Techniques

 
 

I generally use small chicken eggs to make snowflake pysanky – I find they make daintier and prettier ornaments. I’ve experimented with snowflakes on large eggs, and on brown eggs, but always come back to small, white eggs.

The snowflake is drawn in wax on a white, undyed egg. I generally make up the designs as I go; it’s sort of like doodling with wax. I sometimes refer to photos of snowflake pysanky I have made in the past for ideas, but rarely copy them exactly.  Even when I do try and make a copy, changes creep in.  No two of my snowflake pysanky are identical, just like real snowflakes. I find that there are usually small differences between the two sides of a snowflake pysanka as well. 

On some of my snowflake eggs, the same pattern is repeated on both sides. On others, I draw a snowflake on one side and leave the other blank; after varnishing I will write in the year with a gold or silver marker (Sharpies are best) on the blank side.  If these snowflake pysanky will be gifts, I will sometimes write in the recipient’s name as well.  (I always do this if the snowflakes are going to be given to young children.)

On the following pages are photos and explanations, step-by-step, demonstrating how I make my snowflake pysanky. 


PENCIL LINES:  Dividing up the surface of the egg, drawing in the basic guide lines, and removing pencil lines.

WAX LINES:  How to draw your design in wax, from the initial outline to coloring in and fine detail, and when to remove the pencil marks.

DYEINGDyeing your snowflake pysanka, with special techniques (mottled and two-tone eggs) demonstrated.

WAX REMOVALRemoving your wax, both primary and residual, and cleaning up the egg (including pencil lines).

FINISHINGFinishing your snowflake pysanka, including varnishing, emptying, selecting an orientation, attaching findings and personalizing.



Most of my snowflake pysanky are monochromatic, with white snowflakes and colored backgrounds. This is the type of pysanka demonstrated on these linked pages. As noted previously, I usually use small chicken eggs, and a single final color to make my snowflake pysanky.

I’ve made some snowflake pysanky with larger eggs and more colors, and I’ve also tried using a different technique of wax application, drop-pull. You can see photos of these eggs in the galleries, and use the techniques outlined above to make these them as well. You will just need to make a few simple adaptations.

The end result of my work?  A whole series of jewel-like ornaments with snowflake motifs.






      
  Snowflakes        Pencil lines



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Making Snowflake Pysanky