DIY: How to Make Ukrainian Easter Eggs

I used this kit to make traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs.

“Pysanky” are an ancient Eastern European art of egg decorating using beeswax and dyes applied in layers. I recently purchased a Ukranian Easter Egg Making Kit, and I want to share my fun project with you.

The name “Pysanky”comes from the Ukrainian verb “pysaty,” meaning “to write.” A writing tool called a kistka is used to write and draw with wax on the egg shell, and the egg is then dipped in a progressive series of dyes. More beeswax is applied between layers, preserving colors through a wax resist process. The result is an ornate, multi-colored Easter egg.

Ukrainian Easter eggs are traditionally very symbolic.  There is the symbolism of the egg itself, the symbolism of design and the symbolism of colors.

It is thought that this process dates back to the pre-Christian era.  Eggs were honored and considered magical objects and there was a long and involved ritual regarding the decorating of pysanky with much symbolism and meaning.

With the advent of Christianity, the symbolism of the egg changed. In Ukrainian rituals the egg symbolized Easter and Christ’s Resurrection.

Curious about this ornate style of egg decorating, I purchased this kit with all of the materials I needed to give it a try:

Ukrainian Easter Egg Kit
The kit includes six colored dyes, a kistka, and beeswax.  Additional supplies needed are:  
  • white eggs
  • white vinegar
  • candle and matches
  • newspaper
  • paper toweling
  • tissues
  • spoons
  • glass jars
  • pencil   
Egg Dyeing Supplies

The Process:

1.  I started the process by designating and covering my workspace and making up the dyes.

Egg Dye

2.  Draw your design on an egg with a pencil.

Pencil Lines

3.  Apply beeswax by heating the head of the kistka in the flame of the candle for 20-30 seconds. Then scoop a little beeswax into the funnel of the kistka. Reheat the kistka in the flame until the wax is melted. Using the kistka apply a thin line of wax covering the pencil lines. In this process, the dye won’t go anywhere you apply wax (the egg is dipped in several colors to create multi-colored designs).

Applying Wax

4. Dip the egg in the lightest color dye. Remove the eggs with the spoon, and dry the egg with paper towels or tissues.
Ukrainian Easter Eggs

Follow the instructions in the kit or other design instructions when enamoring your egg. This site has great information and detailed instructions for both beginner and advanced designs.

 5.  After you have finished your design use the side of a candle flame to melt away the wax, revealing the colors that were protected underneath.
Ukrainian Easter Eggs

You can add finishing touches to your egg by applying a glossy finish.

 7.  The last step is to decide whether to leave the egg intact or to drain the insides of the egg.finished-eggI got my younger children (5 and 7) involved in the dyeing process, while my older children (9 and 12) were eager to take over with the egg design and supervised wax application. It’s a family-friendly activity that takes some time, patience and is a bit messy – but it’s such an enjoyable experience, Pysanky is definitely going to be tradition in our home.
If you’ve made traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs, please feel free to share your tips and photos in the comment section!

One thought on “DIY: How to Make Ukrainian Easter Eggs”

  1. As a Ukrainian mama I’m so glad to see this here. You made a great presentation of this and I hope lots of families will enjoy writing pysanky. They last for years and are wonderfully fun and memorable crafts.

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