Work Surface


Make sure your work surface is clean.  I usually keep a stack of paper towels in my work space to work on. The soft surface cradles the egg, while providing enough friction to keep the egg from moving around too much.

DO NOT work directly on a newspaper surface.  The ink from the newspaper will rub off onto your hands and your pysanka, making everything dirty.  Make sure you put a clean piece of paper (I prefer Bounty paper towels) over newspapers that you might put down to keep the table clean. I now prefer to work on a plastic tablecloth, which is cleaner than newspaper, and less likely to catch fire.

If the top towel gets stained with dyes, or if beeswax rubs off onto it, I turn the stack of towels around to find a cleaner area to work on.  Wax and dyes (and even graphite from the pencil marks) can easily get transferred from the egg onto the work surface, and then back onto that egg or even a different egg. Once I run out of “clean” sides, I remove the top sheet and work on the newly exposed one. (The used sheet gets set aside for use later in removing wax.)

As can be seen in the photos below, wax can spill from the stylus onto the work area.  That is why it is best to keep the block of wax off to one side, and to rest the stylus itself in a holder when not using it (below).

A candle holder can double as a stylus holder         

If you need to clean out your stylus (because it is clogged), or simply need to test the flow of wax from the tip, do this off to one side, and not right in the middle of your work area, as the wax can rub onto the egg and ruin your carefully-planned designs.

NOT the ideal work surface!!!!!

It also helps to keep your block of wax on a surface it won’t stick to.  My students often melt the wax so much that it soaks into the paper towel on the table.  I find that using a plastic lid (like those that come with yogurt or sour cream containers) work great as beeswax holders.  The wax won’t penetrate the plastic and, even if it sticks, can be easily peeled off (rather than wasted, as it is when it sticks to the paper towel).  Also, the lip on the lid keeps any melted wax from spilling into your work area.

You should also have an egg carton, or a section of one, near your work area to keep your eggs and pysanky in.  It is a good idea to keep your egg in the carton when you’re not working on it–while it is waiting to be dyed, if it is drying after being dyed, or if you step away from the table.  Eggs left on a table have the unfortunate habit of rolling off....

I cut the tops off of egg cartons and use them as egg racks:

Cardboard cartons are better for this task, as they allow air to circulate and eggs dry more quickly, but any sort will do in a pinch.

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