Intro: How to Make an Irretrievable Easter Egg
Last year, we took our then-3-year-old to the neighborhood park for an Easter Egg Hunt. Watching little kids engage in primal (yet adorable) hunting-and-gathering behavior was fascinating. Volumes of books could be written about the complex behavioral patterns displayed at an average egg hunt. I began to wonder what would happen if you injected an element of (mostly) harmless futility into this precious celebratory tradition. So, I made this tantalizing, yet Irretrievable Easter Egg. Hopefully the results would be both amusing an non-psyche-scaring.
Step 1: Gather the Materials
Here's what you need:
1 - Spiral tie out stake - $1.99 at Harbor Freight
1 - Large easter egg - $0.30
1 cup - Concrete mix - $0.50
And, if you want to be fancy, you could also use:
1 can - Spray paint
1 - 8" Gutter nail or similarly long bolt, or piece of rebar
Some hot glue or epoxy
Some bits of steel wire
To do all this, you'll need the following tools:
A vise, hacksaw or reciprocating saw, a pair of vise-grip pliers, a hammer, a mixing container, and some masking tape
Step 2: Mangle the Stake
Remove the steel tether ring from the stake. I used my reciprocating saw with a metal cutting blade to chop part of the ring off.
Clamp the stake into a vice near the top triangular handle. Now, pound, bend, and yank the bottom leg of the triangle into loop. Place a piece of rebar inside the loop to keep it from closing too much.
After forming the ring, you may need to close the remaining part of the handle to make it fit inside the egg better.
Step 3: Drill a Hole in the Egg
Now, drill a hole in the bottom of one of the egg halves to fit the bent handle into. Be careful. I cracked my egg. If that happens, a quick patch with some hot glue should work. Also, I used the hot glue to fill the gaps around the stake and the hole and to fill the egg's vent holes.
Step 4: Fill Half the Egg With Concrete
Now comes the fun part. Mix up half your concrete and fill the egg half the stake was inserted through. Make sure to pack it down nice and dense. I used a plastic mixing spoon.
After filling, set the egg half aside to harden. I set mine on a spool of wire to keep it balanced while it dried. When dry, you should have a nice firm egg half with a loop of steel sticking out.
Step 5: Now Fill the Other Half
After the concrete in the first half egg has dried, mix up the remaining concrete. Fill the other half egg with the wet concrete. Now comes the hard part - fitting the two pieces together. Hold the "wet" half egg in one hand and slowly press the "dry" half egg down into it. You'll need to twist the eggs back and forth to push the wet concrete into the space inside the steel loop. There's probably going to be concrete oozing out. Hopefully you didn't make the concrete too wet.
After a few minutes of shoving and twisting, the halves should be pretty close together. Resist the urge to open the halves and scrape out the concrete as much as possible. Opening them will likely cause a new mess.
I, of course, opened mine. If you do the same, you'll likely be holding two messy half eggs wondering if this is really worth the 60 seconds or so of humor it's likely to produce. Reassure yourself that it will and continue on.
As concrete oozes out you'll be tempted to wash off the outsides of the egg. Don't run the egg under a stream of water. It will only create more mess. Instead, keep switching the egg back and forth, from hand to hand, and rinse off the hand not holding the egg. You'll effectively be wiping off the egg with your hands and washing them with water.
Once I had the halves very close together, I decided to tap the "wet" half on the ground to close it that final 1/8". This resulted in cracking that half. Undaunted, I set the egg down, got some tape, and taped up th entire egg. Splitting the egg won't ruin things, but it does take away the option of leaving the plastic on the finished egg. With a split egg, I'll have to remove the plastic egg and paint the concrete.
Step 6: Fix Any Mistakes
After the concrete had setup, I decided to remove the plastic to let it dry faster. (I needed to use the egg the next day.) Sadly, a sizable portion of the concrete stuck to the inside of the egg. It probably latched onto the hot glue I'd used to fill the drain holes. So, I decided to put the two broken pieces of plastic back on and secure them with hot glue.
Try as I might, I couldn't get the broken pieces anywhere near as tight-fitting as they were moments earlier. Nevertheless, I forced them into place and slapped a stick-and-a-half of hot glue into the seams. This made the seams very visible. So, I decided to use that to my advantage and make the seams part of the decoration. I added more glue to look like piping. In the end, I reached a point where I was satisfied with how I'd hidden the breaks.
Step 7: Paint the Egg
Next came painting. I cut up a bunch of little diamond shapes from some masking tape and placed them on the unglued areas of the egg. I kinda rushed this step, so I expect others could do a real Martha Stewart number on one of these that would put me to shame. Anyway, I was satisfied.
I had some silver spray paint left over from a previous project, so I opted to use that. It was really convenient having a giant spiral stake sticking out of the egg that I could drive into the ground for painting. A few minutes later and I had an egg bearing an uncanny resemblance to a Holy Hand Grenade.
Once the paint had dried, I peeled off the tape. Considering that I had to overcome the cracked plastic disaster, I was pretty pleased with the results.
Step 8: Install and Enjoy
Installation was pretty easy. Some folks might choose to skip the earlier "Mangle the Stake" step, but here's where it pays off. The loop I'd bent into the stake provided a place for me to slide a piece of rebar into to help twist. I hit a small root about halfway down, but having the extra leverage of the rebar made twisting through it no problem.
Once I'd gotten the egg down to ground level, I hammered in an 8" bolt through the steel loop, thus preventing the egg from being unscrewed. I used a piece of rebar to hammer the bolt in the last few inches.
Now, we stood back and waited for hilarity to ensue.