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
For our artwork, we chose a vintage bunny theme. Our FREE vintage images
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
Walnut ink, thinned brown acrylic paint, or brown shoe polish
Hot glue gun or tacky glue.
Craft knife or razor blade.
Sand paper, very fine (optional).
the outside of the plastic eggs, to give the paper mache a little
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
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).
If you wish, brush a coat of white gesso on the paper mache, to
act as a primer and filler.
Paint the egg
halves with two coats of acrylic paint and let dry.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
the inks from blurring or running when moistened with the decoupage
(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.