A beautifully engraved, etched, or carved egg seems magical and enchanting. Using an electric rotary tool is the most common and practical way to engrave an egg. Other ways an egg can be engraved are with a laser machine, which costs as much as an automobile, or with wax and acid, which produces a more primitive look. These methods are not covered here. Artistically-carved eggs make unique gifts and can sell for upwards of £65 each.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Whole raw egg
- Pieces of egg shell
- Large needle
- Magnifying glass
- Egg marker
- Foam pad
- High-speed rotary tool and bits
- Foam pad
- Surgical mask
- Eye protection
- Polyurethane spray sealer with UV protection
- Egg ring, egg cup, or other cratered stand
Use chicken eggs, if you are a beginner, since they are not as expensive as more exotic eggs. You can also carve ostrich eggs, which are the largest; emu eggs, which are dark; or rhea, duck, or other colourful eggs. Make a big impact by carving tiny bird eggs, which may require a magnifying glass. Consider trying fresh ranch eggs; some people think they have thicker shells than eggs produced by hens bred to lay production eggs.
Clean the raw egg thoroughly with soap and water. Make a hole in both ends using a large needle, making the hole in the large end of the egg about a quarter inch in diameter. Insert the needle through the large hole and pierce the yolk. Hold the egg over a bowl and blow very hard on the small hole to make the contents evacuate into the bowl. Rinse the inside of the egg with water and let dry.
Use a pencil to draw a design to engrave onto your egg. Choose something simple and manageable for your first effort. Try an image that looks well without a lot of detail or shading, such as a name. Advance to more complicated designs as your skills improve. Buy an "egg marker" tool for under £65, which will help you to accurately mark grids, spirals, and other patterns on various sizes of eggs.
Use a high-speed rotary tool or dentist's drill to engrave your egg. Put the egg on a foam pad, or hold it in your hand while you work. Use a surgical mask and eye protection. Practice with your drill bits on broken pieces of egg shell to learn what they can do. Try making lines, depressed areas, textures, and cuts through the shell. Work at perfecting your technique and move up to more complicated designs.
Use a polyurethane spray with UV protection to seal your finished egg. Choose from flat, satin, or glossy finish. Use flat if you like the natural look of your egg. Spraying it with a satin finish will give your egg a slightly more sophisticated look. Glossy spray on your egg achieves a very finished look. Display your creation on an egg ring, in an egg cup, or in another cratered stand.
Tips and warnings
- Some eggs, such as emu eggs, have layers of colour that can be used in your design.
- Goose eggs have a reputation for being thin and easily breakable.
- Display your finished egg in a glass or Plexiglas case made to display a golf ball, baseball, or softball to protect it from dust and damage.
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