Thursday, April 1, 2010

Easter eggs

I've been sort of absent - sorry about that!

OK, so, when last heard from... I posted a couple of weeks ago about how I was experimenting with painting easter eggs. I finally got around to taking some pictures:

This was part of my first round of experimenting. (Visible behind is the only non-easter-related thing I did, which is a decoupaged letter S. There are some decoupage eggs, too, so I'll talk about that later.) I really think the most successful thing I did early on was that pink/purple egg with the sort of ombre effect. I ended up doing several of those. The larger green egg ended up getting painted over, although it wasn't entirely unsuccessful, I think, if you actually wanted something that looked like a miniature watermelon. It was sort of cute, it just didn't look like an easter egg!

These are paper-mache eggs from Hobby Lobby. As I said in the other entry, I chose the eggs mostly because I wanted something cheap to experiment on - the normal chicken-egg sized ones were three for $1, as I recall, even if they weren't on sale. There were two bigger sizes but they were similarly reasonably priced, although as you can see above, the medium size was shaped somewhat less like an egg and more like a potato, but I didn't let that stop me from decorating them just the same.

The basic technique here is real, real simple:
1. Take a paper-mache egg and paint it with layers of acrylic paint until you like what you see. If you don't like what you come up with, cover it with more paint and continue. (It seems to me that there's bound to be some point at which the paint gets so thick it starts peeling off or something, but I never hit that point. And some of these eggs have quite a number of layers.)
2. Once you're satisfied with your egg, start covering it with additional layers of varnish (I used Ceramcoat Glossy). Unlike the acrylic paint, which dries really quickly, the varnish takes some time to dry. If you want them for Sunday, you'd best start today, because if you are intending to take your eggs outdoors and actually, you know, hide them or something, I would recommend that you use quite a few layers of varnish. I did not actually test my eggs to see how they would hold up to this kind of treatment, though. (I'm contemplating playing Stealth Easter Bunny Saturday night and hiding eggs around my elderly neighbors' front doorways, just for the heck of it, so I might have something to report when that's done.)

I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination, so my version of easter egg art was mostly a variety of squiggles and swirls, and the effects - like the ombre one above - that I could come up with by layering paint in various ways. I also discovered that painting a thin layer of white paint over brightly-colored patterns came out as sort of a "whitewash" effect that I liked. For example, I was trying to hand-paint stripes onto the one egg in the picture above, but they were not terribly straight and it was bothering me. But covered by a layer of white, somehow it magically looked much better! Here is the whitewashed version:

And here is the whole basket-full that I ended up with:
This basket is my actual childhood easter basket, by the way. It's still holding together pretty well, considering its advanced age.

There is a small and a large egg visible in there that are decoupaged. That I did with DecoPatch paper and ModPodge. It was pretty easy, even on the smaller eggs.