Egg Art: First Varnish Seals the Design

Initial (light) Varnish Coat

Here is where my method differs from common methods. I give the egg a coat of varnish before I empty it. The reason for this, is, because I clean out the inside of the egg very thoroughly with water and bleach. If I do that with an unprotected egg, all the dye will run and ruin the design.

After the egg is emptied, drained, and dried, I do give it a heavier final varnish coat, described here. But for this step, just a light protective coating will do.

Prep: You need your little can of polyurethene quick-drying varnish, a stirring stick (popsicle stick, pencil, something clean), cooking oil or olive oil, a roll of paper towels, and an egg drying rack.

You are going to do this with bare hands, so be sure they are clean and dry, and remove all your rings and hand jewelry. You can use thin plastic gloves if you are sensitive to varnish, but be careful to pick ones that are powder-free. And they will be very slippery. For those of you who want to go barehanded, I will tell you (at the end of this post) how to easily remove the varnish from your hands using common cooking oil.

Open your can of polyurethene and give it a stir with the stick to mix up any varnish that has settled on the bottom. Do not shake it up before opening – this will create annoying bubbles that will invade your egg surface, and are a pain to get off.

Holding the egg in one hand, dip your finger (opposite hand) into the varnish. You won’t need a lot of varnish, first knuckle’s worth should be fine. Rub that varnish-finger all over the surface of the egg, turning it in the palm of your hand, until the whole surface is covered. Dip more varnish if needed, but you only need a light coating to protect the dye. Just make sure there are no voids where water can get in and ruin the dye.

When the egg surface is fully covered, set the egg upright on to the nails of your egg drying rack. Let it cure for several hours. Overnight is best, but 5-6 hours at least. Note: if you have cats, you may want to cover the egg with a clean plastic bin or bucket so the cat does not knock the egg over, or fuzz it up.

Now, you have varnish all over your hands, right? Ew. But don’t worry – You can remove this easily with regular household cooking oil! First wipe the excess varnish off your hands with a paper towel. Then pour a little bit of cooking oil into the palm of your hand, and rub it all over your hands like soap. Run it underneath your fingernails. Then wipe it off with another paper towel. All gone! You can then wash your hands with soap and water to get the oil off.