Sunday, February 21, 2010

Eggshell Mosaics

We don’t have snow.
We don’t have blue skies.
We don’t have a thousand shades of gray, particularly, either (thank goodness)…. it’s more like everything is lost in the “in between”.

So we’re moving on. :)
Into Spring!

I’ve had this one on the burner for quite a while, now. so here we go.

You could make these on paper, I like to put things like this onto plaques, so they become more of a keepsake.

We used eggshells, egg dye, water colors (certainly both are not necessary – either one will do), plaster of paris, a cut-up drinking straw, a mold, raffia, craft (tacky) glue, and a pencil and paper.

First – remove the membrane from inside your eggshell (uncooked and washed is fine)- it pulls out easily, and it will make everything go more smoothly.

Since we were using brown eggs (what we always buy), I soaked the bits of eggshell overnight – it didn’t appear to make a difference, the brown side was only slightly altered, so we used the reverse (white) sides, which took the coloring easily.

In order not to make a mess of the plaque, the colored shells were rinsed in cold water before we handled and arranged them.

We drew designs on a piece of paper, getting a general idea of what we wanted to make. Our designs were a rabbit, baby chicks, and colored eggs. I was also thinking a single large egg, a nest, and a blossoming tree or flower would be lovely.

We mixed up our plaster of paris – the rule for mixing it is two parts plaster to one part water. We mixed up enough for two plaques at a time, and used 1 1/2 cups plaster to 3/4 cups cold water.

Note on working with plaster of paris: Do not wash any remnants down the sink! It will clog your pipes! Use a napkin if you have a problem.
Also remember that it’s much easier to clean up when it’s dry – it comes up easily off a smooth surface if you scratch at it with your fingernail, and if you just leave the bucket or soft bowl that you mixed it in until it dries, simply squeeze the container, and the plaster will crack and break – then you can easily just dump the plaster bits into the garbage. So the disposable bowl or bucket can be used for this again and again.

I wanted our plaques a little smaller than saucer size, so I used some small baskets, and lined them with a cut up plastic grocery sack.

When it is mixed, pour it into the prepared molds.

After about one minute, put in the bits of straw, to make holes for hanging.

After about two minutes of sitting (before it was very dry) twist the straws and lifted them out.

When the plaster looks firm, you can take it carefully out of the molds, and peel off the grocery bag, if you aren’t using plastic disposable plates – if some has creased, and stuck into the backside, that’s not a problem, as it won’t be visible.

When it was completely set, lightly draw the designs onto the topside of the plaque, to make a rough outline.

We chose the sections we wanted to work on first, and put the glue down.

We set the shells near,

and now comes the fun!

It took a while, but it was really actually a pleasant and rewarding pastime. I wasn’t sure how Maddie would do (being four), but she actually really liked it, and did hers by herself.
One note – if you have little children, a good thing I discovered is that if you leave some of the shell pieces rather large (coin sized), when you place larger pieces on the plaque, you can then crush them (as they’re curved), and it makes a nice tiled effect. So little ones can actually do larger pieces at a time if you leave some for them.





Since ours were rather subdued (natural) in their coloring, we opted for raffia instead of bright pink or green ribbons.

Align Center

Soooo sweet!

1 comment:

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!