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H&G It Yourself: A step-by-step guide to making an Easter tree

Bonnie Robinson presents a step-by-step guide to making an Easter tree - a charming craft project to delight children and adults alike

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By House & Garden | March 28, 2023 | Diy

The imagery of modern Easter, bunnies, hares and Easter eggs, has evolved from a mish-mash of beliefs, customs and legends. Originally a pagan festival to celebrate the spring equinox, Ēostre was adopted and modified by the Christian church. Eggs are an ancient emblem of new life and fertility while the Easter Bunny has his origins in Teutonic folklore and a story in which Ostara, the goddess of spring, transforms a bird into a hare. In Germany it has long been the tradition to create an Ostereierbaum, a tree hung with decorated eggs, a joyful custom that I have decided to embrace. Here’s how to make your own Easter tree…

The perfect arts and craft project for your Easter decorations, Image Pexels

Buy a few dozen eggs and remove the code stamps with a soft scourer and white vinegar. It’s much easier to use white eggs as brown eggs will lose a patch of their pigmentation during this process. Next, find yourself some egg dye. You can use ingredients such as beetroot and cabbage to make your own dyes at home but having tried this I can testify that it is, quite frankly, a lot of labour for uncertain results. After an afternoon brewing up vats of cooked vegetables and vinegar I bought Natural Earth Paint dye and OkoNorm egg dye, both from Conscious Craft.

Choose some drinking glasses, just big enough for you to easily dunk an egg in and in each mix up one sachet of dye with hot water. It’s important that you don’t use boiling water as you don’t want the contents of the egg to start to cook as blowing them later will be very difficult indeed. Gently lower your eggs into the dye and leave them to beautify, occasionally swirling the water to make sure they are taking the colour uniformly. It’s fun to experiment with timings - five minutes will leave you with a delicate tint whereas 10 or even 20 will result in a punchy hue. Remove the eggs using small kitchen tongs or your fingers. If you are doing the latter make sure you scrub your hands soon afterwards otherwise you may have purple fingers for weeks.

DIY your Easter eggs with a splash of colour, Image: Pexels

Transfer your wet eggs to a drying rack. I used cardboard packing boxes studded with flatheaded pins. When the eggs are dry to the touch move them back to their boxes to dry completely overnight.

Brace yourself for the hardest part of the process – blowing the eggs. You mustn’t get disheartened if there are a few casualties at this stage. I tried many different ways of doing this but came to the conclusion that the easiest way to create neat, clean holes without too many cracks was by using a little hammer. Find yourself a few small nails and place the egg in an egg cup. Hold the nail on the egg between your fingers and tap as gently as possible until a hole appears. Push the nail all the way into the egg and then remove. Turn the egg over and create a hole in the same way on the other side. Next, take a cocktail stick or an unbent paperclip and wiggle it inside the egg to break up the yolk. Take the egg in your hand and hold it over the sink, blowing hard in puffs to drain it completely. You can do this through a thick straw if you prefer not to touch the egg with your mouth. Finally run a little water through the egg and blow through to rinse. Leave the eggs to dry again.

It’s finally time to decorate your eggs. A lovely speckling is achieved using a few squirts of gel food colouring (I used ProGel by Rainbow Dust) and a grain of some variety. I used lentils but you can also use rice or barley or whatever you might have lurking in your food cupboards. Put your grains in an empty cardboard container with the food colouring and a few drops of vinegar and swirl until they are entirely coated. Now lower your egg into the container and shake gently until you think it is sufficiently speckled before tipping it out and letting it dry entirely. I think this works best on pale eggs – if you want to skip the dyeing stage buy yourself a carton of Clarence Court’s Old Cotswold Legbar eggs, which have pale blue shells.

Use small rubber stamps to print a pattern over your eggs. I used a selection from Noolibird in the ‘Tiny’ size and they worked perfectly. For larger stamps roll the rubber section slowly across your egg, making sure each section makes contact and that you don’t lose any of the details.

Buy a few packets of small temporary tattoos and apply sections to your eggs in the same way you would to skin, soaking the backing sheet with a wet cloth until the film is released. Paperself has an impressive selection of temporary tattoos in different scales and sizes. I used ‘Petals’ (delicate pressed flower motifs) and ‘Wildflower’ (whimsical drawn stems).

Creating the perfect Easter egg decor for your Easter Tree, Image: Pexels

Once your eggs are ready, create a tree to hang them on. I used a branch pruned from an apple tree and anchored it in a pot with plenty of alpine grit, topped with moss and primroses. You need a relatively heavy base so that your tree doesn’t flip over at the last minute. To suspend your eggs find a needle long enough to pass from one end of an egg to the other and fine enough to fit through your blowing holes (doll sewing needles are perfect). Thread some fine embroidery silk through the egg and attach a small bead at the base before returning the thread to the top to create the hanging loop.

Adorn your tree with the eggs and eagerly await the Easter Bunny or Osterhase.

Original article appeared on House & Garden UK

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DIY, Easter