Pysanky is a traditional craft in Ukraine and Poland. The method is similar to batik - patterns are drawn on the egg with wax, which then protects the covered areas from the dye that is applied. By repeating this process with different colors of dye, a multi-colored pattern is built up. Finally, the wax is removed to reveal the colors that were covered up at each stage. A layer of polyurethane can be added over the finished egg to protect the dyed design and to give a gloss finish.

Traditionally, the eggs were left whole. They would eventually dry out and become light. Some of my eggs are left whole, in keeping with tradition. Some of my eggs are blown to allow them to be hung as ornaments.

to see many other examples of these eggs, check out my Pysanky gallery on Flickr

Step 1: Materials Needed:

Pure Beeswax Block
Heat Tool (optional)
Paper Towels

Before you begin, WASH YOUR HANDS! Oils on your hands can get on the egg shells and cause uneven dyeing. It helps to make sure your hands are clean before you start handling the eggs.

always start with room temperature eggs. cold eggs will sweat marring your pencil lines or your dye.
<p>I've found that trying to use was chips or the tiny heart forms and such is a major hassle. I've found (unfortunately, no clue where!) a flat-topped, beeswax &quot;cone&quot; that I simply drag/dip my hot kistka across to fill with wax. Works great!</p><p>I learned how to do pysanky in Rome, New York in 1985-ish. I believe the kit we got in the class was from the gift shop mentioned below. Come to think of it, the kit was probably one of the basic &quot;paper bag&quot; kits mentioned on their web site! One or two Kistke, a small wax cake and about 6 basic colors. Being first active duty Air Force then an U.S.A.F. dependant and living all over the world, my pysanky supplies have followed me; I still have the original kistkes! An electric kistka with several different tip sizes, several additional colors, and an egg lathe (for draw in straight lines around the egg) has joined the kit, but it's still very basic. Pysanky IS a very basic craft. It's the artists SKILL that makes it gorgeous!!!</p><p>I usually blow my eggs then carefully seal the holes with wax. To keep them submerged in the dye (which glass canning jars are the perfect size for doing pysanky!), use a partially filled school-glue bottle gently placed on top of the egg and turn the egg occasionally. (All of this pysanky talk makes me want to get my supplies out and dig in!! There are several awesome suggestions that will be used. Thanks to all!!!)</p><p>I've been to the shop two or three times (family still lives there), and ordered online from the Ukranian Gift Shop in Minnesota, &lt; <a href="http://www.ukrainiangift%20shop.com/" rel="nofollow">www.ukrainiangift shop.com </a>&gt;. The first time I was there, Marie Procai, Luba Perchyshyn and Johanna Luciow were all there. It was an honor to meet the great ladies of American Pysanka!</p>
<p>I had Ukrainian neighbors who practiced Pysanky. Your instructable is wonderful, especially they dying guides.</p>
A very nice craft instructable, and it's nice to see some of your culture. I noticed that people are asking about where you get the tools or the dye, but no one is asking this: where on earth do you get white chicken's eggs from? Are they organic / free range? Would they look as beautiful if you used brown eggs?
<p>White eggs come from white chickens.</p>
<p>Interesting. We have a choice between a lot of white eggs and fewer brown ones. Different cultures!</p><p>Beautiful egg dying! The Wendish also dye eggs. Check out http://lonestarmafc.com/tours/Wendish/Wen14.jpg</p>
<p>Greeting from Poland. Beautiful pisanki. My children will make pisanki today or tommorow in simplified form, but not using stikers or similar. Only painting. We also colors eggs in outer layer of onions (the brown one), and next, using sharp tool make designs.</p>
<p>Greeting from Poland. We have the same tradition. Many, many years...</p>
<p>Lovely work of art. This is the first time, I'm seeing any thing from Ukraine. Very beautifully and painstakingly done. Bravo.</p><p>Please post more works of art.</p><p>Thank you.</p>
<p>We have been making pysanky for many years. We even purchased a set of electric kistky from the Ukrainian Gift Shop in Minneapolis-St. Paul.</p>
<p>Thank you so much for your wonderful tutorial. I have wanted to attempt this for years but the directions I found were either confusing or didn't make sense to me.</p><p>I have one question please, did you use small drill bit to make the holes for when you blew out your eggs??</p><p>Again thank you for your tutorial :)</p>
<p>Greeting form Slovakia. We have the same tradition. Many, many years...</p>
<p>I haven't done this in ages. Philadelphia has aa big eastern european section and that's where I've gotten most of my supplies (once upon a time AC Moore had kits but that was only for one season). For small pieces of bee's-wax, you can check out the sewing and beading sections of craft and sewing stores - it's used as a thread conditioner.</p><p>Taking this technique, I've done &quot;acid&quot; washing. You need a colored egg (like a brown egg or an emu egg) and the wax. You draw your design in the wax and then soak it in vinegar. You have to be careful not to let it soak too long or it will collapse.</p>
<p>Amazing! Wow! I definitely want to do this for Easter!</p><p>So pretty!</p>
<p>Wow! I have never heard of this before. But this is beautiful. How can this art be dying? It's such a waste to let something this beautiful just die. :(</p><p>My interest in the Ukrainian culture started just about a week ago. I met a Ukrainian friend who shares a lot about their culture and history. He sometimes even cooks Ukrainian cuisine for me! Salo and Solyanka, and his favorite, Olivier. I put in more effort to know more about their culture by enrolling my self in <a href="http://preply.com/en/ukrainian-by-skype" rel="nofollow">http://preply.com/en/ukrainian-by-skype</a> where I take Ukrainian classes online. (Okay, since I mentioned Ukrainian food earlier, I am suddenly craving. I hate it when this happens..)</p><p>He's told me a lot about Ukraine, but this is one thing he never mentioned to me. Maybe because men don't really do this sort of stuff? I don't know. But I'm sure if he mentioned this earlier, I would've pestered him to get me those materials. Haha! </p><p>Anyway, I would like to try to make some of these. I hope I can get all the materials needed. Thank you for sharing this!</p>
<p>Heheheh! It's actually not dying, but it IS &quot;egg-DYEing&quot;! ;-) </p><p>It's also fairly easy and a ton of fun, which will amaze your nearest and dearest when you present them with a multi-colored egg. They usually won't have a clue about how you did it. </p><p>Cheers! </p>
<p>I used to do pysanky every Easter for many years, having learned the craft in my 20's. I haven't touched the craft since I moved to Japan, but I still have all the equipment&ndash;lathe, beeswax, pens, etc. My co-workers will be surprised this year with some old, traditional designs, mostly based on yellow/golden &quot;crosses&quot; represented by 8-pointed stars. </p><p>I've always used hard-boiled eggs and the 'dye' was food coloring, warm water and vinegar. The shells always ended up a deep, chocolate-brown after repeated dyeing, from zero, to yellow, to the orange/red and then the green/blue/violet colors. After removing the wax, I'd then rub the shells with lard or oil that protected the dyed finish for many years.</p><p>This is a great &quot;instructable&quot; and you really should try it! If you have kids or grand-kids, 9-10-year-olds can learn this craft very quickly and the younger ones can still have a go at it, without the complicated &quot;geometry&quot;.</p>
<p>Another tip for others, </p><p>There are special egg dyes that you can buy sometimes around Easter time in supermarkets or in specialist stores. </p>
<p>We dye eggs in my family for Easter but we do a lot simpler although sometimes we dye the eggs different colours. We are polish. </p><p>This is so much fun to do. :) </p><p>A tip is to make many and get those little fluffy chicks(or the clay ones) and place the dyed eggs and the chicks in a bowl and have it on your dining table or coffee table. It's so cute!</p>
<p>the pencil lines stay on the egg after wax is removed making an ugly finish</p>
<p>Be sure to use a hard pencil - #3 or above - and a light hand when writing in pencil. With experience you'll be able to get by with minimal pencil lines and go direct to wax. Another trick I learned is wiping the egg lightly with a bit of scripto lighter fluid on paper towel after removing wax - cleans wax residue &amp; removes pencil lines .</p>
<p>Thank you for the instructable. I was given one of the decorating tools but had no idea how to use it.</p>
<p>Aamazing.</p><p>Ukrainian's Pysanka is so wonderful!</p>
For the largest selection of pysanky Ukrainian Easter eggs decorating supplies go to http://www.bestpysanky.com/Pysanky-Supplies-s/60.htm<br>Traditional and electrical kistka, egg dyes, beeswax, egg stands and already decorated Easter eggs are for sale.
&quot;<b>Kistka</b>&quot; means &quot;<b>Brush</b>&quot;, btw =) <br>
<p>Actually, it means &quot;little bone.&quot; Current theory is that the first tools were carved from chicken leg bones.</p>
<p>Nossa que lindo, mas n&atilde; vou conseguir fazer, bem a gente tenta n&eacute;, mas os ovos n&atilde;o tem que tirar a gema e a clara, como furar ?</p>
Beautiful! You have a lot of patience and a steady hand!
WOW! Nice!
The instruction series were well done. Check out the site Ukrainianeggs.com for ideas of various designs and supplies.
Thanks so much. My Russian Grandmother used to do something very similar melting colored wax, crayons, and dipping a large head pin, head first, into the wax and using that to make the designs. Dots, Lines that were fat &amp; then tapered out, etc.
Where did you get the clear rings to display your eggs? I did pysanky eggs many years ago after taking a class, and never found a good way to display them other than egg cup holders. I love the look of the clear plastic ring to display the egg. Beautiful work!
You could also get a clear poly tube and cut it using a coping saw or similar to make your own. It depends on how many you are going to do. You can also get the rings esmecat used at a lot of geology stores. People use them to display geodes and whatnot.
those rings are another item available from the ukrainina gift shop... check out tier website for tons of display ideas....<br>
Cool! my mom does this :)
I was gifted an egg nearly identical to the black one with the deer on it, over 20 years ago. It's one of the few things that I still have that has survived all of my travelling.
If you don't use the whole dye right away. Can you put the liquid in a jar and use it the day later. Do you need to reheat it?
We've been doing this for years, using first the traditional tools , made by my father-in-law from the cut up side of a soda can wired onto a stick, and more recently the electric kistky from Ukrainian Gift Shop in Minneapolis.<br>
where do i get beeswax?
you can get beeswax in craft stores like Michaels in the candlemaking section. you can usually get a better price through by ordering from places online geared toward making your own beauty products.<br><br> but with either of those options you are probably going to have to buy by the pound. for pysanky, you need only a very small block of wax. if you check out any of the pysanky shops online, you can get small blocks of wax... but more expensive per ounce than the by the pound route. <br><br>my favorite online shop is the Ukrainian gift shop. http://www.ukrainiangiftshop.com/
We have the same thing in Poland :) Its pronounced the same I guess but spelled &quot;pisanki.&quot; Nice tutorial too.
what kind of dye do you use please? is it food colouring or clothing dyes?
not food coloring. food coloring doesn't give vivid colors. <br><br>this is a special dye for pysanky from the ukrainian gift shop. it is an aniline dye and not food safe (so no eating the eggs after!)
Not to sound dumb or anything but where do you find the black dye?
all the dyes are available from the ukrainian gift shop - just google and you'll find them. these aren't the same as the egg dyes you get in the grocery store at easter... to get the vivid colors of these eggs, you need the non food safe (ie don;t eat the eggs) aniline dyes.
the designs are gorgeous. have you tried similar techniques on anything more permanent? like wood cut to the shape of an egg? i'd like to try this, but using something other than eggs.
actually, the eggs are permanent. these dyes are not food safe and the eggs are meant to be kept, not eaten. i have eggs (even whole raw eggs) that are more than 20 years old. actually, the whole eggs tend to last longer than the blown ones,because people tend to handle them more carefully. a layer of polyurethane(oil based) to protect the dyed shell surface does a lot to strengthen the shells. <br><br>there is also a tradition of painted wood eggs from Russia and the Ukrainian. you could definitely transfer these design ideas onto a wooden egg. i'm not sure the wax process would work so well though... seems to me the wax would stick in the porous grain of the wood when you went to remove it... plus the dyes would wick along the grain under the wax..... <br><br>to me, the wooden eggs and other replica style eggs lose something... the spirit of ephemeral and delicate nature of the eggs is lost. they feel heavy and clumsy in comparison. <br><br>good luck with your experimentations!
nice eggs, in Ukraine is possible to purchase the same :)
Another option: After blowing the eggs, put some of the vinegar solution into them with a syringe, give them a gentle shake and re-blow them, to rinse out the inside of the egg... never had a smelly egg.

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