This Easter why not try something a little different? Make Easter eggs using a traditional textile dyeing method called batik that uses wax to create patterns on a dyed surface. In this activity, you'll use melted candle wax and crepe paper dye to create unique, beautifully-patterned eggs. This is also a good opportunity to talk to your child about nature, spring, and why eggs are a symbol of the season.
You can also create longer lasting treasures if you'd like. Empty out the eggs by poking holes through both ends with a pin and blowing out the contents. The raw egg contents can be used for cooking. This method leaves a fragile but light egg shell that will keep indefinitely.
What You Need:
- Crepe paper, variety of colors
- Hard-boiled eggs, or eggs that have had their contents blown out
- Bowls, one per color of crepe paper
- Hot water
- White vinegar, 1 tablespoon per bowl
- Candle and lighter, with parental supervision
- Paper towels
- Empty egg carton
- Oven, with parental supervision
- Oven-safe tray
What You Do:
- Help your child light a candle and set it aside.
- Have your child cut various colors of crepe paper into strips approximately half-an-inch wide, keeping colors separated.
- Set out as many bowls as there are colors of crepe paper. Have her place the cut paper into the bowls—one color in each bowl.
- Help her pour hot water onto the crepe paper. She'll see the dye releasing from the paper into the water.
- Have her remove the paper with a pair of tweezers.
- Measure out 1 tablespoon of white vinegar for each bowl, which will help the dye set. Allow the dyes to cool.
- Help her to carefully drip candle wax onto one egg at a time. The areas of the egg which do not have wax on them will be dyed. The parts of the shell covered with wax will remain the natural color of the egg.
- She can now start to dip the first egg. Have her begin with the lightest color dye first.
- Gently dry the egg on a paper towel, removing excess dye.
- Have her drip more wax on the dyed egg where she wants the light color to remain.
- Now, she can dip it again into a darker color and repeat the process as many times as she likes per egg, until all eggs are dyed.
- Time to remove the wax! Help your child place the eggs on a paper towel-lined cooking tray in a very warm oven for about two minutes, until the wax has melted.
- Wipe off the egg with a clean paper towel and place the egg in an empty egg carton to cool.
For darker colors you may need to leave the egg in the dye for longer periods of time.
Because this activity requires steps that are dangerous for children (like handling hot water and candle wax), an adult will need to do most of the work. But don't worry—there are still plenty of ways your child can help out. Let her pick out the colors, dip the eggs into the dyes, and decide on the overall design. Your child will enjoy watching the process as much as she enjoys participating in it. This is a one-on-one project for you and your child: use this time to talk to your child about why hot water is dangerous and how to stay safe in the kitchen.