Friday, October 27, 2006

Egg Shell Painting

The other day when I visited one of my close friends Jaya, I saw some beautiful ornaments displayed on top of her book shelf. When I enquired about her latest deco, she told me it was made out of egg shells. I was quite surprised and decided to start my own hobby of egg shell painting. You can do this hobby anytime and anywhere, the cost is not that expensive and the best part is you can eat the egg and use the shell for deco.

It is an excellent hobby to start with your kids. You get to teach them to be creative and have fun at the same time. This craft is safe for your kids to do by themselves and will keep them busy for quite some time if you need to keep them out of your way. This is a good way to get them to focus their mind and energy on useful stuffs rather than getting involved in mischievous activities.

You can choose to do egg shell painting at any time of the year, it is not necessary that you should wait until Easter to do this. Hard-cooked eggs or emptied egg shells can be used for egg shell painting. Emptied eggs are light weighted and can easily break, if you are a beginner than you could start with hard-cooked eggs as it is sturdier. You can use these egg shells painting as deco for your house, Christmas tree or Easter tree.

The egg shells can be painted by using egg dyes, food coloring or natural dye that you can make on your own. Crayons, felt-tipped pens can be used to decorate the egg shells after the paint is dry. The unique oval shape of the egg makes it very attractive and a charming deco.

In order to start painting, you must empty the egg first. You need to wash and rinse your hand cleanly in warm water. Wash and dry the eggs as it may be oily. Than use a big, clean or sterilized needle and make a small hole at the small end of the egg. Proceed to make a larger hole at the larger end of the egg. Place a bowl in front of you and put the egg over the bowl. Blow through the small hole of the egg until all the content of the egg is removed or you can use a baster to push out the contents. Rinse the empty egg shell and leave to dry before painting. The raw egg can be used to make quiche; omelet, scrambled eggs, and bread, if you are not using it just yet make sure to freeze it.

You can also opt to use the egg yolk to paint the egg shell; this is known as egg tempera. It is very simple to do. Crack the egg open carefully and separate the egg yolk from the white. Place the yolk in a bowl and mix with 1/2 a teaspoon of water. Separate the egg yolk into different containers and add different food colorings to each container. If you find the paint becoming thicker just add a few drops of water and continue to paint.

Emptied egg shell painting can be kept for a long time as it can not get spoiled. If you want to preserve the egg shell for a longer period of time, you need to protect it first. Apply layers of newspaper, tissue paper or any other similar paper to the egg and use white glue, wall paper paste or make your own glue to paste the papers onto the egg. Once the egg is dry you can start painting and after it is finished to further preserve it you can choose to apply a coat of thinned glue, pearl nail polish, shellac or varnish.

If you are using hard cooked eggs for your painting and you plan to eat it, make sure to adhere to certain safety food tips carefully. All the dyes and food coloring used must be safe for consumption. There should be no cracks on the shell when painting or dying the egg, if there is cracks please throw it away. The crayons and felt-tipped pens used must be non-toxic. When you are not painting the eggs keep it refrigerated and do not consume eggs that have not been refrigerated for more than 2 hours.

You can opt to make natural dye from food to be on a safer side but the natural dye may be dull and not so shiny. Some of the food stuffs that you can use to make the dye are hickory barks, coffee, madder roots, berries and walnut shells.

Estimate the amount of dye that you would require to paint the egg shell. Place a handful or two handful of the dyestuff in a saucepan and add tap water. The measurement is one cup of water for a handful of dyestuff. Let the water boil and than reduce the heat, allow the liquid to simmer for 15 minutes or up to an hour until you obtain the desired color for your paint. Strain the dye liquid by using a suitable strainer and add two to three teaspoon of white vinegar into the liquid. Place the dye in a bowl that is deep enough so that the egg can be soaked completely in the dye. Please note that since this a natural dye you the color will not be as dark as the liquid.

The dyed eggs can be removed by using a spoon and left to dry on a rack. They might not be glossy or shiny so you can rub some mineral or cooking oil onto it to give it a sheen look. Natural dye is safer especially if children were to consume the painted eggs. The list of color that you can obtain from food stuffs is as stated below;

Beets, cranberries for Pinkish red color
Ground turmeric for Yellow color
Yellow onion skins for Orange color
Brewed coffee for Beige to brown color
Purple or red grape juice for Gray color
Canned blueberries for Blue color

These are just some of the examples; you can also come up with your own ideas to make natural dye from other food stuffs or herbs.

If you feel it is a hassle preparing your own natural dye, you can always use food coloring as mentioned earlier. All you need to do is get some water that is warmer than the egg, add in drops of food coloring together with 2 to 3 teaspoons of white vinegar. Use a spoon to place the egg in to the bowl and leave it there until you are satisfied with the color. Leave it to dry and paint in desired patterns and designs. You can also use a pencil and draw the designs and paint over it.

Felt-tipped pens and crayons can be used to add in designs or draw funny faces. If you want layers of colors just dye different parts of the eggs in different colored dyes. Sometimes the cooked eggs can be quite oily or it could pick up the oil from your hands so you can wipe it by using some vinegar. Never let the egg sit or soak in vinegar as it will cause the egg shell to dissolve.

My kids and I have so much fun painting egg shells that we do it every weekend. It has become a family activity. Get creative and start egg shell painting, you can even make it as a gift for your loved ones and this is a much more special gift compared to the one that you buy from the store because you are making this gift with love and your own two hands. Egg shell painting is perfect for mums who work at home because you can sell it to your friends and family and earn extra income too.

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