Painting an Egg

From Marge......

All of my eggs are hand painted decals or decoupage. I don't use any patterns or even have any patterns available to share right now.

Gary, our renowned publisher of The Eggshell Sculptor and The Eggshell Artist, does have a pattern and instuctions in one of his issues of TEA that I did for him. It's an egg with some baby chicks on it that should be simple enough for even the very beginner.

The shells are painted with acrylics and water-mixable oils. Generally, I don't treat the shell with anything before I begin painting on it. If the an Ostrich shell....has a particularly slick surface, you can spray a few light "puffs" of Krylon Matte finish on it before starting to paint. It should only be little puffs of it though. The matte finish will give the surface a little "tooth" to grip onto.

Many think that if the paint doesn't cover completely the first try, that it isn't going to work. It will, but several coats are generally needed. There are eggs that I have painted that have been repainted and touched up as many as 5 or 6 times. Don't think I have ever had one that could be called finished in one sitting.

The water-mixable oil paints are great for those that don't like the fumes of regular oil paints. They handle very much like regular oils with a few exceptions.

Sharie asked.....

Ok all you eggers out there, how do you do it?  I've been trying for a week to paint an egg - and none of this fancy stuff either!  All I want to do is get an egg a pretty solid color. 

This is what I've been doing, or should I say been trying to do.  First of all someone told me to try cosmetic sponges and not to wipe on the color but rather push it on, yeah well, maybe I push too hard or something, but I get a really and I mean REALLY textured looking egg!!  I don't want the textured look but I'd prefer it over the brush stroke look of paint brushes.  Has anyone ever tried finger painting?? 

Then after I got it (the textured one) painted evenly (though bumpy) I put on a layer of the matte water soluble varnish and after it dried I started working with it and guess what, the paint started to peel right off the egg!!!!  I ended up peeling it all off and starting over, only this time I decided to sand the egg lightly - figuring the paint would hold to the shell better, alas my poor egg is the shiniest egg there just ever was, the sanding didn't roughen it at all but rather put a real pretty like buff shine to it.

Now I wouldn't mind so much but these eggs (and I have 2 dozen of them) are pheasant eggs and they are kind of a puky green color and well shine or no shine they are one ugly egg!!!  Help please, PLEASE!!!!

From Lucille

The best kind of paint I have found to cover in one coat is Duncan brand acrylic paint. You can find this in ceramic shops or some of the egger's supply catalogs has some. I would think that a spray paint like Krylon would work without leaving brush marks. But since I've never tried this I can't say for sure.

From Jean

I use an acrylic paint, such as Apple Barrel Gloss, to paint my eggs.  I use only "shader" brushes, which are flat at the end.  To determine if the paint is too thick or to thin, I brush a couple of strokes on the shell.  If I see streaks in the paint, I thin it with a tiny bit of water.  If I see bubbles in the paint, it's too thin. 

Also, while painting the egg, I occasionally wipe the excess paint that accumulates in the brush on the edge of the paper cup I use to hold the paint.  The result is no brush marks and good, even coverage.  I would recommend applying about 4 rather thin coats.  Practice this on a few scraps of eggshells before trying it on your project.  In the beginning it took a little bit of practice for me to get it right.

You can also try spray paint, but I don't think it's as convenient as painting this way.  Also, I can't get it to cover evenly, and I have to watch for drips which need to be removed from the shell.

From Tanya

Krylon spray paints work well.  I don't know how big the "blow hole" is in your eggshell.... but if you insert something like a wooden shish kabob skewer into the blow hole and hold the egg upright by the can then spray the egg, rotating it as you spray to get an even coverage.  I recommend doing this outside on a day that the wind isn't blowing too much.  Just spray the egg with a light coat and let it dry.  You can spray additional coats after each coat has dried thoroughly if you need a heavier coverage.  If you don't wait until each coat is thoroughly dried before applying the next will cause your paint to bubble/blister and peel.  Don't spray on any of the coats too thickly, or else the paint will "run" and cause streaks and "drips" at the bottom of the egg.  I use a block of wood that I drilled holes in to set the shish kabob stick in while the egg is drying.

From Sandra

I have to echo Lucille here - Duncan's, especially the matte - covers beautifully without leaving brushmarks. It's by far the best one that I have found.

From Terry

I use the cosmetic sponges all the time and whatever kind of acrylic paint that I have. Try dabbing the paint on not pushing. Pushing it on will create bubbles. Also after you have the paint on take the excess paint off of the cosmetic sponge with a paper towel. Go over the egg with the sponge again in any of the spots that still have bumps. Try putting on several thin coats instead of thick coats and make sure they are dry between coats.

If you are in a hurry use a hair dryer on low setting. Usually on the first 1 or two coats you will still be able to see the egg through the paint. Don't worry if it doesn't look even at this stage. Keep putting coats of paint on and it will even out. Another idea for sticking egg holders into while letting the paint dry is the green oasis foam that you use for flower vases. Any craft store will have them and they are really cheap.

From Wilma

I use Design Master spray paint which comes in an array of colors. They also have a nice sealer and gloss. When you begin spraying make certain you have shaken the can enough and begin spraying to the side of your egg, not directly on the egg. Once the spray is working then move slowly across your egg and don't stop until you have covered the egg and are on the other side.

If you begin painting on the egg and the can "spits" then you are going to have a few spots on the egg. I use the spring loaded egg holders and twirl the egg while I paint. Once done set it on the block of wood already suggested. It does not take this paint long to dry. Most of the time it will be dry by the time you walk back inside from painting. I normally do about three coats.

From Phyllis

I came up with another way to handle spraying eggs, whether a paint color or a sealer / hardener, or hanging newly washed & bleached eggs out to dry before carving or painting.

I made a 'base' of 2 pieces of pegboard, about 12" x 24" with 1/8" & 1/4" holes, stacked one on top of the other to increase the depth of the holes. Then I cut 1/8" & 1/4" wood dowels in various lengths to suit the sizes of the eggs, and pressed them all the way into the holes thru both boards.

Now I can suspend eggs that have one blow hole over the upright end of the dowels. I set this contraption outside in the shade & go out to spray them lightly about once every hour or two. I wait longer as I add more layers of spray.

You can change the spacing as needed so pegs don't get in the way of other eggs. You might want to use short bolts and nuts in the corners to hold the two sheets of pegboard together. That way you don't have to depend on the dowels to hold them together. The larger the piece of board, the more stable it is.   12x24 suited my uses.

It does get a little touchy with lacy carved eggs, so I make especially sure there isn't the slightest puff of a breeze when I spray them.

From Tanya

I use acrylics to do my paintings with on emu shells.  I have found that I always have to apply at least 3 base coats of my primary color before I start adding details such as highlighting or shadowing. Here is a link to a page on my website regarding my painting techniques. Here, you will find some basic info on how I approach painting on emu shells.

How_To_Paint An Egg