There’s magic in your fridge or at least the makings of it. There, behind the OJ, there’s a carton of Grade A power objects. (Alright, so at the moment they’re just eggs, but with your help they could be so much more!) Turns out, what we’ve come to know as “Ukrainian Easter eggs” actually had their start as a kind of pagan witchcraft. For thousands of years, Ukrainians have used colorful dyes and carefully applied beeswax to transform the humble hen fruit into talismans thought to attract good health, wealth, happiness, fertility, and even love. And to think you were just going to make omelets.

Project Steps

Get a feel for writing with beeswax by practicing on newsprint.

To do this, heat your kistka or wax pen over a lit candle, then dip the scoop into the heated beeswax. A pen nib may also work, but you’ll have to re-dip more often.

Draw your initial beeswax lines.

With its high melting point, beeswax solidifies almost as soon as it’s drawn and won’t smear. That means the beeswax-covered portions of your egg will resist applied dyes, resulting in a batiked effect. For best results, use vinegar to remove impurities on the shell, and since oil on your hands can become a resistant to dye, wash them well too.

Begin dyeing the egg.

Dye with lightest colors first, dipping the egg until the color pleases you. Allow the egg to dry completely before adding subsequent coats of wax and progressively darker colors.

Clean and seal.

After your finished egg has dried, put it in a 250°F oven, or simply hold near (but not directly over) a candle flame, to melt the wax. Once melting starts, remove and wipe the egg with a tissue. Seal your ephemeral art object with a coat of lacquer for a shiny finish.


This project first appeared in CRAFT Volume 02, pages 103-104.