A not very common (but quite stunning) technique is that of the white pysanka.  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 the color sequence has been completed, the pysanka is treated in such a way as to make the shell white.

This was traditionally accomplished  by soaking the egg in an weak acid solution, e.g. sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) juice or vinegar. Depending on the level of acidity, this could take hours. The pysanka was then washed with clean water, and the wax removed.  This is mildly corrosive process, and usually resulted in some visible etching of the shell.  The small amount of relief from the etching was an added bonus. This process is called (in Ukrainian) «травлення».

Today white pysanky can be created in several ways:

  1. 1.by treating the pysanka with a bleaching agent

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

  3. 3.by acid etching with vinegar or some other 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 or washing 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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