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Looking to add a little additional surprise to an Easter Egg hunt?  Add personalized messages and images to some of the eggs with a laser cutter.  Watch the faces on the little ones as they try to figure out how the Easter Bunny managed to carve such detail into the eggs...

This instructable shows the results of laser engraving both before and after dyeing the eggs.

I made this at TechShop www.techshop.ws

Step 1: Materials and Equipment

Boiled Eggs
Easter Egg Dye Kit
Vector drawing software (I used CorelDRAW)
Laser cutter (my TechShop has a Trotec Speedy 300)

This instructable assumes some basic familiarity with CorelDRAW and a laser cutter.

Step 2: Boil and Dye Some Eggs

Feel free to boil your eggs in whatever fashion you like. 

I tend to:
- Put eggs in a pot
- Add water until the eggs are fully submerged (maybe an extra inch of water)
- Bring water to a boil
- Boil for about ten minutes
- Let cool a little then drain off water
- Make sure eggs are dry before lasering

Dye eggs according to the instructions on the dye kit.  Dyeing the eggs first will result in significantly higher contrast between the engraving and the rest of the shell.  Dye the eggs after if you are looking for a much more subtle effect.

Step 3: Prepare Text and Images

Eggs are, well, egg shaped.  This results in a usable area of about 1"x1.25" on the face of a large egg.  If you have access to a rotary attachment on your laser cutter you can engrave all the way around the circumference, but we won't be doing that this time.  Here you can see some of the simple text and clip art that I used on my eggs.

Step 4: Engrave the Eggs

Place the egg on the laser cutter and adjust the focus to the top of the egg.  Most laser cutters have enough focal range to allow for the curvature of the egg over the mentioned 1"x1.25" area.  Make sure the egg is stable or it may rock a little and result in blurry text or images (I found this out when one of my eggs didn't sit well on the honeycomb tray).  I found that settings of 100% power and 70% speed worked well with my laser cutter.  The same settings seemed to work whether the eggs were dyed already or not.

Step 5: Dye Any Plain Eggs

If you engraved any of the plain eggs, finish them off by dyeing them now. Remember dyeing them after engraving will result in relatively faint text and images.

Step 6: Hide or Display Your Results

Hopefully you have ended up with a set of unusual and unexpected Easter Eggs.  Whether used in an Easter Egg hunt or simply put on display, enjoy your creations!
<p>Several varieties of chickens and other birds make eggs that are already colored. I recently saw an all black chicken that laid an all black egg.</p>
You can use a small 'wad' of playdough to keep the egg stable while etching.

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