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This Instructable shows how to make three different, easy, colorful crafts using eggshells:

  • Yarn eggs
  • Window decorations
  • Decorative, durable eggshells

The first two crafts make use of the fact that eggshells dissolve in vinegar, but fingernail polish does not. (Dunking eggs in vinegar is how people create shell-less eggs, as shown in other Instructables like this one.) I talk about this more in the steps that cover each craft.

So, if you’d like to make some easy, attractive, inexpensive, egg-based crafts mostly using materials you probably already have around your home, then this Instructable is for you!

As a side note: Some of the same techniques used in this Instructable are used in another one I made on how it make an Etched Eggshell Votive Shadow Lamp, so feel free to check that project out too!

Step 1: Materials You’ll Need

You need some simple, common household materials to make these egg-cellent crafts:

  • Raw eggs
  • Fingernail polish. The more pretty, bright colors the better. I ended up just buying a cheap assortment at the grocery store. You’ll also want clear nail polish for the window decorations, and possibly the yarn egg.
  • A plastic bottle cap (to hold the eggshell while you decorate it)
  • Bowl for collecting raw egg innards
  • Recommended: An egg blower. This can be purchased from Amazon.com. Alternatively you could try gently cracking one end of the egg, but that’s risky!

For the yarn eggs and window decorations you’ll also want:

  • Vinegar
  • A cup an egg can fit in
  • For the yarn eggs you’ll need yarn! I’ve found that brighter, more colorful yarn seems to look the best.
  • For the window decorations you’ll want some cardboard, scissors, tape, glue, a pencil, and a utility knife or exacto knife

Step 2: Hollowing Out the Egg

To do any three of these egg-traordinary crafts you'll want to start by hollowing out the eggs.

Using the Egg Blower

If you use an egg blower, use the little drill to carefully make a hole in the egg. When drilling the hole, the key is to constantly apply pressure in the same spot as you rotate the drill. Make the hole all the way through the shell. (If you’re making yarn eggs or window decorations, it doesn’t really matter where you make the hole, but if you’re making decorative eggshells, it’s best to make the hole at either end of the egg.)

Insert the blower's needle (with blower attached) into the hole and flip the egg so that its hole is above a bowl. Use the blower to blow some air into the egg, and be careful – raw egg may start coming out the hole quickly! Repeat this until all of the raw egg is out of the shell. Once it’s all out, use the blower to rinse the inside of the eggshell with water several times (you want it really clean since raw eggs can carry Salmonella). If you want to eat the egg, I recommend changing bowls before doing the water rinse. Put the eggshell somewhere to dry, such as propped up on a paper towel, with the hole facing down, at least overnight.

Cracking Open the Egg

If you don't have an egg blower and you’re feeling brave, and want to make yarn eggs or window decorations, you can try carefully tapping one end of the egg on a hard surface until it’s just barely cracked, and then carefully opening a small hole to let the raw egg out. (Be sure to rinse the shell out well with water since raw eggs can contain Salmonella.)

Step 3: Making Yarn Eggs - Wrapping With Yarn

Picking the Yarn

I used a colorful, lightly-colored yarn to make a really attractive yarn egg. I also tried a darker yarn (see the pictures in step 5), but I prefer the lighter-colored yarn because it looks more cheerful. Pick whatever yarn you like! Because I liked the color of the yarn, I used clear nail polish, but you could use a colored one instead – it should work just as well.

Getting Started

I recommend starting by thoroughly coating one end of the yarn (a short segment, about 3 cm long) in the nail polish and carefully placing it on the egg. (If you don’t mind getting some nail polish on your hands, you may want to wear gloves.) Then wait several minutes for it to dry. Make sure it is securely attached to the egg before winding the yarn around the egg any more.

Wrapping the Egg

With one end secured to the egg, I wrapped the egg about 3 to 4 times and then applied big globs of nail polish all over the yarn to make sure it is thoroughly coated and sticking to the egg. Let it dry before you wrap the egg more and repeat this process. When you are happy with how the yarn looks and how much you've coated the egg with yarn, cut it off from the yarn ball and secure the end in place with nail polish. Let it all dry for a while (I recommend overnight).

Step 4: Making Yarn Eggs – Soaking in Vinegar

After it’s completely dried, the egg is ready to be soaked in vinegar. This will dissolve the shell (specifically, the calcium carbonate in the shell will be dissolved by reacting with the acidic vinegar, making carbon dioxide bubbles along the way), but it will leave the yarn and finger nail polish intact. Because fingernail polish is so strong, the yarn egg will completely hold its shape even after the shell is gone!

Soak for 24 Hours

Submerge the egg in a cup of vinegar for 24 hours. To help submerge the egg, you can use the egg blower to put a little vinegar in the egg and use a spoon to hold the egg down.

Soak in Fresh Vinegar for another 48 Hours

After 24 hours in vinegar, pour out the vinegar and add fresh vinegar to again submerge the yarn egg. At this point, the shell is probably dissolved enough, and the yarn is heavy enough, that you won’t need to hold the yarn down with a spoon – it will stay submerged in the fresh vinegar. Leave it submerged for another 48 hours.

Remove the Egg Membrane and Cleaning the Yarn

After the additional 48 hours, the eggshell should be completely dissolved. You can use tweezers, pliers, or pointed fingernails to carefully remove the membrane from between the layers of yarn. Take the yarn egg out of the vinegar and rinse it with water to get rid of any egg and vinegar residue.

Step 5: Making Yarn Eggs – Enjoying the Final Product!

After rinsing with water, let the yarn egg dry for a while (I recommend overnight). Then enjoy it! Be amazed by how it completely holds its shape!

(Also, while you can make yarn eggs using sugar, these eggs will lose shape in water since sugar is water-soluble, so you can’t ever get them damp or they’d be ruined, but yarn eggs made with fingernail polish are water-proof!)

Step 6: Making Window Decorations – Preparing the Egg

From one egg, you can make six window decorations. To do this, start by using a plastic bottle cap and pencil to make four circles going around the egg, and then one more circle on either pointed end of the egg. Inside each circle you will be making a little picture that will be turned into a window decoration.

Step 7: Making Window Decorations – Decorating With Nail Polish

Adding the Clear Nail Polish

Coat the inside of each circle with two layers of clear nail polish. Let the layers dry between coats, and do not coat the areas between the circles.

Making the Pictures

Once the clear nail polish is dry, use colored nail polish to make a picture within each circle. They can be whatever you want – I made some flowers, insects, and a bird. Be sure to let each color dry before adding another color on top. Leave the edges of the circle clear because they may be covered up by the cardboard frame later.

Let the nail polish completely dry before going on to the next step.

Step 8: Making Window Decorations – Soaking in Vinegar

After it’s completely dried, the egg is ready to be soaked in vinegar. This will dissolve the shell (specifically, the calcium carbonate in the shell will be dissolved by reacting with the acidic vinegar, making carbon dioxide bubbles along the way), but it will leave the fingernail polish intact. You’ll be left with your little pictures, made completely out of fingernail polish!

Soak for 24 Hours

Submerge the egg in a cup of vinegar for 24 hours. To help submerge the egg, you can use the egg blower to put a little vinegar in the egg and use a spoon to hold the egg down.

Soak in Fresh Vinegar for another 48 Hours

After 24 hours in vinegar, pour out the vinegar and add fresh vinegar to again submerge the egg. At this point, the shell is probably dissolved enough that you will not need to use a spoon to hold down the remains. Leave it submerged for another 48 hours.

Remove the Paintings

After the additional 48 hours, the eggshell should be completely dissolved. Carefully take out the painted pieces and gently rinse them with water to remove vinegar and egg residue. If any pieces still have some shell attached (2 of my 6 did), put them in a fresh cup of vinegar for another 24 hours and all of the shell should then be gone.

Step 9: Making Window Decorations – Framing

Drying

Let the paintings completely dry before framing them with cardboard. I set mine on a paper towel overnight to do this. While they’re drying, I recommend putting a bottle cap on them to help keep them flat.

Making the Cardboard Frames

Use the bottle cap and a pencil to make circular outlines on cardboard pieces. Then cut out the area around the circle, such as by cutting a square around the circle. See the pictures for examples. I found that making angular, asymmetrical frames around the circles looked nice. Make two cardboard frames for each painting – you’ll be sandwiching the painting in between them.

Use a utility knife or exacto knife to carefully cut the circle you drew out of the frames. See the pictures for details.

Framing the Paintings

Take one of the paintings you want to frame and carefully place a several small pieces of tape around the edge of the circle. Cover as little of the painting as you can. Arrange the tape so that the sticky side is facing up (facing the direction of the painted side). See the pictures for details.

Stick the painting to the back side of one of the frames. (This would be the side with any markings on it.) Make sure the painting is perfectly outlined by the circular cutout in the frame. Use scissors to trim away any tape that goes past the cardboard frame.

Take a second cardboard frame and place it behind the painting, again making sure the painting it outlined by the circular cutout. You can make the two frames line up with each other, or make them staggered (as I did). Just make sure the circles match. When you’re happy with the placement, glue the two frames together, sandwiching the painting in between them.

Test it with a Window!

Hold it up to a window and watch how the painting is illuminated! The clear frame allows the painting to be outlined (and sometimes silhouetted) against the sunlight.

Step 10: Making Window Decorations – Decorating the Frame

You can use some nail polish to decorate the frame so that it matches the painting. You can look at the pictures here to see how I approached this. It’s up to you to decorate them how you like! I recommend using a few layers of nail polish on the cardboard to make darker details.

Step 11: Making Window Decorations – Enjoying the Final Product!

When you’re all done, you can use/make double-sided tape to attach your window decorations to your window! Enjoy watching them be illuminated by the sunlight!

Step 12: Making Decorative, Durable Eggshells

For this craft, just come up with an idea for painting the eggshell, and then do it! You can plan it out in pencil if you’d like. I recommend coating the entire egg in 2-3 layers of clear nail polish (letting it dry in between coats) to make the egg super strong before adding colored layers. I made a sunset scene with grass on the bottom and a colorful sky all around. I added an apple tree, a bunny, and some huge, colorful, decorated eggs. For round blobs, like the apples on the tree, carefully let a drop fall onto the egg, keeping it horizontal to the drop so it doesn’t roll down the egg!

Decorating eggshells using fingernail polish results in a very durable eggshell compared to the most common methods, such as just using dye tablets. When you’re all done, if you have around 4-5 layers of nail polish, the egg should withstand being dropped from several feet (although I wouldn’t recommend testing this if you’ve become attached to your decorated eggshell!).

Enjoy your decorated eggshell without fear that it could easily break!

<p>This is probably the most thoroughly-documented eggcraft 'ible I've yet seen. Nice work! Thanks for explaining everything!</p>
<p>Thanks, craftclarity! You may want to check out this other eggcraft 'ible I did too: https://www.instructables.com/id/Egg-Lamp-Projector/ Thanks for checking out my 'ible!</p>

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Bio: I am a scientist, professional science writer, and science educator. I'm also author of the Biology Bytes books: http://www.biology-bytes.com/book/.
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