Pysanky - Ukrainian Easter Eggs
Have great fun designing and making Ukrainian Easter eggs. Known as pysanky they are a decoration which will keep for years.
Ukrainian Easter eggs are known as pysanky. They are an excellent way to bring to life your creative and artistic talent, and the end result is a wonderful decoration. If you are a child you must ask for supervision, because making pysanky involves the burning of beeswax with a candle. Parents, be aware of this.
The most important things you will need when making Ukrainian Easter eggs are large, white, raw eggs at room temperature and with no signs of any cracks down them. Lay down some newspaper in the work area and clean the eggs by dabbing with some diluted white vinegar. The eggs should first be placed on some tissue, and then cleaned. Dab dry with fresh tissue. It is always important to dab the eggs rather than rub, as rubbing can leave a streaky mark.
Next draw the design that you wish to use onto the egg lightly, with a pencil. You may wish to place a thick rubber band on the egg at first to aid with the drawing of straight lines.
Next you will need to use a device called a kitska. This is a type of stylus that consists of a wooden handle, attached to which is a brass funnel. At the end of the funnel is a small hole. They can be bought from specialist shops. The head of the kitska (the brass funnel) should be heated in the flame of a candle for 30 seconds. Then you must add some beeswax to the funnel and return it to the flame.
It is best to test the melted wax on the newspaper first to check that it is coming out in an even flow. Then apply wax along the pencil lines you have drawn on your pysanky.
The next stage involves preparing the dye in which you will dip your Ukrainian Easter egg. The dye, again, can be bought from specialist shops. There are six basic colours (yellow, orange, light blue, light green, scarlet and black). If you are seriously into making these sorts of decorations, more elaborate colours can be acquired. Make up the dye according to the packet instructions, and dip the egg into it for 15 minutes, using a tablespoon. After this time has elapsed, remove the egg with the spoon and dab dry with tissues. Always apply the lightest colour dye first. When dry, more wax can be applied, and the egg can then be dipped in the next dye. This process is repeated until you have dipped the egg into all the dyes you wish to use, adding more wax in between dipping. If you wish to apply a small amount of dye to a specific area, then use a cotton swab.
After you have let your pysanky dry from the last dipping, remove the wax from the egg by carefully melting it with the candle flame. You may then varnish the egg, if you so desire. The egg should then be put on a drying rack for a few hours, which consists of a wooden board with nails knocked into it in a triangle formation to support each egg. If you wish to keep the egg for a long time you may syringe it. Insert the needle of the syringe carefully into each end of the egg, and then push a fine wire in to disturb the yolk. Place the syringe end in the egg and slowly remove the contents.
Try to remember to always be aware of the final design of your decorations when designing them, to avoid running out of space. If you find you have difficulty in removing the wax with a candle you could either use a blow dryer to heat the wax, or apply some warm cooking oil to a kitchen roll, and use this to wipe the wax off. To avoid disappointment only apply a small amount of varnish to the Ukrainian Easter egg first, to check if it makes the dyes run. After your first few attempts you can experiment with different types off eggs, goose for example.