In the frenzy of decorating Easter Eggs, we decided to play around with a severely underused part of the egg - the inside. No, not the yolk or the...other part of it, but the inside of the empty shell. After a few experiments, we determined that we could put silhouettes inside an egg, light it from the inside, and create an illusion of people attempting to escape their calcium prison, or other such fun. It was just a short leap to utilizing color for added effects, so we went to work on a fully developed Shadow Egg. And here's how you can do the same!
Step 1: Hollow the Egg
Start by poking a small hole into the bottom of the egg with the thumbtack. Then, using the nail, gradually increase the size of the hole by gently tapping away at the sides of the hole you've created. Once the hole is big enough for the tip of a finger to get through it, it's time to flip the egg over and let it drain into the bowl. You may need to use the nail to break up the contents so it drains easier.
Once the egg is empty, fill it with water and dump it out a few times until the water runs clear, so you know it's clean. Set it on the napkin (hole side down), and let it dry while you move on to the next step.
Step 2: Optional: Build a Light Bulb
If you just want to cast shadows, go ahead and use a tealight.
If you want to project colors, like we did, here's a brief electronics lesson:
First of all, if you have no experience with electronics, don't fear! Go to a store like Radio Shack or Fry's or J and K Electronics where people know how to build circuits and ask them questions. They will recommend LEDs, resistors, etc, and you'll be good to go.
You will need an LED (as bright as you can find it, and white so the colors stay the color they're supposed to be), a battery connection, and a resistor, so that you don't overload the LED and burn it out. The resistor will change based on the LED and the battery. Personally, I used a 9V battery and a 300ohm resister. Together, all of this'll cost around $6.50, depending on where you go.
Attach the longer of the two wires coming out of the LED light to the resistor. Attach the other end of the LED to the BLACK wire. We wanted to be able to turn the LED on and off, and were too cheap to buy a switch, so we left the red wire loose. We could turn the light on by simply touching the exposed part of the wire to the other end of the resistor. Also, as a happy side effect, it gave us a neat flicker effect that looked like lightning or surging electricity; perfect for a laboratory environment.
Now, a word about what I mean by "Attach". In a perfect world, I mean solder. We had no soldering gun. In a near-perfect world, I mean use a breadboard or a project box from the electronics store. Again, not so much. We used electrical tape to get the wires to stay together. If you use this method, know that it takes time and focus, so be patient.
After this, you can simply slip the cover over the LED, and you have a neat little stand for your egg!
Step 3: Planning!
For me, I knew the teleporter pods would always be there. Turning on the light would make the teleportation happen, with people and chickens appearing in fields of warped colors.
Step 4: Image Gathering
You can do this one of two ways: on a computer or by hand, depending on what you're more comfortable with. Either way, your goal is to fill a paper with little images that'll go inside your egg. Black images will appear as shadows, while colors will be projected onto your egg wall. Keep in mind that we're not building a real projector, so you probably don't want anything too detailed. Fields of color, fire, things like that should work nicely. I say you want to fill a page because you'll be getting a special print of these images, and you want to get your money's worth. Come up with two or five eggs, maybe they all work together, maybe they don't, just have fun!
Keep in mind also that these pictures will be stuffed up into an egg. So if they're wider than the hole you made in the bottom of the egg, you'll have some trouble.
Step 5: Make It See-Through!
Step 6: Slice and Dice
Step 7: Glue Stuff in the Egg
So if you're like me, you may have to layer two images together, take some time to do that. Once that's done (or if you don't have to), it's time glue things into the egg. Before you begin, make sure the inside of your egg is dry. If it isn't, wait until it is, otherwise you'll suffer a lot of heartbreak.
The basic process is this: apply glue to the image. Balance the image on your finger, stick your finger into the egg, and press the glued side into the side of the egg and hold it there for a minute or two. You'll need to apply just enough pressure to keep the image in place, but not so much that you crack it. If you do crack it, however, krazy glue actually creates a nice little liquid-eggshell-bandage, as we found out.
Now, since you've already gotten a super-bright light that fits inside your egg (you did, right?) you can put it inside your egg now and see how your effect is shaping up. If anything that you'll be drawing on the outside of your egg is based on the stuff inside (the teleporters are based on how big the color fields are), pencil in some reference points for you to...well, refer to when you're drawing on your egg in the next step.
Step 8: Draw on the Outside of the Egg
Also, a black Sharpie will block the light coming from inside the egg. Markers will let a little light bleed through, which can give you some interesting effects. Using a blue for a night sky, for example. Bonus points for reusing that thumbtack to poke a few stars in the sky.