I’m in love with Pysanky Eggs. Actually, I’m in love with most traditional Eastern European crafts. Maybe it’s because I’m secretly trying to identify with a heritage I know very little about…or maybe I just think they’re pretty. But whatever the reason, I’m so glad that my mom, my sister, and I learned how to dye Pysanky eggs a couple years ago. I think this is such a special Easter tradition. The eggs make gorgeous keepsakes. And this year we passed the tradition on to my 5 year-old daughter. In case you are unfamiliar with Pysanky egg dyeing, you’ve come to the right place. Here is a step-by-step tutorial for novices, BY novices.

How to Dye Pysanky Eggs

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There are a few supplies that are necessary for making these eggs. The great part is that you will be able to use them year after year.

Here’s the list of supplies we recommend.

  • Luba’s Ukrainian Egg Dyeing Kit – we started out with this kit years ago and it is FANTASTIC. It includes everything you need except the eggs. (Don’t worry. I’ll show you how to blow the eggs in a minute.) We have since run out of the dye that is included in the kit. This year I used gel food coloring with great results.
  • Pint-sized canning jars (one per color)
  • White eggs
  • Infant bulb syringe (snot sucker)
  • straight pin
  • small drill bit for a dremel tool
  • thin piece of wire about 6 inches long

To make dye with gel food coloring, mix:

The first step in making Pysanky Eggs is blowing the yoke and white out of the eggs. This is actually a really simple process if you have the right tools handy. First, you need to poke a hole on the top and bottom of the egg with a straight pin. You need to give it some pressure to poke the pin through. It’s scary, I know.

Then, use your drill bit to make the hole a bit larger. Be careful as you “drill” through the hole that you don’t go to fast or you will crack the egg. So this on the top and the bottom.

drilling a hole in an egg

Then use your long wire to break the yoke inside the egg. Just stick it through the hole at one end and wiggle it around a bit.

breaking the yoke

Next, use your snot-sucker to blow the egg goo out. Place it at the top of the egg and gently squeeze. The insides of the egg will come out through the hole in the bottom.

blowing the egg

You’ll be left with just the shell!

blown eggs

If you have not already done so, now is the time to prepare your dye.

dyes

We label the colors that look similar in the jar…they are hard to tell apart!

Your egg kit comes with some circular templates to mark guide lines on your egg. These are helpful if you are trying to make a traditional-looking egg, but they are not necessary, especially for kids.

You will want to make sure you have your square of beeswax in some kind of a shallow container (a peanut butter lid works great). And you will want a container or shallow dish underneath your candle to catch the drips there as well.

Here is where you will need your kistka. This is the tool that you use to apply wax to your egg. To use it, heat it over the candle flame. It should be HOT (parents, help your kids with this part unless you are certain they can be safe around an open flame). Once the kistka is nice and hot, scoop a little bit of wax from your wax square into the reservoir at the top. The wax should melt on contact. If it doesn’t, your kistka isn’t hot enough. After you get a little wax in the reservoir, you’re ready to start decorating. For Addison, I just told her to make some doodles. If you are interested in creating a traditional Pysanky pattern, there are pattern sheets in the kit.

doodling on an egg

Now here’s where it gets a little tricky. Once you get your first round of wax on the egg, you’re going to put it in your first dye color. Remember that the first places to get wax will stay white. Try mixing bold thick areas of wax with finer, thinner lines for variety. Once you’re happy with the pattern, chose a light color…preferably yellow, orange, or pink.

dye bath

Keep in mind that hollow eggs float. You’ll need to hold them under the dye with a spoon.

second layer of wax

Once the egg has reached your desired color, begin applying the second layer of wax. Remember, the places you put this layer of wax will remain the color of the previous dye color (in this case, Addison’s second wax layer stayed yellow).

dying an egg

Continue adding more layers of wax, and more layers of dye working from lightest to darkest. You’ll get to the point where you forget which markings are which color. But it will be beautiful regardless.

Next comes the true magic. Once you have applied all the wax layers and dye colors you desire, allow the dye to dry completely (I used a cold hair dryer to speed it along since my boys were waking up from naps at this point!) Then, hold the egg over the flame of the candle for a second. The wax will begin to melt away.

melting the wax

Wipe the hot area of the egg with a paper towel and be AMAZED at the beauty that is hiding underneath all that wax! (note: you do not need to tip the candle…this picture was snapped as we were trying to remember how to do this step!). The warm wax wipes away clean and you will be left with a GORGEOUS egg.

Dying Pysanky EggsYou’d never know these looked like a globby mess a few moments ago…

Pysanky Egg Dying

And although kids may not be able to create intricate patterns, they can still create beautiful artistic eggs using the same technique as is used with traditional Pysanky egg dyeing.

Pysanky Eggs with Kids

Addison’s egg turned out a beautiful color…and she is SO proud of it. I hope to write the date on it so she can keep it for years to come. And I hope this becomes a new Easter tradition in which she can participate.

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Have you made Pysanky eggs with your family? How did it work for you? If you have pictures of your eggs, please share them! I’d love for you to post them on the Homespun Sprout Facebook Page! Happy Egg Dyeing!

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4 Responses to How to Dye Pysanky Eggs

  1. Nell says:

    These are fantastic! I have always wanted to learn how to make these. It will be great to teach my daughter when she is a bit older because her Father is Ukranian–although he knows nothing about his culture either 😉

    • homespunsprout@gmail.com says:

      Awesome! Here’s to connecting to our long-lost roots that we know nothing about :) At least we will be creating a beautiful family tradition in the meantime!

  2. These are beautiful! My dad had a company that worked in Ukraine for part of the year. So whenever I see Ukrainian things it reminds me of him. We may try these, especially since you said your 5 year old did them with you.

    • homespunsprout@gmail.com says:

      Oh I hope you DO! They really are a work of art. And she had a great time making them…just be careful of the hot wax and your should be all set! If you try them, please share your pictures!

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