Garden Inspired Wax Resist Eggs

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A tradition across Eastern Europe for thousands of years, wax resist eggs are one of our favorite Easter crafts. Known in Ukraine as pysanky, these intricate eggs are created using a method similar to batik, in which patterns are drawn with wax before dyeing. Once dried, the wax is melted away to reveal the design. Traditionally, the women of the household made these beautiful eggs during Lent; large families would make up to 60 eggs, which were taken to church on Easter Sunday to be blessed. After blessing, eggs would be given to the local priest, distributed among family, and placed around farms as protective charms.

As in many Easter traditions, the eggs represent rebirth and fertility as spring begins and life returns to the natural world. Pysanky are decorated using a variety of symbolic motifs, with geometric designs and floral or agricultural patterns among the most popular. Some geometric styles-- dots to symbolize seeds, crosshatched resheto for fields--  can also be found on artifacts dating as far back as the Paleolithic era. terrain Art Director Laura T. gathered inspiration from the spring garden for our pysanky design templates, above. Read on for our tips on creating your own eggs, and print our template to try your hand at wax resist dyeing. 

Start with hard boiled or hollow eggs-- hollow eggs will allow you to keep your designs for years to come. Cut out the white areas of our templates to trace, if desired. Melt the beeswax and apply your design using a kistka (a special stylus with a small tip and wax reservoir)-- a light touch is key. The areas covered by wax will remain the color of the natural shell. Once the wax has dried, dip the egg in dye until the desired shade is achieved. For designs with more than one color, begin with the lightest dye and proceed to the darkest. When the dye is dry, place the egg on aluminum foil in a shallow dish, then heat in a 250°F oven for about 5 minutes. Once the wax becomes shiny, wipe it away with a paper towel to reveal your design. If you'd like to add a second dye color, repeat the process above until your egg is complete.

Download our printable egg template here. 

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