Tasha Tudor went out of her way to make every day full of beauty and magic. This was especially true on holidays. Whether for Christmas, Valentines Day, or birthdays, Tasha and her family spent many hours preparing decorations, gifts, and delectable treats to mark the occasion.
Easter was the main event of Spring, perhaps second only to Christmas when it came to preparing elaborate decorations! Her son, Seth Tudor, remembers the sometimes harrowing tasks he and his siblings were given in the lead-up to Easter, “We would take brown or white chicken eggs (occasionally the larger duck and goose eggs), puncture a small hole in either end, and using mouth pressure, force out the contents--neither an easy nor enjoyable task.”
After rinsing the eggs so that the insides were completely clean of yolk and whites, the family would spend many (much more enjoyable) hours decorating the eggs with poster paints or Tasha’s art paints. Seth describes their designs as, “simple, as suited a child’s abilities.”
Tasha would sometimes make a more elaborate drawing on her eggs, occasionally using the Eastern European technique called Pysanky, where, using a special stylus pen, one first paints designs on hollowed eggs using melted wax, then dip-dyes the egg to give it color, and finally washes the wax off with warm water so that a relief design is revealed where the wax had been. Tasha was known to sometimes use commercial fabric dye to achieve full-color pastel eggs.
Once the family had produced a couple dozen decorated eggs, they would hang them on their traditional “Easter Egg Tree” (which can be seen in the book A Time to Keep). The tree was often displayed at the center of their dining table so that they could admire their handy-work while eating their special holiday meal of roasted ham, spiced with cloves and cooked in front of the fire in Tasha’s famous Tin Kitchen.
Today we are going to share simple instructions for decorating Easter eggs with watercolor paints, like Tasha and her children did. Because none of us at Tasha Tudor and Family were very keen on blowing out the contents of an egg in the fashion described by Seth, we simply hard-boiled our eggs before painting them. If you are feeling more dedicated than we are, you can look up directions for blowing out your eggs online. You can even purchase blown out eggs online if you want them to last but don't want to put in the work (we wouldn't blame you). The benefit of this method is that your decorated eggs can be used year after year and you don't have to worry about eggs going bad! You can also make ornaments with blown-out eggs to hang from your own Easter Egg Tree! If you go the hard-boiled route like we did and plan on eating your eggs after decorating them or if you are decorating eggs with children, be sure to use non-toxic paints!
- A dozen or so hard-boiled or blown-out eggs (we used eggs from Ellie's chickens!)
- Non-toxic watercolor or gouache paints (gouache will dry more opaque than watercolor)
- Paint brushes of various sizes
- Small bowl of water
- Small plate or palette for paints
- Small plate or egg carton for setting aside painted eggs
- Kraft paper or newspaper to cover your work surface
Once you have your materials set up, the rest is really up to you! Experiment with mixing your own colors, using brushes of different sizes, covering an entire egg in color or playing with patterns!
We like simple, timeless designs like polk-a-dots, stripes, and flowers. The possibilities are truly endless.
We recommend giving each side of your eggs time to dry before turning it over so that the designs don't smudge!
If you are painting eggs with children, you'll be shocked by their ingenuity and fearlessness in mixing colors, their proclivity for abstract designs, and their speedy rate of production. Ellie and Katie Tudor painted over 5 eggs each in the span of 15 minutes!
Once you have painted your fill, let your eggs dry fully. Your painted eggs can be used to add a decorative flair to Easter Baskets, Easter Egg Hunts, or (if you used non-toxic paint) as a beautiful addition to a Spring picnic! If you were ambitious enough to blow out your eggs (or purchase them online) you can even make them into ornaments to hang from your own Easter Egg Tree. Seth recommends tying thread to half a matchstick and putting it through one the the holes in the egg so that it catches and then tying the thread into a loop at the top as the best method for ornament-making.
Show us your hard work! Post pictures of your Easter egg decorations to Instagram and Facebook, tag @tashatudorandfamily and use the hashtag #TashaTudorCrafts.