Carved Eggshells (my latest craft fail)

I’m not real big on holiday decorating. Most of you probably figured that out when you heard that my husband
had to beg (for multiple years!) to get a Christmas tree. It’s just not my thing, but I’m trying to do better for the kid’s sake.
So every once in awhile I’ll try out a very small vaguely holiday related project like the snowball ornaments
I made a few months back. They’re cute, but don’t scream Christmas.
Three white carved and painted eggshells.
So I was thinking about what I could do for spring that would be fun but not strictly Easter related,
something more generally spring that might also work for Mother’s Day, when I remembered these
eggs ornaments we have packed away. Ant and I got them when we were in Prague on our
honeymoon and brought back a few different sets for our relatives. Absolutely gorgeous!

This was my thing. My perfect spring-timey type Thing!
So of course I jumped right in (like I always do). No plan. No plan at all.
I’ve never even made a blown egg before people, but I was going to rock this!

Close-up of a white pysanka egg.

So I called my Dad and asked to borrow his Dremel. He has every imaginable tool in the world.
He has to have a Dremel. Right?

Of course he did. One given to him by one of his uncles when dad helped him move ages and ages ago.
It’s probably twice my age, and it’s been rusting in the barn for years, but he had one. And I kid you not.
Ant only had to hammer on it (yes, with a hammer) for 5 minutes before he was able to change the bit.

“Was that the right bit for the job?” you ask. Who knows?
There were only 3 in the box and the other 2 were for sanding. I’m working with what I’ve got!

picture of an old dirty dremel tool

Moving on…
Dremel…check
Eggshells left over from breakfast…check
A general idea of what the heck I’m doing…uhhh…check?


I practiced a little on some eggshell pieces just trying to get a sense of what exactly I’d be able to pull off.
It turns out that drilling just a single hole is pretty easy, but once you try to get all fancy with the flowers and
hearts, things start to get a little dicey. Who needs more practice though? Lets get to the good stuff!

Four eggshells used for dremel practice with holes shaped like hearts, flowers, and embroidery.
So I practically burst a blood vessel trying to blow out my first egg before Ant took pity on me
and decided to Google up some directions. In the end I managed to empty three out of five eggs
without breaking them by blowing through a coffee stirrer. Still not convinced that was the best way,
but eh, I was in a hurry. 

After my first try with the dremel, I got the brain wave that dying the inside of the egg so that
a color would show through the holes would be the most awesome thing in the world!

Stop right there for a second and think about the process you would go through
if you personally were trying to dye the inside of an egg…I’ll wait.
A broken eggshell that was dyed pink inside.
Yeah, I’m crazy! That’s what I thought you’d say.

But after a lot of painter’s tape, a coffee stirrer, a syringe, napkins, and a half hour,
I had an egg that was pink on the inside and still white on the outside. Score!

I totally crushed it! No. I mean literally. I crushed it.
But you get the idea right? It would have looked awesome!

An eggshell with a pattern of holes drilled into it.

After all the casualties, I did end up with one decent looking egg.
It still has a teeny tiny crack in the bottom, but I’m giving it to my Gramma anyway.
Cuz’ Grammas have to love imperfect presents from their grandkids. It’s a rule.

A close-up of an eggshell with holes drilled in it.

Of course I went and did some research after I had already made my mess, and it turns out eggs like these
are called pysanky. A special stylus is used to draw a pattern on the eggs with melted wax. Then the wax can
be left as the decoration, or used as a dye resist and removed (like batik fabric). Some of the designs can be
extremely intricate like these amazing examples by Ukrainian Easter Eggs or these at Eggs by Kathy.

Three beautiful pysanky eggs painted and carved by EggstrArt

My favorites though are these lovelies by EggstrArt. The tiny carved details just make them look even
more delicate and “lace like”. And awesomeness of awesomeness, she even sells the wax she uses,
and special decorating kits to help you get started. Sure wish I had known about those before!

But even though this was one of my less successful projects, I’ll definitely be re-visiting it in the future.
Maybe once I have the proper equipment it won’t be quite so difficult. 

What about you? Have you made anything lately that you were less than prepared for?
How did it turn out? Unpreparedness seems to be a common thing around our house.

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14 thoughts on “Carved Eggshells (my latest craft fail)

  1. Egg crafts have been drawing me in lately. One of these days I will take a 'crack' at it like you! And jumping in and doing a project is way more fun then spending hours preparing:)

  2. You are so funny!!! I'm sure, w/ all the proper tools you will ROCK this the next time you try it! Please post again when you have this mastered (or failed). These are SO pretty!!!

    1. Your not kidding! Four of mine broke just trying to get the "guts" out. (we had lots of scrambled eggs that morning!) I'm amazed that the real ones have made it through as many moves as they have without shattering. Eggshells are deceptively strong I guess.

    1. Thanks Lori! Gramma ended up really enjoying it, but I'd still like to try the wax/paint next time. Even when they don't have cutouts, that embossed look is still gorgeous.

  3. These are amazing and you should be proud. And it proves that to make something this beautiful it takes work – it's so easy for people to forget that when Pinterest makes it seem like every pretty project takes just seconds to master and make. Thanks for linking to the Craftastic Monday party at Sew Can Do!

  4. Awesome attempt! I have a few tips if you are interested in trying again. You can actually buy pre-blown eggs and avoid the burst blood vessels, I buy mine from The Golden Egg of Idaho. They have a large range of eggs from quail to ostrich! Also, a dremmel isn't ideal but certainly usable, it's what I have been using. You just need the right bits. For lines and cutting large windows I use cutting disc, holes I use (as I assume you did) small drill bits. There is also a bit that looks like a flying saucer that is great for flower petals. People who have the money to spend on a hobby, or those that carve and sell use a tool akin to a dentits drill. Likely the eggs you bought were carved that way.
    I love your idea about dying the inside of the egg and am going to try it!
    Oh, one more tip. If you find that you wind up with a lot of albumin left in the areas you carved, soaking the egg in a bleach/water solution will eat that away. Just keep an eye on it. I accidently left one in too long and it ate away the shell between two holes!
    Hope you try again and good luck!

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