Wednesday, January 6, 2010

- Crafting Christmas eggs

“So how’d you do that?” was the gist of a question about my ornamental Hill Country Christmas eggs. Herewith a recipe of sorts for how to make your own …

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Egg Ornaments

One old school compass
Turkey brining needle (not pictured)
Eggs (more than you think you need … some won’t make it)
Wrapping paper scraps (thinner is better … old Paper Factory Christmas paper was my go-to)
Decorative edge-cutting scissors (a scrapbooker’s delight)
Fine cuticle scissors
White glue (with a little water added) or Mod Podge
Foil wrapped plastic cord, or other flexible wire (make sure it will fit into the button holes)
Hair spray (for a slight gloss)

The hardest part is blowing the insides out of the eggs. Using the compass, poke a small hole in one end of the egg, a larger hole in the other end. Blow through the smaller hole, forcing the eggs out of the larger hole. Be careful not to burst your eardrums (easier said than done).

To clean the inside of the eggshell, fill a turkey brining needle with warm water, inject the water into the eggshell, shake gently, and blow out the water. Let the egg dry thoroughly for at least a day or two. I actually stored up several dozen eggs over the course of two months.

Cut out pieces of wrapping paper using decorative or cuticle scissors (depending on what kind of edge you want). Snip ¼ -½” cuts around the edges of each design so it will flex around the egg without buckling.

Mix a little white glue with water. Coat the back of a design, carefully mold the design onto the egg, and smooth the paper down along the edges. Your fingers will get sticky, so be prepared to wash up as you go.

Once the glue is dry, probe for the hole at the top of the egg with the compass. Then gently create a second hole close to the first hole (the paper you have glued onto the egg should provide enough support for the egg to sustain two holes … trust me, it’s hard to punch two holes in the top of an eggshell before you glue down the design, so don’t try to create two holes in advance).

Thread a 3” piece of cord/wire through two holes of a button, then poke the cord/wire through the two holes on top of the egg. Put a dab of glue on the side of the button facing the egg, then push the button down until the glue holds the button onto the egg. Adjust the length of the wire to create a loop.

Once the glue is completely dry (preferably once you have made a bunch of eggs), hang the eggs on a branch, drying rack, or clothes line and spray with hairspray.

Metaphorical moment: When an egg breaks (and this is inevitable), do not despair. Simply cut out a design to fit over the hole, glue the design on, and continue. Unless of course the break is beyond repair. In which case, chalk it up to experience and try, try again.

And while I had high hopes for embellishing the eggs with rubber stamps and embossing powder, I wouldn’t recommend it. Some ideas just don’t pan out (pun intended).

Last, but not least: you might have noticed that one of the finished eggs has a scallop shell motif on it. The image, taken from the Internet, was printed on Staples double-sided matte photo paper. I’m going to be experimenting with photographs next to see if I can create some “wedding eggs.” Hope they work out better than the embossing powder idea did.

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