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Watercolored Easter eggs: a step-by-step guide

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Eggs are a wonderful symbol of spring, a sign of new life unfolding in the garden. Even if you don't celebrate Easter, decorated eggs make lovely seasonal statements. You can craft these delicate, hand-painted eggs with flowers and leaves or other designs celebrating spring. Get the kids involved, too.

Start with raw eggs
Start with raw eggs Colleen Smith for Friday Jones Publishing

Start with raw eggs

Eggshells are delicate, obviously, but their frailty adds to their beauty. These watercolor eggs, when kept in egg cartons can last many years. You will find that eggshell both absorbs and repels watercolor paint and the tea in which you dye the eggs. Have fun experimenting.

Crack or blow eggs
Crack or blow eggs Sasha Goldblatt for Friday Jones Publishing

Crack or blow eggs

Crack eggs and save the halves, or blow out the contents by poking a hole on each end of the egg. Rinse shells in water and allow eggs to air-dry. For this project, you can use white or brown eggs. Or look for Arucana chicken eggs, which come in tints of blues and greens.

Dye egg shells in tea
Dye egg shells in tea Sasha Goldblatt for Friday Jones Publishing

Dye egg shells in tea

Dye white eggshells in strong black tea to give an antiqued effect. The longer you leave the shells in the tea, the darker the stain.  

Allow stained eggshells to air-dry
Allow stained eggshells to air-dry Sasha Goldblatt for Friday Jones Publishing

Allow stained eggshells to air-dry

Once the eggs are tea-stained, remove them from the tea. Drain tea from shells, and allow eggs to air dry. Don't be discouraged if any eggs crack; you can keep them and decorate the broken pieces, as well.

Draw designs with indelible pens
Draw designs with indelible pens Sasha Goldblatt for Friday Jones Publishing

Draw designs with indelible pens

Using a fine-tipped, indelible marker, draw designs on the eggshells. You might draw simple flower shapes such as tulips or pansies. Or try your hand at more intricate spring flowers such as hyacinths. Simple shapes such as polka dots and diamonds work well, too. Use your imagination and have fun.

Paint eggs with watercolors
Paint eggs with watercolors Sasha Goldblatt for Friday Jones Publishing

Paint eggs with watercolors

With watercolor paints, fill in the designs. Using a watery translucent wash gives the eggs a delicate appearance. Don't worry about perfection: The hand-made element lends charm. Remember that the eggshells can absorb the paint but the paint also can bead on the surface. Work with a minimal amount of paint, using more layers to intensify color. You might dry blown eggs on a chop stick or paint brush handle so the eggs are suspended and paint won't smudge.

Seal decorated eggs
Seal decorated eggs Sasha Goldblatt for Friday Jones Publishing

Seal decorated eggs

Once paint is dry, spray with shellac or add a coating of decoupage glue to preserve decorated eggs. Be sure not to add too much coating, or the water color paints will run. The trick is several light coats of sealant. 

Add highlights or decorations
Add highlights or decorations Sasha Goldblatt for Friday Jones Publishing

Add highlights or decorations

You might like to add metallic details, using indelible markers in silver or gold to write on eggs or add highlights. Glue a flower or other decoration on egg ends to hide holes in the shells.

Put your eggs in a basket
Put your eggs in a basket Sasha Goldblatt for Friday Jones Publishing

Put your eggs in a basket

Display your eggs in a basket with some faux grass. Avoid that plastic Easter grass in favor of more organic grass for rustic charm. Remember that the Easter season technically lasts 40 days, so you have plenty of time to enjoy your seasonal decorations. And even if you don't celebrate Easter, these eggs are perfect symbols of spring.

Broken eggs have their own beauty
Broken eggs have their own beauty Sasha Goldblatt for Friday Jones Publishing

Broken eggs have their own beauty

If you break eggshells while blowing out the raw egg or if you happen to drop eggshells, you might like to keep the pieces. The broken pieces posses their own beauty reminiscent of bird's eggs broken in spring time and found in the garden beneath trees. 

Create an egg tree
Create an egg tree Sasha Goldblatt for Friday Jones Publishing

Create an egg tree

An Easter tree is a beautiful tradition. To dangle the eggs from an Easter egg tree's branches, use raffia, jute, twine or string to add a hanger loop. Knot one end so the hanger won’t pull through the egg’s hole.

Use eggs as place markers or party favors
Use eggs as place markers or party favors Sasha Goldblatt for Friday Jones Publishing

Use eggs as place markers or party favors

These decorated eggs made charming personalized place markers in an egg cup and will provide guests with perfect party favors to remember your Easter brunch table or other spring event.

Store eggs in carton
Store eggs in carton Sasha Goldblatt for Friday Jones Publishing

Store eggs in carton

Store your eggs in an egg carton so you can enjoy them for many years to come. If your decorated egg shells happen to break, save the pretty pieces bearing in mind that spring is a time of broken eggs with new life bursting forth.

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