Instructables

Escher Easter Egg

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This Instructable will show you how to make an M.C.Escher-inspired Easter Egg in the traditional Ukrainian style, pysanka .
Pysanka Easter Eggs are created using a wax-resist (batik) technique.  The technique allows for very intricate designs, but requires lots of patience!  Basically, wax is applied to areas to be kept white.  The egg is then dipped in a light colored dye.  Wax is then applied to areas that should remain this color.  This method is repeated with progressively darker colors until the design is complete.  I'll run through all the steps to make the two Escher-inspired eggs shown.

To get started you'll need a few items
* raw egg (You will blow out and discard the egg after dying)
* pencil
* eraser
* kistka - stylus used to apply wax to the egg
* wax
* dyes - various colors prepared following packet instructions
* jars - big enough to fit an egg through the opening
* egg dipper - I made one out of a scrap of coat hanger
* paper towel
* candle
* clear varnish, polyurethane

For hanging egg
* thread
* pin
* toothpick

I picked up pysanka materials from a local Ukrainian Museum .  There are several kits that you can buy online for pretty cheap.  Just Google "pysanka kit".  The kistka, or stylus, come in three sizes: Fine, Medium, and Large.  I use almost exclusively the medium stylus.





 
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Step 1: Pick your inspiration

This Instructable will show eggs based on two woodcuts by famous Dutch Artist M.C. Escher, "Circle Limit III" and "Fish and Waves"

If you want, pick your own tessellation and map it to the eggs surface. 

Modifications
I had to modify the Circle Limit for it to work on the egg.  I also modified the colors to make it easier.  I removed the waves from "Fish and Waves" to make the design simpler, and added colors.


These are very beautiful! I visited a Ukrainian museum in Chicago last week and saw their collection of pysanka. It was amazing, and I've been thinking of making some of my own. Thanks for this instructable!
Can't wait to make this for my mother and Ukrainian relatives :) Excellent work!
artonline2 years ago
in reality they look even more beautiful. I think that the main difficulty is the fact that the painting on a round surface is difficult to take into account all the distortions!
Ukrainian painting
sojeo2 years ago
Congratulations! I'm also an Escher fan, those eggs are terrific!
yorisimo (author)  sojeo2 years ago
Thanks for the kind words! Congrats to you as well! Your ostrich egg is amazingly intricate and accurate. I am truly honored to be a contest winner with you.
yorisimo (author) 2 years ago
I've used the same dyes for almost 10 years. They will lose their potency somewhat, so you may have to keep the eggs in a little longer. I've found that reheating the jars in the microwave and stirring in a little white vinegar (~1 tsp) can get the dyes working better again. Make sure to let the dyes cool again, so you don't melt the wax while dying.
yorisimo (author) 2 years ago
When you poke the hole in the egg, sometimes the membrane inside the egg prevents the yolk from coming out easily. I found that heating the tip of the syringe (just hold it in the flame for a few seconds) and singeing the membrane in the hole helps to get the egg to flow out better. Note that the varnish is probably very flammable, so don't just hold the flame up to the hole.
flyingpuppy2 years ago
LOVELY! I did one of these many years ago and have been looking for a stylus ever since and can't find one. Where did you get the stylus?
yorisimo (author)  flyingpuppy2 years ago
I got mine at a local Ukranian Museum (see Intro step)...but you can find them online very easily by Googling "pysanka kit" Here's one that popped up: http://www.amazon.com/Lubas-Ukrainian-Easter-Egg-Decorating/dp/B004KMVS3W
Wow.They're gorgeous!!
jephos2 years ago
wow, these are schuperb, i want one
yorisimo (author)  jephos2 years ago
Thanks! Maybe if I win the EggBot I can start mass production :P
wenpherd2 years ago
Thisch isch awschome.
Ciege6662 years ago
Just an idea, instead of using a candle for the wax removal step if you had one handy would a heat gun not be easier and quicker ?
yorisimo (author)  Ciege6662 years ago
Probably...haven't tried it. The candle method is obviously the traditional method but it's very slow so maybe I'll try a hair dryer on my next one. Thanks for the idea!
OH and i failed to say this earlier, the eggs look great!
bajablue2 years ago
A glue gun? Brilliant!!!

Great instructable, btw!
wxl22 years ago
you make it look so easy1
Way to go maurits!
poofrabbit2 years ago
I love theses! Very well done. I'm a big Escher fan and love the use of his work on eggs. Voted for you. Good luck!
busgreta2 years ago
Escher should be proud! Fabulous job.
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