Don’t waste those eggshells. Today, we are going to show you how to create beautiful on-of-a-kind eggshell art based on the Japanese fine art of Kintsugi.
WHAT YOU NEED
- Eggshells (obviously!)
- Alcohol inks
- Eye dropper or pipette
- Gold paint
- Super small paint brush
- Hot glue gun
- Paper towels
SUPER FUN EXTRAS
- Alcohol ink markers
- Fillable blending pens
- Gold leaf sheets and glue
- Yupo plastic paper (for practice!)
- Shadowbox frame
WHAT IS THE JAPANESE ART OF KINTSUGI?
As soon as I read about the art of Kintsugi, I was hooked. In a world with so much waste, fast fashion, disposable furniture, hell, disposable PEOPLE, this spoke to my soul. All of the Instagram videos touting waist trainers, poutier lips, whiter teeth, less cellulite, removal of dark skin spots, unwanted hair, better cheekbones…all of it would disappear if we took this concept and applied it to our own lives. I saw how healing it could be and knew I needed to marinate in this concept for a while.
Kintsugi is the ancient Japanese art of repairing broken pottery using gold. Rather than throw out a broken pot or vase, the fragments are put back together and made stronger, more beautiful and more valuable. The imperfections are not hidden, but highlighted as things of beauty. Yes, beauty can be found in the imperfections. These cracks of gold make each piece unique, one of a kind, just like each of us. There is beauty in reconstructing the broken pieces.
WHAT ARE ALCOHOL INKS?
This was my first-time using alcohol inks and I fell in love with them. These alcohol inks are addictive! A few friends came over to try them out with me and we spent somewhere in the vicinity of 6 hours in a therapeutic, meditative state just playing with these suckers. All of us started by practicing on Yupo paper, a plastic paper that is non-absorbent and allows the alcohol inks to sit on top of the paper and be manipulated with drops of alcohol and moving air.
The layering and translucent effects from alcohol ink are mesmerizing. They are actually similar to watercolor in many ways, but instead of using water to manipulate, smooth and blend, you use alcohol. These inks can be used on any non-porous surface (think glass!) and will be waterproof once set. They are set once the alcohol evaporates leaving the highly pigmented ink behind.
ADDING ALCOHOL INK TO EGGSHELLS
Honestly, we could have done this all day on its own. But alas, we had some beautiful eggshells waiting for us. We quickly found that the alcohol inks don’t work quite the same on the eggshells. Still SUPER fun! Eggshells are porous. Those suckers slurped up the ink quickly, and we had to move super-fast to manipulate it. That is unless we added drops of alcohol first and then dropped the ink on top. Both approaches created interesting effects.
The best way to move around the ink is with air. In our case we blew through straws into the eggs filled with drops of ink and/or alcohol. We tested blowing hard, soft, with extra drops of alcohol, ink only, etc. The good news is, if you don’t love the initial result, add alcohol and see what it does. Or add another drop of ink to create a layered effect. The world is your artistic egg oyster!
ADDING THE KINTSUGI EFFECT
Once you have dyed your alcohol ink eggs, it’s time to add the Kintsugi effect. I say “effect” because you are not actually going to Humpty Dumpty eggs back together with 24 karat gold for this art project. This project is meant to be a symbolic representation, an homage if you will, to the Kintsugi art form.
We tried two different options for adding gold to our egg art. The first (and my favorite) was simple gold paint. You absolutely need the tiniest paintbrush in your arsenal to achieve this delicate effect. I thoroughly enjoyed this part. I was able to let my mind drift and just follow the natural, organic lines created by both the eggs and the alcohol inks. The second gold option we tried was gold leaf paper. You may have seen us use this before when we decorated eggs for Easter. It is so pretty! However, for the sake of making delicate Kintsugi lines, it is much harder to control. If you choose to use this process, you need to be a little more open-minded about your final result.
I also purchased a set of alcohol ink markers and blending pens filled with alcohol. The alcohol ink markers allow you to make designs and markings that are much more controlled, but they can still be manipulated with alcohol. I used these to add patterns to some of my eggs for extra variation. They are fun, but I barely broke the surface of what they can do. Super excited for future experiments!
ASSEMBLING YOUR ARTWORK
It’s finally time to bring it all together to create your finished piece of eggshell art. Bring on the hot glue! I purchased shadow box frames at our local Ikea and spray painted the backings. For some pieces, we used the mats provided to create an interesting visual of the shells escaping the confined form. For others we decided to forgo the mats for a simple background. No matter what you decide it will be beautiful and unique! Breaking some of the eggshells into smaller pieces for more visual variety really worked for me, but don’t let anyone tell you what to do. Art is in the eye of the beholder, and if you love it, it is a masterpiece – just like you.