How to Make Washi Eggs

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Things You'll Need

  • Egg
  • Needle
  • Washi (or origami) paper
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Small paintbrush
  • Varnish

Washi paper is a delicate, decorative paper that traditionally is used for many Japanese crafts. One craft project that uses the paper is the Washi egg. A Washi egg is a hollowed-out egg covered in beautifully patterned paper. The practice of using Washi paper to decorate eggs is a relatively new one that originated in Okinawa in the last 15 to 20 years. Washi eggs make wonderful decorations or gifts, and are a fun craft for the Easter season.

Hollow out your egg by inserting a needle into the larger end of the egg to make a small hole. Then, insert your needle into the narrower end of the egg to make a slightly larger hole. As you are making the holes, poke the needle deep inside the egg to break up the yolk. Hold the egg over a bowl with the narrow end facing down, and blow gently into the hole on the larger end until all the raw egg is in the bowl and the eggshell is empty. Rinse it out with water, and blow the water out of the eggshell just like you blew out the egg. Let it dry.

Wrap a measuring tape around the egg at its longest point. The measuring tape should start at the top, wrap around the bottom and return to the top of the eggshell. Divide this measurement by two. We'll call this number X.

Now measure the circumference of the egg by wrapping the measuring tape around the middle of the eggshell at its widest point. This number will be called Y.

Cut out your Washi paper in a rectangle so that it measures X units by Y units. Fold the paper lengthwise (a.k.a. hotdog style) with the patterned side of the paper facing in.

Draw a horizontal line 0.5 cm from the bottom of the paper, where you've made your fold. Draw another horizontal line 1.5 cm from the top of the paper.

Draw a vertical line 1 cm from one end of the paper. Then, draw another vertical line 1 cm from the line you just drew. Repeat this until you have vertical lines from one end of the paper to the other, all of them 1 cm apart.

At the top of the paper, you should have small rectangles measuring 1 cm by 1.5 cm. In each of these rectangles, draw an isosceles triangle. It's two base points will be where the horizontal line you drew meets a vertical line on either side. The point of the triangle will be in the middle of two vertical lines at the paper's edge.

Cut along the two longer sides of the triangles (they should be roughly 1.25 cm). You will end up with a piece of paper with several points pointing up, resembling a picket fence.

Cut along each vertical line until you reach the line you drew 0.5 cm from the fold. Make sure you don't cut it all the way down; you want to keep these line attached on one whole piece of paper.

Unfold your paper. You should have several 1 cm wide strands of paper on the top and bottom, separated by a 1 cm strip in the middle where the paper was folded. Lay the paper down so that the patterned side is facing down, and use your paintbrush to apply a thin layer of glue to the entire paper.

Wrap the Washi paper around the egg. The line where you folded the paper should be encircling the widest circumference of the egg. Smooth down each strip, so that the points end up at either the topmost or the bottom-most point of the eggshell. It's okay if some of the strips overlap, but make sure there are no wrinkles or air bubbles. Allow the glue to dry.

Cover the egg with varnish with your paintbrush. You may need to use more than one layer of varnish, due to the absorbency of the paper.