Dye Enhancement - Tulips


Blog Post #21

Blooming Tulips

Flowers written on a pysanka symbolize devotion. In springtime, tulips are a welcome sight after a cold, dreary winter. Their appearance revitalizes and inspires as the earth awakens from a restful sleep.

The following is an experiment in which dye is applied to portions of an egg with a #0 paint brush to create a gradient shading of color.


Lightly drawn pencil guidelines divide the egg into sixteen sections. A guideline is placed around the center of the egg as well.


A tulip and leaf design is snuggled within the guidelines.


Beeswax outlines the tulip and leaf images.


Once the egg was dyed yellow, orange and red dye were brushed onto the tulip’s upper petals. This technique creates a “pool” of dye on the surface of the egg. The “pool” was allowed to sit on the egg for a minute or so before blotting the excess off with a tissue. This process works best when the egg’s surface is still damp from the preceding color. The dye was a quick-dyeing commercial variety rather than a grocery store, food safe dye. Wax was applied over the tulip bloom to seal in the effect.


The egg was placed in moss green dye. A phone call interrupted my attention and the egg sat too long in the dye, creating a blotchy and irregular surface. My intent was to highlight the leaves in a similar way as the flower petals but it did not work as expected. So I just applied a dark forest green dye over the moss green color on a leaf with the #0 brush. After a minute or so, the excess dye was blotting off. Beeswax was then applied to each of the newly colored leaves.


The next leaf was painted with a light green dye and it seemed to lighten the base coat of moss green. Wax sealed in the color.


The egg was rinsed in cold water which made the moss green dye brighter and more evenly saturated. A third leaf, filled with wax, became this favorable green color. The egg was rinsed again to remove as much of the green dye as possible before being dyed purple.


The painted-on dye dried much darker than expected, leaving only a hint of the tulip’s yellow base color. It was a fun, interesting experiment that will be tried again at some point in the future.


"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.

They must be felt with the heart.”     — Helen Keller


Learn more about the art of pysanky.


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