Easter soon will be here, with eggs of all colors and designs to brighten our homes. We like to try a variety of egg-decorating techniques, from the easy commercial dyes in a tablet to experimenting with natural dyes that we concoct with onion skins, tea and berries.

Many of the artistic memories live on in egg cartons stored away in the “Easter” box. They last because we blow out the contents of raw eggs and clean them before we decorate. Like ornaments on a Christmas tree, the kid-decorated eggs come out annually. Full of memories, they’re lovely hanging from blossoming spring branches.

This year’s decorating technique is inspired by enduring spongeware pottery, popular in our country for centuries. The speckled look is super-easy to create, and it’s fun for the whole family to do together. Color the eggs first in soft colors if you wish, or keep them natural, and then just dab, dab, dab a cheerful palette of non-toxic paints here and there with a sponge.

Here’s the stuff you need:

–several eggs, blown (see below) or hard-boiled

–non-toxic acrylic paint in favorite colors

–recycled plastic lids or paper plates, one for each color

–pieces of sponge, one for each color

–spring-type clothespins or clips for sponge handles

–egg cups


Here’s the fun:

  1. Working on a newspaper-covered surface, place an egg in an egg cup. Clip a sponge piece to a clothespin, and squeeze a puddle of paint onto a lid or plate.
  2. Dip the sponge lightly in paint. Dab onto a piece of newspaper a few times, then lightly dab all over the top half of the egg. Let dry. Turn egg over and repeat on bottom half. Repeat with additional colors and eggs.
  3. Hang decorated hollowed eggs from branches, or display them in a pretty bowl. If using boiled eggs, keep refrigerated until served.


Poke a small hole with a large safety pin at each end of a washed raw egg. Carefully wiggle the pin or a toothpick into one of the holes to break the yolk. Place a drinking straw over the hole on top, and blow through the straw, collecting the contents of the egg in a small dish. Rinse out the empty shell and let dry completely before decorating.


Clean egg cartons make good containers for neat stacking in a storage bin in your home.


marbled egg
While the older kids are busy coloring Easter eggs, your preschoolers will enjoy this tactile and fun way to make marbled paper eggs using an unlikely art supply: shaving cream! When complete, enjoy the artsy egg-shaped designs as decor in your home. Make a large one to hang on a door, and cut out minis for a charming garland to display just about anywhere!

Here’s the stuff you’ll need:
–2-inch-by-4-inch piece of corrugated cardboard
–16 toothpicks
–9-inch-by-13-inch baking tray or pan with edges
–shaving cream
–liquid food coloring, poster paint or acrylic paint, diluted 1 part paint to 2 parts water
–heavy-duty white construction paper
–scissors, ribbon and craft supplies for decorating paper eggs

Here’s the fun:
First, make a tool for swirling the color. Poke ends of the toothpicks 1/4 inch apart into the gaps of one long side of the piece of corrugated cardboard. The toothpicks should fit snugly in the cardboard, to resemble a comb.

Spray shaving cream in the baking tray or pan. Kids will have fun playing with it as you guide them to level it out with their hands.

Drop two to three different colors of food coloring or diluted acrylic paint on top of the shaving cream. (When using paint, I use small spoons or an eyedropper saved for crafts when transferring paint to the shaving cream.) The tray should now be filled with blobs of irregular colorful polka dots.

Use the toothpick “comb” to make a few swirls down and across the paint. Aim to make the designs on the surface of the shaving cream rather than dragging the colors too deep. Your child might say with delight, “Hey, I’m combing shaving cream!”

Immediately set a sheet of paper on the design, bringing the left and right sides up slightly. Press gently all over the paper, then lift. Let set for a minute or two, then, using the squeegee, remove the shaving cream in one smooth motion into the sink to reveal a beautiful marbled design. Rinse the squeegee. Let paper dry completely.
Make more designs by adding more coloring or paint.

Cut marbled paper into a large Easter egg shape. Decorate with a few craft supplies if you wish. Punch a hole at the top and tie a string for hanging. Or, make small egg shapes and glue to a long string or ribbon for a springtime garland.

Note: Remind young children that although the shaving cream may look like whipping cream, it is not edible.