At Printfresh we love to celebrate holidays with lovely little crafts, and Easter is no exception. We've had plants on the brain as of late, in part due because we've been fighting off the winter blues with office plants, but also because we're deep in the development and design process for our upcoming collection. Techniques like indigo shibori and natural stencil cyanotypes have shaped this unrevealed line, and we found ourselves inspired to translate that aesthetic into our egg decorating.
We're calling this an Experiment/DIY because this was really an excuse to get creative and play around with different decorating possibilities. Rather than follow a DIY exactly, the goal was to get messy and let the final product emerge organically. Each method transfers the image of fern leaves we collected, but illustrates botanical imagery in a different way. Every egg we made is slightly different, but we love how the colors bring this little collection together! Feminine pinks and blushes and bold tones of cyan and indigo make up our favorite palette of the moment.
1. Cyanotype Leaves
We were initially inspired by cyanotypes, so we wanted to start off our decorating by actually trying to make cyanotypes with eggs in lieu of paper!
If you're unfamiliar with what a cyanotype is, Wikipedia defines it as, "a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print. The process uses two chemicals: ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide." These two chemicals combine to create a photosensitive solution that develops into a vibrant blue print. Traditionally prints were made on paper or cloth, but cyantoypes can be printed on any surface capable of soaking up the solution.
We weren't sure if eggs would be porous enough to work, but we mixed up some cyanotype solution (Jacquard has a great DIY kit we'd recommend) and coated the eggs a few times, allowing them to dry overnight. Working in a space shielded from sunlight, we dusted the fern leaves with a mild spray adhesive and wrapped the fronds around the eggs. Then we placed the eggs in sunlight and allowed the UV rays to do their work, rotating the eggs a few times to allow the whole surface to be exposed.
Once the egg looked like it had properly developed, we rinsed off the eggs in water. While the solution adhered to certain parts of the egg better than others (probably whatever area that had soaked in the solution for the longest amount of time), you can see we were able to capture a bit of the fern's image on the eggs!
2. Stenciled Leaves
For our second method, we wanted to get the same effect as a cyanotype but hang on to a bit more control and get a really rich colored surface. We also wanted to introduce pink into our palette, and paint gave us the freedom to do both.
We again started with a little spray adhesive, placing the leaves onto the eggs in pretty patterns. We then painted over the whole surface with a mix of ink and gouache. The end products were beautifully stamped designs that retained a lot of the visual integrity of the natural leaves.
3. Stamped Leaves
Last, we decided to try using the leaves as stamps. On these eggs, the base of the egg stayed white and the leaves themselves were the colored elements.
We used watered down inks (we love the vibrancy and color-fastness of Dr Ph Martins) and painted directly onto the leaves. Once the leaves were covered with the ink solution, we stamped them onto the eggs, allowing each stamp to dry before stamping the egg again. Because the ink was watered down, we achieved some really interesting color variation in the way the colors dried.
Don't these eggs look beautiful together?!
What is your favorite way to creatively color Easter Eggs?