Make Fancy Gold Leaf Easter Eggs
Add elegance to your Easter basket with these gorgeous blue eggs accented with gold leaf.
Decorating Easter eggs is a fun and creative way to celebrate the holiday. The tradition is centuries old and the methods vary from simple to over-the-top elaborate. This year, take your egg game up a notch with these blue eggs decorated with gold leaf. The result is elegant, but incredibly easy to achieve.
Before I start dying any eggs, I always make a simple drying station. Create your own by placing a sheet of styrofoam (1” thick) on a flat surface. Insert a grid of straight pins with ball heads. The pins should be about 1 inch apart. I used the width of my ruler, which is just slightly larger. This pin grid will let your eggs dry with very little contact, giving them more consistent color.
Begin by boiling and dying eggs. The choice of dye material is not nearly as important here as the length of time the eggs stay in the dye. Begin with a test egg. Dip it for a couple of minutes keeping track of the time. Remove it to determine if it is the desired color. If not, return it to the dye for a couple more minutes, checking until you get the color you want. Use this time as a guide for all the other eggs. Because eggs are a natural material, some of them may still be wildly off in color, but this is a good way to get most of them close to the same color.
Tip: Boil and dye more than you need. There will be dye mishaps and decorating fails.
Choosing your gold application will depend on how much you want to spend, how much time you have, your desired outcome, and your level of craft expertise. The three most common methods are shown below.
The gold marker is the easiest and most cost effective. To use it you simply draw. However, the ink is absorbed by the shell a little and the sheen is not nearly as nice as the other methods.
The gold leaf pen is the middle ground. It is more expensive than the gold marker, but significantly less than everything that is involved in true gold leaf. The application is very easy once you get used to the pen. The result is more like an enamel that does not get absorbed by the shell the way the marker does and the sheen is quite nice. This was the clear winner for me, especially where detailed work was necessary.
The gold leaf is best in terms of finished product. The sheen of this material is rich and elegant. However, it is more expensive than the other two materials and the amount of work involved is considerably more. I found it most useful for broad spaces that needed to be filled. I might also use it to decorate painted, wooden eggs to be used for decoration year after year.
To make the dotted egg draw random dots on the shell keeping consistent distance between them. Fill in any wide spaces with smaller dots made with the tip of your gold leaf pen.
To make the loopy egg draw alternating big and small loops starting at the top of the egg and swooping down to the bottom. Then swoop back up to the top on the opposite side for a modern look.
To make the gold nest egg simply draw lines around the egg over and over. Make some thin and some thick. The lines should be squiggly and not at all straight. Continue to fill in the egg until just a bit of the blue shows.
To make the bird cage egg make vertical lines from the top to the bottom of the egg all the way around. When dry, make a circle around the top and the bottom to enclose the ends of the lines. Fill the circle in with gold leaf.
To make the fern egg draw stems with the fine tip of your gold leaf pen. Use the fine tip to make "leaves" on all of the branches starting with taller, thicker leaves near the center stem and ending with shorter, thinner leaves near the tips.
Bonus: If you choose to try true gold leaf, paint overlapping tulip petals on the bottom of an egg with the sizing or adhesive. Allow the adhesive to dry for about 5 minutes and then apply the gold leaf. Rub it in gently where you want it to go and then remove the excess with a soft brush. The finish is dazzling.
To decorate your eggs, start with dyed and completely dry eggs at room temperature. Note: Storing them in the refrigerator can make them sweat when you remove them which may cause problems with the dye.
Lay paper towels on a flat surface. Decorate only one side of an egg at a time and allow it to dry on the paper towels to prevent rolling before doing the other side.