Around this time every year, crafters go crazy trying to find fresh new ways to decorate Easter eggs. This year I wanted a very original and creative idea for eggs. And here it is. In this tutorial, I'll show you how to decorate eggs with different embroidery stitches.
- Electric rotary multi-tool (preferably with flexible driver)
- Tool accessories (cut-off wheel, sanding stone, drill bit)
- Embroidery needle
- Embroidery thread (floss) in colors of your choice
- Glue (optional)
- Safety mask
- Safety glasses
1. Empty the Shells
Attach the cut-off wheel accessory on your multi-tool. Use a large bowl, or even better, the kitchen sink, as your workspace. Before starting to work, put on a mask and protective glasses.
Set your tool on a high speed. Hold the wheel perpendicular to the egg. As the wheel goes through the shell, it will probably create a little egg splatter. The best way to minimize this, is "touch and go". Touch the shell with the disk and lift. Move a few millimeters away and repeat.
When you have come back to the starting point, pull the cut piece off. Shake the egg over the bowl until it's empty. It is advisable that you don't use these eggs. After contact with the tools, they are no longer safely edible and they may contain tiny raspings.
Use warm water and soap to clean the shells both inside and outside. Leave them to dry.
Replace the disk with a grinding stone part. Use on the cuts to smooth the rough edges of the cut. Work from the inside to outside. If by accident you break any shells, keep them for later use. They can become test eggs for drilling practice!
2. Transfer the Template
Fold the sponge in half, as shown below. Use your scissors and cut off a piece of sponge from the center. This will be your shell-holder while working. It's the best way to absorb drilling vibrations and avoid breakage.
Download and print out the template. Cut around the desired dotted design for each shell.
Smudge all over the back of the egg-shaped template paper with a soft lead pencil.
Place the paper on the shell, dotted side up. Press the pencil over the dots in a circular motion to transfer the pattern.
You will see faint marks on the shell. Go over the dots with the pencil. You could also use a piece of carbon paper under the template, or any other transferring material.
3. Drill the Holes
Attach the mini drill on the rotary tool. Use the smallest drill bit available. Set the tool on a low speed and work slowly and patiently. At this stage, high speed may result in increased vibrations and make the holes bigger. Give the drill some time and be gentle with the pressure. Turn every dot to a hole.
Test the needle size in the holes. I suggest using a long needle with a thin head. If your needle's head is bigger or has an exact fit in the hole, just go over them with the drill and enlarge them.
Transfer the designs on all the shells. Drill the holes and keep them ready for embroidery.
4. Cross-Stitch a Tulip
Thread the needle. Start with a knot at the end of your thread. Pass the thread all the way from the inside of the shell to the surface. If you are using a design where you need to go back in the same holes more than once, such as the tulip design, make sure that the holes are large enough. You can also divide the embroidery thread into three strands to reduce the thickness in the holes.
Leave the first hole and pass the thread through the second one. Pass it down through the next top right hole. Repeat to the lower two holes and complete a row. When you reach the bottom of the row, move to the next holes on the right and create another row upwards.
When you finish all the rows, cross the thread and go over the same rows to complete the cross-stitching. Add two more cross-stitches above the finished rows according to the holes that follow.
When you finish the stitches or need to change thread color, just make a knot in the end of the thread. Make a knot loop outside the shell, hold the thread with your fingers and push the knot down with the needle tip. Cut the excess thread.
If the back opening of your shell is too small to knot, just cut the thread close to the last stitch, add a little drop of glue and stick it on the shell.
Continue with green thread and make the stem to finish the tulip.
5. Make a 3-Stitch Daisy
Begin from the stem and leaves with a shade of pale green thread. Use backstitch for the stem.
When you reach the bottom, go through the next hole on the right and come back up to the hole on the opposite side of the leaf.
Go back in the previous hole and then back in the same hole you started this stitch.
Continue doing this until you finish the leaf. Complete the other leaf. You have created a hand-sewn zig-zig stitch.
Use a peach thread to form lazy stitch petals. Pull it through a hole close to the center hole, and then go back in the very same hole.
Leave a little loop, instead of pulling all the way down. Bring the needle up from the hole on the right and through the loop. Then push the needle through the same hole, pulling the thread gently.
You have created the first petal. Pass the needle up through the next hole closer to the center and repeat the same step.
Continue with the next four petals to finish the design.
6. Make a Stem Stitch Butterfly
For the butterfly design, I used a gradient thread. Make a knot and thread it through the curve's central hole.
Leave one hole and go in the third one.
Push the needle up through the hole that lies between the two of the first stitch (the one we left empty on the previous step). Leave one hole again and push the needle through the second next hole.
Go back up through the hole between the stitch length. Stem stitch is actually an upside-down backstitch. If you check the back of the shell, you will see a perfect backstitch line.
It looks a bit weird at first, but it will give a lovely curved effect while stitches are added.
Repeat until you finish the butterfly.
7. Stitch a Dandelion
How about using a dyed egg shell? You can give color to the empty shells using food coloring, egg dye or natural dyes. Keep in mind that in this case, you need to transfer and drill the design before you dye the shell.
For this design, remember to make the top end stem hole larger than the
rest, since the needle will go through this hole a few times.
Use backstitch again to create a stem from bottom to top. Push the needle up through the central hole. Make a long straight stitch filling the hole on the left.
Go back up from the hole next to it and down the previously used hole. Repeat for the third hole to create a little 'v' shape. Return to the central hole and do the same for the next group of holes.
Repeat and fill all the holes counter-clockwise to complete the dandelion.
Arrange an Easter Decoration
In this tutorial, you learned how to to cut, grind and drill an eggshell using a rotary tool. I also showed you how to embroider on your shell canvas using cross stitch, backstitch, straight stitch, stem stitch, zig-zag stitch and lazy stitch.
You can arrange your eggs in a cup or bowl, add them to a centerpiece or even make another hole on the top and hang with a ribbon. Make a wonderful arrangement to decorate your favorite corner for Easter.
Are you going to make embroidered eggshells this Easter? Have you ever embroidered on eggs or on any unconventional materials? We would love to see your pieces. Leave your links, comments or questions in the comment section below.