Elegant eggs for all seasons
House & Garden magazine – March 1969
Eggs of crystal, colored stones, precious metals, and rich woods have been favorites among collectors for hundreds of years. But the popularity of their prototype — the smooth white ovoid, lovingly decorated, that symbolizes awakening life — is newborn every spring.
This year, instead of turning out ho-hum eggs that will be forgotten the day after Easter, why not make use of beads, scraps of leather, and other oddments to create distinctive works of true craftsmanship?
The materials are easily come upon — beads at a hobby shop, solder (for filigree eggs) at the hardware store, feathers in a millinery supply shop, fabric in your own sewing box.
Although the techniques do require care and patience, they are basically simple enough so that you can decorate a basket-full of eggs in time for Easter eggs so beautiful you will want to keep them out all year, on tripods and stands, like jewels throughout the house.
The best eggs to cover are the real thing — chicken, duck, or goose eggs — since natural eggshell gives you a better surface than Styrofoam or wood for drawing and erasing or using glue and solder.
To apply feather, vinyl, and beads to the eggs, use Duco Cement; to make fabrics and leathers adhere, use Elmer’s Glue-All. Prepare the eggs by blowing out their contents through pin-holes at each end. Then, holding them gently, cover by one of the following methods.
Using a tiny square paper pattern, cut several patches of fabric at a time. Glue them one by one to the egg, beginning at its approximate equator.
Shape the patches with small scissors as the egg’s curve deepens. If the patchwork design is not composed exclusively of squares, draw it first in pencil on the shell, then trace on organdy.
Using the organdy as a pattern, cut out the sections in fabric and glue them to the egg as before.
To patch an egg with feather or vinyl, follow the procedure for fabric, but use very small pieces to be sure the patches adhere smoothly to the egg.
Fine-feathered Easter eggs
Coat the underside of each feather with cement, then glue them to the shell one at a time, beginning the top and working down in slightly overlapping rows.
First, bisect the egg vertically, drawing a pencil line all the way around it. Using very fine supple leather (too coarse or stiff leather will not easily conform to the egg shape), cut two ovals, each slightly larger than one half-shell.
Beginning at the center of each oval, glue it to the shell a small area a time, smoothing with your fingers and allowing each bit of glue to dry before proceeding.
When you reach the penciled center line, trim off excess leather. Cover the seam with sequins, jewels, or, like the brown suede egg, a strip of mesh from an evening bag.
Filigree Easter eggs
Draw an open-work design on the shell, the trace over the pencil lines with LePage’s liquid solder, using a light steady pressure. Allow to dry. Repeat the procedure several times until the soldered design is thick, well-raised, and completely dry.
With a needle and a pair of tweezers, puncture the visible eggshell and remove it, section by section, until only the filigree-like solder design remains.
To make the egg stand by itself, dab on three little solder feet. Then spray the egg inside and out with bright aluminum paint.
First pencil floral or free-form pattern on the shell (non-geometric designs are simplest to begin with).
Thread a very fine needle and glue one end of the thread to the egg’s midsection. Working horizontally, string beads in colors to conform to the penciled design, and glue them down about one inch at a time.
When you have completely encircled the egg, allow the cement to set, and, continuing with the same thread, begin the next circle as a separate row — try not to spiral.
As you come to the end of the thread, dab it with cement and tuck it between beaded rows; then begin a new thread.
The happy art of decorating Easter eggs (1966)
House & Garden, March 1966
As a symbol of spring’s release from winter’s tomb and the awakening of new life after darkness, the egg has a serious place in Easter traditions, as well as a lighthearted one.
Object as well as symbol, the egg is also prized for its shape and ornamental value.
Decorating eggs for children is a joyous Easter custom; with a little more care, you can create works of art to charm the eye for years to come.
Eggs as art had their most glittering vogue when Fabergé designed for the Czar and his family wondrous eggs of gold, enamel, and jewels.
Decorated eggs look marvelous heaped in a basket, on a table, or arranged on a shelf with plastic curtain rings for egg stands, or hung by threads, or ribbons, or wire from chandeliers, shelves, or bare branches.
With today’s gold papers and fake jewels, plastic paints and special glues, colorful yarns, and felt pens, you can start an egg collection with only an artist’s box or sewing kit instead of a fabulous treasure chest.
Most of the ornamental eggs on these pages are shells pin-pricked at both ends so that the contents can be blown out, then thoroughly rinsed with tepid water. Others are lightweight, pre-cut Styrofoam eggs or heavy glass setting eggs.
A dozen imaginatively decorated vintage Easter egg crafts
From the collections of several professional and amateur artists across the country, H&G selected a dozen imaginatively-decorated eggs representing a variety of techniques:
1. Paisley-patterned eggshell, the design lightly penciled, then painted with a fine brush dipped into plastic-base Floplaque paint. By Herbert Jonas.
2. Byzantine mosaic with Bible figures and themes decorated with the same technique, but with metallic and plastic paints. By Herbert Jonas.
3. Eggplant egg daubed with purple Easter egg dye (for greater intensity, mixed with a minimum of water and vinegar), then capped by green felt leaves on a drop of rubber cement. By Renee Feinst.
4. Gold and amethyst hard-cooked egg, dyed, dried, dipped in warm, clear liquid gelatin and when sticky-dry, wrapped tightly in gold leaf paper. Excess gold was flaked off by rubbing. By Roy Flamm.
5. Plushy Styrofoam egg circled with short lengths of embroidered ribbon overlapped by red velvet ribbons, each anchored with pins. Big bow was securely pinned on for hanging. By Stephen Gusick.
6. Gold-painted egg dotted with Elmer’s glue and studded with a king’s ransom of rhinestones, pearls, and sequins found at the Five and Ten. By Miriam Ress.
7. Unpainted shell splendid with glued-on pearls and amber glass beads from a millinery supplies shop. By Miriam Ress.
8 Styrofoam egg wound in white wool yarn and swirled with gold braid and Mexican yarn in a paisley pattern held fast with plain and beaded pins. By Barbara Waszak.
9. An Easter sunrise of an egg dyed dawn pink after boiling, then dipped in liquid gelatin and wrapped in gold leaf for gleam and texture. Gold leaf was partially rubbed off after drying. By Roy Flamm.
10. Ordinary glass setting egg transformed into art nouveau with tempera paints mixed with Sobo glue (not water) for glazed ceramic-like finish. By Michael. Saganash.
11. Bamboo-patterned setting egg painted with blend of tempera and glue, the design inspired by Ho..G’s Fantasy Finishes. By Michael Saganash.
12. Styrofoam egg swaddled in strips of glued-on fabric and slubby yarns and crowned with pinned-on tassels and beads. By Barbara Waszak.
Lace & lacquer vintage Easter egg crafts (1975)
Family Circle, April 1975
Prepare fresh eggs by making a pinhole in each end. Stir contents with a toothpick to break the yolk. Blow through the end to empty; set eggs aside for scrambling.
Rinse each shell. Drain and dry. Using high-gloss acrylic paint or enamel paint, color the eggs cobalt blue, Chinese red, and jade green.
With manicure scissors, cut out sections of lace trim, and carefully glue in place as suggested in the designs shown with white glue, concealing the pinholes at each end of the shell.
By Deborah Harding with designs by Dale Joe, and photography by George Nordhausen.