or a lighter
​- Pencil (I prefer mechanical but it doesn't matter)
​- Paper towels (Viva is my preference because they last but use what you have), paper plates/bowls

You might want:
​- Q-tips 
​- Cleaning solution(s) 
​- Urethane varnish or vaseline 
​- Drying rack (very easy to make from cardboard and tacks, floral wire and sand / beans / litter or even rock racks)

Prepare your eggs:
Wash your eggs with room temperature water with fingertips if they are very dirty using Ivory dish soap or other gentle soap.  Stains will disappear under the design but if you are very concerned, a Magic Eraser sponge used very gently can be useful.  Pat the eggs dry gently, do not scrub, and let dry.  Use a large towel on a baking sheet so they don't roll.
Carefully inspect your eggs. Discard any with cracks, weak spots, irregular shapes, or more bumps on the surface than you would like to have on an artistic surface. Sometimes those bumpy eggs can be fun but it can be difficult to remove wax from those crevices.  Holding them to a bright light, called candling, ensures you don’t miss the cracks and weak areas.

Keep your room temperature eggs in a paper egg carton while you work.  Make sure they can’t roll away. It bears repeating. Round things roll. On a plate, in a bowl or carton will prevent sadness while you are creating your masterwork.

Prepare your work area:​
1. Cover your work area with old newspapers or a plastic tablecloth. Have your cooled, room temperature dyes in jars nearby or on the work surface as room allows. Make a placemat from a small stack of paper towels and use a paper plate or bowl to contain your egg. They roll.

2. Make sure there is adequate light.  Even lighting is preferred with no shadows. Use lamps as needed.

3. Have everything you need at hand: candle, matches, pencil, styluses, wax, design sheets, paper towels.

4. Ensure your work area is warm enough. Wax adheres best to the egg surface if the room is above 68F.

Select a design:
Plan ahead.  If this is your first time making pysanky, limit your colors. Remember how the process works. Choose a design from a book or from pattern sheets.  If creating your own pattern, sketch out a rough version on paper. Practice on your paper plate so you can get a feel of temperature control and how the wax flows.  Decide what sort of division works best for your design, what colors you will be using and pencil in your basic guidelines. Get to work! Oh, and pull back your hair. Fact: Hair does not have to be in flame to catch on fire. I tested this fact for you when I was 11 so you don't have to. 

Draw the design on in pencil:
Proceed to draw the basic design on a clean, dry egg at room temperature.  Draw lightly, like a whisper,  with the pencil.  Use the pencil to draw basic divisions and lines; DO NOT draw on every single little detail. It is unnecessary. 
If you make a mistake with the pencil, DO NOT use the eraser on it. Remember: light pencil lines will not show up on the final design and will usually be removed when the wax is removed. If there are still a few lines present, either put more wax on and remove the wax or use GooGone on a cotton pad or cotton swab and very gently dab away the pencil lines. Pencil lines don't bother me. I like them when I see them in watercolor paintings so don't sweat the details. 


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