For as long as I can remember, my grandma has had a huge bowl of colorful, glittery eggs on her dining room buffet during the Easter season. While our family was there for Easter dinner, my siblings, cousins, and I would gingerly pick them up and choose our favorites. We were fascinated by how delicate they were; they weighed almost nothing.
About five years ago, my sister had my grandma teach her how these papier mache eggs were made, a tradition that had been passed down to my grandma by a close friend when she was young. It turns out, they are hollow chicken eggs that my grandma had painstakingly blown out and covered in pretty bits of decorative napkins, glue, and glitter. My two sisters and I have made a dozen each year ever since, and now we each have collections of our own to show off at Easter. No matter how many I have, I am compelled to make more every year, despite the sometimes maddening step of blowing out the eggs!
Here is the simple (but somewhat tedious) process:
Above and below, you can see the eggs after they have been hollowed out. My sisters and I have always taken a small picture nail and made a hole at the top and the bottom. If you lightly press the nail on the egg and gently rotate it repeatedly, it should go through fairly easily without breaking the egg (although there will surely be at least one egg casualty every year!). Then we take a longer nail or a pin and kind of swish it around inside the egg, trying to break up the yolk as much as possible. And finally you blow into one of the holes until all of the white and yolk inside comes out into a bowl. This is definitely the worst part of the process, as it can take a really long time and a lot of windpower to get all the egg out of the shell! This is where it helps to have friends or family members join in. (After making the eggs this year, I heard that there are actually tools you can buy that blow the egg out for you! Apparently you can even use one of those baby nasal aspirators for this step as well. I might as well try it; it’s not like G will let me use that thing on his nose anyway!) After you have finished hollowing out all the eggs, rinse them all under water and dry them before beginning the next step. I always try to get water inside the shell, swish it around, and blow it out a few more times to make sure there is no egg residue left in there.
Now here is where I diverted from my usual plans and tried something new, with not-so-great results. Usually, we take pretty decorative napkins and pull them apart until the printed, top layer is on its own. Most napkins have at least two or three layers. Once the napkin is separated, we cut out designs from the top layer that will be used to decorate the egg. Be sure to cut out small pieces in organic shapes so that they will lay flat on the rounded surface of the egg. This year, I tried using tissue paper, which I heard can also work for these eggs. I found it much more difficult to use and I didn’t think the eggs looked as good in the end. So I would definitely recommend using napkins if you try this yourself.
Next, squirt some regular old Elmer’s glue into a bowl and use a bit of water to make it more of a paint consistency. Use a paintbrush to brush sections of the egg with glue, place a napkin piece, and paint over it with more glue. Continue until the entire egg is covered. If you would like, you can then sprinkle the egg with a bit of glitter while it is still wet. I would recommend doing this step over a separate vessel so your glue does not get filled with glitter (I have made that mistake myself, which is why I had to say it!). We have always set our eggs to dry sideways in an egg carton. If you do this, make sure to turn them occasionally as they dry so they do not still to the container.
And, here are the finished products from this year, and past years! Enjoy your egg decorating!