About a year ago, I came across an image online of some cross-stitched eggs made by Ukrainian artist Forostyuk Inna. I was completely obsessed, being a fan both of comrbiodery and egg crafts, and I wanted to give the technique a try.
I couldn't find much at all in the way of how to's for this technique, so I broke out my Dremel and started playing around. Several cracked eggs later (and with more than a little egg splatter all over my kitchen...and in my hair), I came up with a technique that yields cool results and is still easy enough for us mere mortals to accomplish.
As it turns out, sewing on eggshells may seem to defy the laws of physics, but it's really not that difficult! I use a little trick, cutting a hole in the back of the shell, which makes the project quite manageable; and I recommend stitching simple, graphic designs as they are easier to execute but still pack a major punch. Ready to see how it's done?
-Eggs (Look for eggs that are smooth and blemish-free, and purchase the best-quality eggs you can find. Farm-raised eggs have much stronger shells than factory eggs, and are therefore much less likely to crack when working with them.)
-Dremel tool with diamond cutting wheel
-Tiny drill bit for Dremel tool (I use the largest size in my mini drill bit set. You want a bit that will accommodate the eye of your needle when threaded.)
-Washi tape or masking tape
-Embroidery floss (I used Anchor floss in colors 89, 92, 167, 279, 1043)
-Tapestry needles with an eye large enough to accommodate 6 strands of floss; longer length needles are better for this project.)
-craft glue (optional)
To begin, cut a hole in each egg using the Dremel tool fitted with the diamond wheel. (Be sure to work over a sink, as there will unfortunately be egg splatter!) Holding the Dremel perpendicular to the egg, simply slice into the shell, rotating the egg until you go all the way around. Wash the eggs inside and out, and allow them to dry.
It's time to drill! Insert your drill bit into the Dremel tool. The surface of the egg is slick, so the drill bit can tend to slide around somewhat before breaking through the shell. To prevent this, apply tape on the areas where you'll be drilling. Washi tape is perfect for this, or another low-tack masking tape. Use the marker to make dots in the spots you want to drill.
Then simply drill away! Apply gentle pressure with the tool, but not too much; allow the drill to do the work. After a few tries you'll get a feel for drilling eggshells--it's really not difficult and I find there is surprisingly very little cracking during this part of the process. So don't be afraid!
*Note: I left my eggs natural color, but if you'd like to dye your egg, dye it now. If you were to dye it before drilling, you'd see white edges inside each hole you drill, but dyeing after drilling means no white will be visible.
Now for the fun part -- the embroidery!
Using all 6 strands of embroidery floss, thread the needle and make a knot in the end of the strand of floss. Then simply insert your needle into a hole, from the back to the front.
Just like you're embroidering on fabric, insert the needle back through the egg from front to back.
Just continue until your pattern is complete! When you're through, you can end by tying two or more pieces of floss in a knot (if you have more than one strand). If you have only one strand of floss, you can secure it with a dab of glue on the inside of the egg.
I've found that simple, graphic patterns are easiest to execute when it comes to embroidering on eggs. I like sunbursts and cross stitches, which are both easy to do. To make a sunburst, drill one large hole (by drilling a regular hole then wiggling the bit to enlarge the hole), then drill a series of holes in an arc opposite the main hole. Then make long stitches going from the main hole to each of the holes in the arc. To make cross stitches, simply drill two parallel lines of holes, then work cross stitches in each set. Have fun playing around with different patterns to see what kinds of geometric effects you can achieve!