The egg is one of the symbols that represent spring and the continued cycle of life. Egg-stra Special Art incorporates eggshells and a graphic image to create a work of art. It will require some preparation but the benefits that come from finding the perfect image, mixing the colours to dye the shells and setting up the “canvas” for this puzzle-like project is designed to encourage fun, learning and discovery for persons of all ages and abilities. The larger the area for each colour in the image, the easier it will be to fill that area with the crushed eggshells. The rough surface of the paper allows the glue and shells to create a more permanent bond.
Red, yellow, blue, green food colour
White eggshells — uncooked to colour [two large eggs equal 20 ml (four teaspoons) crushed shells
White craft glue
Cereal box liners — 1 for each colour
Picture frame (make sure it’s the right size for your finished picture) Graphic (colouring books are a good source or get one off the computer or draw your own)
Sparkled rough purple scrap-booking paper
Green, blue, red, gold sparkle pipe cleaners
Colour eggshells. Guesstimate the amount of crushed eggshell for each colour. Rinse eggshells to remove residual egg white and crush them by hand. In a small pot, cover them with water, add 30 ml (2 tbsp.) vinegar and food colour. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, stir and let cool. Turn shells into fine mesh sieve and rinse. Spread shells on paper towelling until thoroughly dry. With shells in cereal box liner, use rolling pin to crush them into small bits. Set aside.
Layer sparkle paper — rough side up, carbon paper — dark side down, and then centre the graphic with right side up on a firm surface. Tape corners to surface. Use a firm hand to trace the lines of the graphic to transfer image onto sparkle paper. Remove graphic and carbon paper. Using the graphic as a template, shape and cut the pipe cleaners to fit the border of each matching colour. Drizzle craft glue over lines on the sparkle paper’s image and lay the pipe cleaners on those lines. Set aside until the glue is set.
Start at centre and fill one area half full with craft glue. The pipe cleaners will work like a dam to contain the glue. Sprinkle coloured eggshells over the glue. Press the shells into the glue with a toothpick adding more glue and shells until section is full. Occasionally, shake and tap paper onto a sheet of clean paper to dislodge loose shell. Set aside to dry or work on an area not bordering the first. Continue until all areas are full. Use tweezers to remove crossover colours. Once completely dry frame and hang your Egg-stra Special Art.
Dana Ramstedt is a freelance writer and preschool teacher of 18 years.