A not very common but quite stunning technique is that of white pysanky.  A pysanka is written in the traditional manner, except that the first color (white) is skipped, and the main outlining is done with yellow or gold.  Once all the colors have been completed, the pysanka is bleached, leaving the shell white.

Bleaching was traditionally accomplished  by soaking the egg in an acid solution, e.g. sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) juice or vinegar for about thirty minutes, and then washing the egg with clean water.  This was mildly corrosive, and usually resulted in etching of the shell as well.  The small amount of relief from the etching was an added bonus. This process is called (in Ukrainian) «травлення».

Today bleaching can be accomplished in several ways:

  1. 1.by soaking the pysanka briefly in diluted chlorine bleach (2T per cup of water)

  2. 2.by washing and scrubbing it with a soap or detergent

  3. 3.by using a bleaching agent such as Simple Green

  4. 4.by acid etching with vinegar or another acid 

No matter the method used, it is important to apply the wax fairly thickly, as thinly-applied wax might come off during this process and ruin the design (i.e. avoid extra-fine lines).

A variation on this technique involves bleaching the egg, letting it dry, and then re-dyeing a light final color, as in the light blue pysanka below.

Either way, the results can be stunning.


White Pysanky

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