The Art of Darkness

Decorating Real Eggs

September 30th, 2009 by Cobwebs

EggWhen the Shadow Family attended the county fair a few weeks ago, I snapped this photo in the Home Arts exhibit (click to enlarge): It’s a spooky little scene set inside a real egg.

Decorating eggs like this is easier than you probably think it is: Certainly, you have to be more careful with a real eggshell than with a plastic one, but the shells are actually pretty sturdy and can be decorated with a huge variety of techniques. (Plus there’s a kind of satisfying ship-in-a-bottle aspect to working with something that seems so impossibly fragile.)

Working with real eggs is a popular hobby, and there are lots of resources for both techniques and materials. You can experiment with chicken eggs and then move up to the eggs of more exotic species. The next time you need eggs for a cake or want scrambled eggs for breakfast, blow them out instead of cracking them:

  1. Bring the egg to room temperature (it’s harder to blow out a cold egg).
  2. Take a large (clean) sewing needle and poke a hole in one end of the shell, then poke a hole in the other end and wiggle the needle around a little to enlarge the hole. Make sure you also puncture the yolk.
  3. Hold the egg over a bowl and blow gently in the small hole. The egg’s guts should run out of the larger hole. (Be prepared for the occasional broken egg.)
  4. Rinse out the egg and then place in an egg carton with the large hole down so that the water and any leftover egg bits can drain out.

You can paint or decoupage the eggs (Martha Stewart has an article on decoupaged eggs here), cover them with beads, use a dremel tool to cut shapes, and much else. Some resources to get you started are here, here, and here).

The egg shown above, incidentally, has had doors cut in it with a dremel tool and then reattached using little hinges made for that purpose (the stand it’s sitting on is purpose-made too; as I said, egg decorating is a popular hobby). It might be a painted goose egg or may be an emu egg, which are naturally black. The interior is painted and decorated with miniatures, just like a diorama.

Don’t limit your scary-egg activities to springtime (although a few eggs painted like skulls will certainly enliven an Easter egg hunt). A basket of spookily-decoupaged eggs or a showpiece egg like the one above is a lovely decorative accent year-round.

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