by Doris Lockerbie
  • What you will need:
  • An emu egg
  • A kistka (usually used for pysanky)
  • A block of black beeswax (can be bought anywhere that sells pysanky supplies, such as PMS hobby)
  • Or a sheet of light colored (perhaps yellow)candle making beeswax (if you wish to use it instead of the black block) Candle to heat the kistka
  • A small funnel and enough fine sand to fill the egg (unless the egg is NOT blown)
  • Vinegar,
  • ice cream bucket
  • a couple small jars to displace vinegar around the egg
  • Fine baby toothbrush
  • Lighter fluid
  • Paper towels
  • White pencil (see below), pencil sharpener and white eraser

    Resting the egg upside down in a cup, position the funnel over the end hole and spoon the fine sand into the funnel until the egg is full, shaking the egg a bit to settle the sand. Then seal the hole with melted beeswax so that the etching vinegar won't get inside the egg. If you encircle the hole with melted wax then position a piece of sheet beeswax over the hole you can melt it with the side of the hot kistka. Try not to get too much wax inside the egg or it won't want to come out after you're finished. This is one good reason to be sure the sand fills the egg to the very top.

    You may have an idea of what you would like on the egg, but not having an appropriate picture, as was the case with my koala egg. I went to the 'net' and searched out a photo of that elusive koala. Most successful is a photo of anything that can be rendered well in black and white. I saved the photo in black and white and inserted it into word perfect, in which I could manipulate the size to suit the egg and printed it off.

    Then I cut him out and held the picture on the egg while I drew around it with a white pencil. I like the white Schwan STABILO #8052 which is for use on paper, glass, plastic & metal - aquarellable. (Some people use a white quilter's pencil) Then the other features of the koala were drawn on.

    I added some foliage for him to eat :-) . The marks from the pencil I use disappear in the vinegar bath so you don't have to scrub it off. Set out your other tools now, working on newspapers.

    Please set your candle in an appropriate fireproof container. You may become engrossed in what you're doing and forget that the candle is burning. Be careful.

    Now carefully decide which parts of your design, bird or animal you want to leave the dark color of the eggshell, and which parts you want to see rendered in the other layered colours of the shell. Keep in mind that you are going to encounter some shades of green, blue, and almost white (if you are that brave), besides the original dark colour. Each colour in succession appears only once, so think carefully.

  • Here's an example of a vinegar etched emu egg
    by Patty Perkins