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Decoupage a Paper Mache Egg in Vintage Style

Paper Mache Egg on Vintage Image Craft
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Paper Mache Egg image)
Paper mache eggs are a German Easter tradition. Originally used as Easter candy boxes in the 19th century, they have gone on to become gift boxes, party favors, and hanging ornaments. In a variety of sizes, they are the original nesting boxes.

They can be tricky to make, because the paper mache needs a perfect egg-shaped armature. Balloons may not result in a great egg shape, and wads of newspaper and tape tend to be lumpy. We found the perfect shortcut to eggs-actly the right form.

The secret is those large plastic eggs that show up in craft stores and "seasonal" displays before Easter every year. They usually have a clear top and colored bottom that snap together. Choose your egg size, get out the newspaper and liquid starch, and you can lay one of these beauties.

For our artwork, we chose a vintage bunny theme. Our FREE vintage images for our paper mache egg craft include Easter bunnies from Victorian greetings. Hopping bunnies, sitting bunnies, laughing, dancing, wearing clothes, kissing. All the things that bunnies do. Well, most things that bunnies do.

Materials for our Paper Mache Egg

Crafts & Supplies at joann.com!
  • Vintage images and templates (FREE PDF download), printed on plain white copy paper.
  • Plastic egg container. Ours was about 8" long and 5" high.
  • Newspaper, torn into 1" x 1/2" pieces.
  • Decoupage medium, matte, like ModPodge.
  • Liquid starch, or your preferred paper mache glue (See Tips).
  • Narrow lace trim or fancy ribbon, 20" long.
  • Acrylic craft paint, deep pastel blue, yellow, or whatever you like.
  • Image fixative spray (See Tips).
  • Spray paint, gold.
  • Clear spray finish or varnish, matte.
  • Gesso, white (optional).
  • Walnut ink, thinned brown acrylic paint, or brown shoe polish (See Tips).
  • Hot glue gun or tacky glue.
  • Craft knife or razor blade.
  • Detail scissors.
  • Sand paper, very fine (optional).

Instructions

  1. Paper mache egg, step 1Lightly sand the outside of the plastic eggs, to give the paper mache a little gripping surface.
  2. Paper mache egg, step 2Cover both halves of the egg separately with a layer of paper mache, letting the paper hang over the edge of the egg. Set each egg half up on a can to dry. When it is dry, lightly sand the paper smooth and apply two more layers, drying and sanding in between. When the three layers are dry, cut away the over-hanging paper along the edge of the egg with a craft knife.
  3. This is the time to spray paint the inside of the egg halves. Apply two or three light coats, not worrying if the overspray clings to the outside of the egg (See Tips).
  4. If you wish, brush a coat of white gesso on the paper mache, to act as a primer and filler.
  5. Paper mache egg, step 3Paint the egg halves with two coats of acrylic paint and let dry.
  6. Paper mache egg, step 4Decoupage time! Spray your printed vintage images with image fixative spray and let dry. Cut out all of the bunnies with detail scissors. On your table, arrange the bunnies in a row, overlapping them a little, the way you like them. One by one, apply them with decoupage medium along the edge of the top of the egg (see Tips), all the way around. Brush a coat of medium over the entire surface of the top half, and the bottom half, of the egg. When it is dry, sand lightly if you wish, then brush on another coat of medium and let it dry.
  7. Paper mache egg, step 5Antiquing time! Spritz a little walnut ink here and there on the egg, and gently wipe and pat it with a paper towel or rag to work the brown ink into the indentations and off of the highlights. You'll know when you like the look, and stop rubbing. Do the same on both halves and let them dry. Spray with clear, matte finish to protect the surface.
  8. Use the hot glue gun to apply the lace or ribbon trim around the edge of the top of the egg. Apply it so it hangs down evenly around the edge, so it will hide the crack between the two halves. If you decided to glue your egg halves together, just glue the trim over the crack.
  9. Now you could go further. We experimented with adding some embellishment to the top of the egg. A pom pom. Silk flowers. A chenille chick. Nothing looked right, because traditional paper mache eggs weren't embellished. But they do look really good nestled in Easter basket grass or raffia!

Tips

  • What can we say? We are liquid starch fans. It is the easiest way we know to get a smooth, quick-drying paper mache. We talk about it in our Craft Techniques section, and we give you some more tips in our Easter Egg Pot craft. In fact, the hardest thing about it is finding the liquid starch, because starching clothes is a dying tradition. When you find a store that has bottles of Sta-Flo, Niagara, or Linit, buy a bunch.
  • What the heck is "image fixative spray?" We have learned from experience; Spraying the ink-jet-printed image with a fixative will prevent the inks from blurring or running when moistened with the decoupage medium (Mod Podge). We used Preserve It! by Krylon®, described on the label as a moisture-resistant "digital photo and paper protectant." A clear spray varnish would work as well for this project. In a pinch, use hair spray. Just spray the image lightly and let it dry.
  • What the heck is walnut ink? We have no idea, but we love it. We bought a spray bottle of it from Tsukineko (www.tsukineko.com), and it work like a charm for antiquing a decoupaged surface. Just spray some on, and wipe it until it looks good to you. Let it dry thoroughly and then coat with a clear spray finish. If you don't have walnut ink on hand, you can get the same result with brown acrylic paint thinned with a little water. You can also use brown shoe polish, or even acrylic artist paint in a tube.
  • We liked the idea of using our paper mache egg as a candy box, but there are issues. The paper mache constricts when it dries, and when we were all done, the two halves of the egg did not fit together as nicely as they did before. That was one reason for the lace trim; to hide the uneven crack. You may decide to just glue the halves together and skip the box concept. You have our blessing.

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