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Preparing Your Pysanky

Updated: Feb 5, 2023

A simple guide to prepping your eggs ready for pysanka writing.

Chernobyl Photography Exhibition

An Easy Step-by-step Guide to a Perfect Pysanka

One of the most important steps of creating pysanka is ensuring your egg is properly prepared. These steps not only ensure that it will last longer, but also that it will take the dye better.

Choosing the Right Eggs

When it comes to pysanky, selecting the right egg is essential. There are several different areas that should be inspected before beginning the design process:

  1. Discolouration of the shell – White eggs should be used when creating pysanky, as these produce the best colours from the dye and are those traditionally used. Eggs with small discoloured patches should be avoided as this could ruin the symmetry of your design.

  2. Cracks – Check your egg for cracks, both large and small. Eggs with hairline fractures should also be avoided, as this can ruin your design.

  3. Surface – Avoid eggs with lots of ridges or bumps on the shell. Eggs with a shiny surface also tend to not absorb the colour of the dyes as well. Look for eggs with a nice, even matte finish. Eggs with large pores should also be avoided.

Cleaning the Eggs

After you have selected your eggs, you will need to prepare them.

  1. Washing – We use lukewarm water and Fairy Liquid to carefully wash the eggs. Gently rub each egg with your finger, before rinsing off in clean water. When using soap it is important to use the vinegar rinse before dyeing your egg, as this will remove any leftover residue. If your egg has a red date stamp, use a magic eraser to remove this.

  2. Drying – Once the eggs have been washed, gently pat them dry and leave them on an absorbent towel to let them dry off further. Do not store the wet eggs in a way that they remain wet, such as in a bowl. This will make the egg absorb water in certain areas, which will then not absorb the dye well.

Emptying the Eggs:

Traditionally, pysanky were left full and allowed to dry up over time. However, if you wish to keep your egg for more than 6 months or so, you should empty its contents.

  1. Create two holes – Using a safety pin, create two holes on the top and bottom of the egg. The hole on the top of the egg should be pin-sized, whereas that on the base should be slightly larger.

  2. Break up the yolk – Place a cocktail stick into the larger hole and use it to break up the yolk. This will make it easier to empty.

  3. Blow out the egg – Using a small part of a straw, place one end on the top hole. Blow down onto the egg to empty its contents.

  4. Cleaning the egg – It is essential to ensure the inside of the egg is clean. Rinse the egg in water and repeat the process of blowing out the egg. Place in an egg box or cup and leave in a warm area to completely dry.

Vinegar Solution

After writing your first layer of wax, place the egg in a vinegar solution to clean off any excess oil or debris that can affect the dyeing process. To do this, mix 1 tablespoon of white vinegar with 240ml of water and soak your egg in the mixture for 3-5 minutes. Hollow eggs will float, so placing a plastic cup filled with water on top will keep it submerged.

Further Advice

  • Make sure your egg is at room temperature before you begin the dyeing process.

  • Handling your egg whilst wearing latex gloves can ensure you do not transfer oils from your hand to the shell.

Written by Leah Dorotiak for Huddersfield Ukrainian Club.

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