On this Easter Eve, I’m going to write about my Herculean ordeal that was these ridiculous eggs.
I did them for an egg decorating contest. There are some really good ones in the contest, but I think I have a chance if only based on this awesome staged photo that I took with my mini photo studio.
You should see the setup of this photo. It’s ridiculous and took hours to conceive in my mind and then IRL. Ok, I’ll show it.
This is so ridiculous. First, I needed to hang them from something and I came up with clothespins. I was going to hang them from the front edge of the photo studio, but then I couldn’t use the diffused light from the sides because they would be too far forward. So I thought about boxes I had that had nice interiors and I had this one that just fit. That was fine until the eggs made it start to tip, so I put a nearby box of pinking shears on it. Then I originally could only use the right light because the table was too narrow. I did try both lights but I liked this one a lot. Anyway this is how everything goes for me. It’s just thing after thing that doesn’t go how I expect no matter how much I think and plan.
I had also carefully considered how to make everything face one way so the beads would face forward and the best side of the egg was forward. But of course the string was twisty so it was just a free-for-all. You can see the lapis bead is facing right and the agate bead has a wire showing, but otherwise it turned out well.
The project took a week. So first of all, I decided to use plastic eggs and I’m glad I did because I dropped then ~1,000 times. I got 12 for $1 at Target. I drilled holes in them on the top and bottom which of course were often off-center. I made this holder of a box and skewers and then proceeded not to use it because it was too hard to put them back into the tape. There are also holes in the bottom that I used instead to stand them up and they listed to the side.
For the opal, I covered the egg with spray glue and put on some mica flakes. I was disappointed because they were lighter than portrayed in the photo online where I got them and even lighter when they were spread out.
Here’s the opal I got. It was hard to take a picture of it.
I decided I wanted to reuse these cabochons for jewelry, so I attached a bail with Elmer’s glue that I can just pry off. I was going to do this bail differently but couldn’t find all my tools and anyway the wire (an eye pin) was really hard. The three other ones not pictured are actually beads that have the same wire going through and I just bent the bottom because I was really over it.
This is the lapis lazuli egg, which I could NOT paint evenly. Here’s a tip. If you want to get a blue color like this, don’t get the Ultramarine color of DecoArt Fluid Acrylic. It’s basically transparent. Other colors of that brand were fine. I also used some Liquitex Soft Body Acrylic which was also fine. This egg has gold leaf on it (technically gilding flakes). It’s the first time I’ve done gilding and I liked it.
You have to use a special adhesive called “size” which is a really confusing name. I had to do trial and error with this. The instructions say to let it dry for 30 minutes, but since my lines and dots were tiny, it had totally dried and wasn’t sticky anymore. The next time, I just went around the egg with the size and put on the flakes right after that and that worked. Then you rub it with cheesecloth which is really satisfying. That gets rid of the excess and presses down the flakes (called burnishing). I liked how it turned out, although as you’ll see I totally ruined it later.
The turquoise egg also has gilding and it was a total frenzy as I will describe later.
For amethyst, rose quartz, and banded agate, I just painted them.
I then had to put a thick gloss on at least the opal that would cover the flakes. I tried Mod Podge Super Thick Gloss which is supposed to self-level but was pretty gloppy. I then put Mod Podge Dimensional on top of that and then more Super Thick Gloss. I also put the Super Thick Gloss on the rose quartz and amethyst. They all ended up gloppy so I sanded them with 400 grit sandpaper like it says to do for regular Mod Podge. All this was a failure and I do not recommend either of those products for round objects. They probably work better on a flat surface where you can control it better.
Those three were now totally matte because of the sanding. I also was done with the agate and went to spray those four with high gloss spray. It was Envirotex Gloss Sealer. It completely did not work whatsoever on the matte ones. I think it just reacted with the other coatings and sunk in. It gave an ok coating, but not great, on the agate.
Then I was like, ok, what do I do now? I think this was Wednesday night. I thought I could go to Michael’s and get some other acrylic sealers, but I wasn’t sure if they’d just do the same thing. I decided to try resin, and I had several resins already so I just chose Pebeo Glazing Resin because it’s for coating, not casting. The other ones I have are for casting (putting in a mold). Aside: I wrote an awesome Amazon review for this product, because beside my issues I really liked the resin, but they rejected it because I mentioned YouTube, and I am not allowed to write another one. 😦
I have looked at a lot of instructions on doing resin before, and I’ve done casting a few times and coating once. The other day, I looked at some YouTube videos on how to coat a round object with resin (I hope this post doesn’t get me kicked out of my own site for mentioning YouTube). One video said to let it gel a while and two said to put it right on. There was one specific resin egg video and she did some not quite best practices, like she stirred it super vigorously and didn’t measure very precisely.
I stirred very slowly so as not to introduce bubbles and I stirred for 5-10 minutes. I still had tiny spots of stickiness on the lapis egg. The nice thing about this resin is that when I left it for a few minutes the bubbles that were there were gone.
For amethyst, agate, rose quartz, and opal, I put the resin on right after stirring. I used a popsicle stick. One of the better videos used their gloved hand, so I tried that and resin instantly coated everything in a 20 foot radius. That contributed to the turquoise frenzy. I dropped the amethyst into the resin cup. I dropped the rose quartz on the carpet so it has hairs in it. The agate and opal stuck together.
For the lapis, I tried the “let the resin sit” method while I started gilding the turquoise. Do not do it! It was terrible. Firstly, epoxy resin (and epoxy glue) are two liquids that when mixed together undergo an exothermic reaction, i.e. it makes it really hot. I tried to use my fingers but it was too hot. I tried the popsicle stick and it just didn’t turn out well. I also was having trouble with the wire hangers, which are ok for non-clothing items. I was holding them while putting the resin on and they kept coming out. So the gloss on the lapis egg is really bad, bumpy, spotty, and sticky.
I was doing the turquoise egg during all this and the resin was getting on it and making gold flakes stick all over the place, and I didn’t let the size dry long enough because I was trying to finish it and use the resin I already had mixed so I wouldn’t waste it. It turns out I had to mix more after all because I took too long. I probably wasted 30ml out of a 150ml box that’s comparatively expensive. Oh well.
I earlier described that as a frenzy, and it really was. Like I think I was sweating.
After 12 hours, the resin was dry (but not cured, but that’s ok). Some of them had a drip that I had to drill into because those gold bead caps have a pin inside them for gluing a bead on. This is where I carefully considered which side was best and placed the caps accordingly, as I had thought about the rings and beads and strings and how they would likely hang. Then they totally disregarded all my care and hung however they wanted. Here they are with E6000 glue drying.
I thought I had some gold jump rings, but of course I didn’t!!! So I made some out of wire I happened to have thank goodness, because I think this was Friday night and I was busy Saturday. The wire was soft and gets hardened by bending, so I bent then a number of times but they still came off at every possible movement.
Then, I put on the string and beads and was super tired so I left them for today to photograph.
Here are some extra photos with an Easter tree! I had a spring flower I forgot to use! Thanks for reading!