Painted Keepsake Eggs for Easter

Chirped by Cass and Tina

Peter Cottontail will soon be hopping down the bunny trail, so it’s time to get creative with some Easter crafts before the pre-party crunch! Tina and her husband are hosting the big extended-family gathering for the first time this year, with a current headcount of 26. She wants to make personalized eggs for all the kids attending the big event – to use as place cards, then hide with the hard-boiled eggs they will decorate, and finally to give the kids to keep after all the festivities are over. So, at our craft get together this week, she brought out wooden eggs, paints, and paint markers and we all got in on the fun.

Tina had the work surface lined with plastic tablecloths. At each person’s station was a brown paper mat to test colors on, a cup of water and paper towel to rinse and dry our tools, and different sized brushes and dotting styluses. Paint markers and acrylic paints were on the table for all to share as well as the wooden eggs, some paint palettes, and a few egg cartons to prop the wet stuff on for drying.

First step was to decide if you wanted to keep the wooden egg natural or paint it a base color.  If you paint the egg, make sure you get a nice even coat on it and paint the bottom as well. With unfinished wood, you may need to give it a light sanding after the first coat, then reapply. Let it dry before adding your decorative design on top. Tina had pre-painted a few eggs before we got together to save time, but acrylics are really quick-drying so it was easy enough to customize them on the spot.

Pro-Tip #1: Paint a square of your base color on your table protection paper and then try out the other paints and paint markers on the swatch to see how well they show up against that color.

You can lightly sketch the design you want in pencil, or just dive right in with a paint pen, brush or dotting tool. Start with your bigger elements first, then fill in with flowers, dots, spirals, etc. There are countless ways to decorate an egg. We had this really great Art on the Rocks book, by Bac, Redondo and Vance, to page through for inspiration. Tina started her eggs with the names of all the kids who will be at her Easter gathering, then expanded the designs from there using their favorite colors, animals, and flowers (all gleaned from polling their parents). The rest of us adapted images we liked from the book for our eggs. I chose dragonflies, someone else picked an owl to match her son’s college mascot. And our crafter who claims to only be able to draw stick figures? She found a perfect step-by-step guide for painting an easy petroglyph!

Pro-Tip #2: When shaking certain kinds of paint pens, or at least the Artiqo pens we used, remember to make sure the cap is on and to remove it with a twist to avoid pulling the whole top of the pen off! Remember Tina’s episode with the exploding paint pen?  If you didn’t see it, you can check out February’s Cheep Trill’s for what happened and how to clean up after a mishap.

Let your design fill in organically. Scatter similarly-sized flowers or flourishes, all in one color, in the empty spaces surrounding your focal image. That will help create some balance in your layout and color palette. Let dry and then go back with another complementary shade to sprinkle in new shapes, or add some surrounding dots, leaves, or petals to a previous element…

Concentric circles of different colored dots look great and are a perfect way to fill in an empty space that’s bugging you. If a section is looking bland, go back with a more contrasting color, like white against a dark background, and tuck in some tiny bright spots to give it more pop.

It’s not a bad idea to have a couple of eggs going at once, so you can switch back and forth while one is drying. In this photo of three of Tina’s work-in-progress eggs, you can tell she wasn’t happy with the letters on her first one, and kept layering on more dots and details until it stood out better.

Don’t forget to initial and date the bottom of your keepsake for posterity! You may decide to do this every year, and it’ll be fun to look back on where you started (assuming you keep some for yourself)! (-: Once your egg is decorated to your satisfaction, let it dry. Then either take it outside on some newspaper and spray it with a couple of coats of clear sealant, or brush on a glossy or matte finishing glaze and let the egg dry once more.

Pro-Tip #3: If you are using any water soluble paints or markers, it may be better to use a spray-on varnish.  If you try to brush on a glaze, the details underneath might smear. One friend found this out the hard way after she tried using a black felt-tip pen to outline her design… If you’re not sure, test the glaze on a practice swatch!

Here are some of our finished eggs. I put mine in an Easter basket and have them displayed on the table in my foyer.

Tina is still experimenting with her place settings, but has found some cute ways to fold napkins into bunnies that ought to tie in nicely with the theme… She’s also got more ideas for this party than she probably has time to pull together, but “keeping it simple” has never been her forte. (-; We’ll keep you posted on how it goes!

Got any great Easter crafts you’re pulling out this month? Let us know in the comments section!


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