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the basics
new? start here
egg designs
supplies you'll need
the basic steps

help & more info
symbol & color meanings
offline resources

where do I...?
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buy supplies
take workshops
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fun extras
ukrainian recipes
pysanky coloring pages
original dye recipes
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of further interest
ann's rcm coins
peasant magic show
pysanky gift ideas
ann's gift shop

updated APR 14 2017

Getting Started in Pysanky

Pysanky © 2009 Ann Morash

Pysanky is the ancient Eastern European art of egg decorating, of which the Ukrainian version is arguably most famous (and is covered in this website). The name comes from the verb to write, as you use a stylus (called a kistka) to write with wax on the egg shell. The process is similar to batik.

You start with the lightest color, usually white. Everything that you want to remain white, you cover with wax, using the kistka. Then, you dye the egg, usually yellow. Wherever there is wax, the yellow dye will not be able to penetrate. This preserves the white part of the design under the wax. On your yellow egg, you mark with wax all the parts of the design that you want to remain yellow. Then dye it in the next dye bath, going in progressively darker colors, and add more wax. In the end, you will have an egg with a great deal of wax on it - if black is your finishing color, you will end up with a virtually black egg. Then, using the side of a candle flame, you melt away the wax, revealing the colors that were protected underneath. This results in a brilliantly colored and often very intricately designed egg, sure to bring much joy to both the artist/creator and the recipient!

Gather Your Supplies

Check out my supplies you'll need page for a full list of what you'll need: from common things like leftover newspapers, to specialty items like the kistka (the stylus used to write the wax on the egg). Specialty items are marked with a * for easy reference. To purchase them, check out my huge list of where to buy supplies. Go in person, or order online.

I recommend beginners purchase the correct supplies to begin with, so you can get the best results possible. After you get comfortable doing pysanky, feel free to try different types of dye, etc. Only a few specialty items are required, and they are inexpensive (eg. the kistka, is about $2.50 USD).

Read ALL of "The Basic Steps"

Before you go any further, read completely and thoroughly the basic steps page. It gives you a full outline of how to set up your workspace, how to clean your eggs, getting used to the kistka, etc.

Choose an Egg Design

I have the complete instructions for over 35 different egg designs on my website, laid out step by step. Click on the thumbnail picture of the egg on my designs page to go to the instructions for that egg. Want even more designs? Check out my offline resources page for some excellent design books.

Now, you're all ready to begin!

Have More Questions?

Check out the hints & tricks page, featuring tons of good advice learned through trial and error by myself and many other pysanka artists who have kindly written in to share their knowledge. There's additional information in the FAQ too.

For finding specific information, check out my sitemap/search page, which contains a complete listing of everything to be found on learnpysanky.com, and a search engine to search for specific words/phrases.

Still don't feel confident enough to try pysanky on your own? Check out my where to take workshops page to see if anyone in your area is holding a class you can attend!

Good luck and have fun!
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