I feel I am committing a “craft crime” when I admit I prefer my Easter eggs un-dyed; white, brown, blue…any hue they wear in nature is good enough for me. This preference can be traced to my childhood growing up on a farm. I still recall the chicken coop, light seeping in between the boards, the mildly indignant whispers of the hens whenever I would enter, and the still-warm eggs gathered in a wire basket. It is as vivid a snapshot of happiness as I can conjure.
Mind you, I have dyed my share of eggs in my time. As a child my grandmother used vegetable skins but as I grew older I graduated to garish-hued bowls of Kool-Aid or Paas pellets (complete with that flimsy, wire egg holder). As an adult I have hand-painted eggs, I have rubber-stamped eggs, I have applied stickers to eggs, and used markers and crayons and pencils on eggs. I’ve wrapped them in fabric and origami papers, I’ve even attempted the traditional Ukranian wax technique (attempted, I say, though not mastered). But, invariably, my preference remains for plain eggs in their plain shells.
Unadorned eggs may be fine for me but, as an uncle to five nieces, I have obligations that extend beyond my personal preferences. So this year, I have decided to keep the eggs white but wrap each one in as colorful a paper container as I can come up with.
I like to keep my decorate eggs year after year so for me the process begins by emptying three dozen eggs of their yolks and whites. I used the sharp tip of a tiny cuticle scissor to make a small hole in the top and bottom of each egg before then patiently blowing out the contents. (Tip: it helps to first insert a toothpick into the egg to puncture the yolk, otherwise all the blowing in the world won’t force the contents out through the tiny hole you have made.) Then I washed the empty shells in warm, soapy water and let them dry completely before proceeding.
Once I had my empty shells — my blank canvases, as it were — it is time to begin . This year I was aiming for something modern (maybe even post-modern). I have included three brief tutorials below and a photographs of a few additional ideas just for inspiration.
Happy (Easter) crafting.
The Egg Basket
1.) This was the my first idea and, while I love the result, above, I feel I ought to give readers fair warning, this took the longest to make and required the steadiest hand. If you’re up for the challenge, let’s begin.
2.) Begin with strips of paper in a variety of colors, 3/8″ x 9″and assembled them into a simple box-weave pattern (Tip: It helps to tape the top 1/2″ of the vertical strips to your work surface, then you can weave in all of the horizontal strips without everything shifting around.)
3.) Once the verticals and horizontals are in place, add a diagonal strip across the entire surface. Repeat with a second diagonal strip going in the other direction (I used a bright green strip, not shown in this photo). (Tip: this is a traditional caning pattern. You can find more detailed information about achieving this pattern here.)
4.) Once the woven pattern is complete, turn it over (carefully; it helps if you leave on the tape from step 2.) Use a good paper glue to secure all the areas where the paper strips overlap (I prefer Lineco’s Neutral pH Adhesive for most paper work). I suggest being generous with your glue in order to insure the strips don’t “unravel” in the following steps.
5.) When the glue is dry, begin forming your container. My finished piece was 1 7/8″ x 2 3/4″ (roomy enough for an extra-large egg). Score each crease before folding it against the side of a straightedge. Be sure to leave a flap at least 1/2″ wide on one edge to act as the overlap.
6.) Fold the four sides into a box-shape and glue along the 1/2″ overlap created in step 5.
7.) Carefully cut flaps in each end of the box. Each flap is 1 1/2″ long. (Here is where a strip may fall off if it hasn’t been properly glued during step 4, above.)
8.) Insert your egg, fold shut the flaps and glue in place. Ta-da! You’re done.
The Scotch Egg
1.) I learned my lesson with the egg basket, above. For this second design, I kept it simple. Named for the delicious (and fattening) concoction it resembles, this has a bold, graphic, and tailored look.
2.) You will need two equal-size circles, mine are each 2 1/2″ in diameter. Use a hole cutter to make a differently sized circles in each disk. To determine the width of the strip that will connect the two circles, place a disk on either end of your egg and measure the distance between them. The strip should be that wide PLUS 1/2″ (to allow for 1/4″ triangular flaps along each edge).
3.) This detail makes clear why triangular shaped flaps are necessary. Each disk will be glued onto the surface formed by these folded over triangles.
4.) Add a dot of glue to the surface of each triangle, position over the back of one of the paper disks and press into place. Be sure all of your edges are aligned and hold in place until the glue is dry. Insert the egg before gluing the second disk in place.
5.) The finished egg in its container is bound to win any “egg rolling” contest out there.
Some Additional Inspiration
This design falls somewhere between a blossoming flower and a flying saucer.
The closure flaps at each end of this box echo the shape of the egg that goes inside it.
Here the egg disappears from view completely and the container becomes the object itself: is it a pale blue pig with a yellow snout or a postmodern traffic light?
Spaceship, alien pod, or a table lamp for a hen house?
For this piece I simply cut strips into a sheet of 6″ x 9″ paper, folded it around two eggs, and glued the ends of the paper together. It forms a surprisingly secure little carrying case for a pair of kissing eggshells.
Here, a square paper base with two wings is made more whimsical by the addition of a layer of sky-blue vellum disks made with a paper punch.