Dyeing Problems:

Leaky Plug


This problem only occurs when working with emptied eggs. For some reason, during dyeing, dye has leaked into the egg. This is usually due to a malfunctioning (wax) plug. 

PROBLEM: The plug could be malfunctioning because it is defective or poorly placed.  I usually do a “bulls-eye” type wax plug – I roll a small piece of beeswax into a ball/tube, place it firmly in the drain hole, mash it down a little, and then use a heavy stylus to write a wax line around it. 

Alternatively, the plug could have gotten dislodged or damaged during the pysankarstvo process.  I see this a lot in my pysanka classes with younger children; they may write with hot wax too close to the plug and make a small hole in it.

CAUSE: the wax plug is not sealed properly.  The problem usually manifests itself when the wax is being removed, as the heat of the process will cause dye to starts spewing out of the (opened) drain hole.

Sometimes it may be noticed when drying an egg or working on it after dyeing; a small amount of dye might trickle out of the drain hole area.

SOLUTION: the solution depends upon whether the pysanka is finished (last color done) or still in the process of being written.

In either case, open the drain hole with a hot stylus tip. Take a triangular piece of paper towel, twist one end, and insert into the drain hole.  Use a large piece of paper towel, not a tiny triangle of the sort used when emptying eggs.  There may be a LOT of dye inside.

Let the dye drain out.  If the paper towel becomes soaked, replace it. Keep replacing until the dye stops draining.

Note: If this is an egg you are working on, for an optimal outcome I would suggest leaving a paper twist in over night while placing the egg in an appropriate drying rack, to let any remaining dye trickle out. If in a class, it’s reasonably safe to continue.

For unfinished eggs plug the hole well with beeswax and continue working (after washing your now dye stained hands). 

If the pysanka is finished, continue the process while holding the egg near a candle:

The heat from the candle will drive even more dye out. Note the puddle of dye on the plate.  A lot of dye can leak into an egg without being noticed!

Keep changing paper twists until no further dye comes out.

Make sure you let the egg dry thoroughly, inside and out, before varnishing or further processing it. As before, it might be worth your while to leave a paper twist in over night to make sure all the dye has drained out.

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Malfunctioning Wax Plugs