Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Washi Eggs

This is a traditional Japanese craft that has been around for hundreds of years.

First, you’ll need washi paper – origami paper. I wouldn’t bother with anything else. Washi paper is sturdy and flexible, and able to hold up to this craft.

The paper is expensive. I paid $5 for per packet of 20 and 24 sheets – four designs each.

Commonly, these eggs are done with blown-out eggs. You can certainly do that if you want to (and if you’re feeling very, very brave), but I wouldn’t bother. Working with these eggs takes some pressure and rearranging, and I know that I’d break a shell every few seconds. I used paper mache’ eggs, and wooden eggs both.

You’ll also need glue – I used mod podge (watered down when it got too thick) – use something that doesn’t dry super fast, as you’ll need time.

The only tools you’ll need are something to lay them to dry (a piece of paper), a paint brush, and scissors.

The first thing to do is measure the length, t0p tip to bottom tip of your egg - a leave a little bit to spare. Better to trim your ends as your working then have it go a tiny bit crooked and not cover your egg completely.

When I had the length right, I just used the trimmed off portion as a guide for the length of the rest of the eggs. (Another benefit of paper mache and wooden eggs – they’re all the same size.)


You can measure the width, too, but my paper was close to the correct width (5 7/8), so I just trimmed at the end if I needed to.

Fold your paper in half (I didn’t firmly crease it, as I didn’t want the crease to show) and then fringe your open edges – to about a 1/2 inch away from the fold.

I found that a centimeter (roughly) was a workable size, as smaller made the print choppy and too difficult to match up.

Trim the edges of your fringe, to make them pointed, picket-fence style.

Brush a bit of glue onto one end of your paper,


and move it around until it’s straight, and either end will reach the points of your egg. This takes some doing, and you’ll have to watch your progress, because it’s easy to get off-track, as you’re working with something round.

Put glue all the way out to the end of your first tab (I placed glue on three or so at a time), and smooth it down.

You’ll work all the way around the first side (top of the egg or bottom) before you start on the second side. For this reason, I found it was better to keep the glue onto one side of the crease, so as not to accidentally glue something down on the other half of the egg, causing a crease which dried before I was ready to work on that half.

Another note about technique (I’ve learned the hard way) is that to keep creases to a minumum (where the joint of the tabs connect), place the tab you’re placing down firmly and smoothly, but sort of take the connecting side of the next tab with you.

This makes for a more smooth lay.

Trim your points as you need, if they’re too long.

When the first side is done, do the same thing for the other side.

Rub the egg with the back of a spoon to blend in the paper well.

I finished them with another layer of mod podge, you can use any kind of sealer.

A final note - this takes practice. I did about six before I even stopped shuddering at my work. :/ That’s expensive! :)

I would say that if you want to practice – and I would suggest doing this at least once! – then take the part that you’ve trimmed off for your first egg, fringe it, and on an egg (a boiled one?) get a feel for how it works.

For a children’s version, do the same thing, but allow for wrinkles (like crinkled tissue paper),

and then press down with the wrinkles.


You’ll need to allow extra length for the crinkles, so cut your paper a little longer.

When Maddie was done, I put on a thick coat of mod podge, and pressed down firmly around her egg. Older children could do this themselves, certainly.

You could also use cheerful tissue paper for a wrinkly alternative for pretty eggs.

I would also be willing to bet that this same technique could be done with any hand-made paper that you’ve crafted (or purchased). I’m sure it would make beautiful eggs.

1 copy

Happy Spring.

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