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Traditional Polish Easter Eggs – Pisanki

Pictured from the top left: crochet egg covers, naturally dyed eggs, crochet Easter eggs, onion shell eggs and scratched eggs.

Pisanki is a generic name for all kinds of coloured, decorated eggs that make indispensable part of any Easter table in Poland. Pisanki can be done in many different ways from hard boiled egg, hollow egg shells (wydmuszki) and wooden eggs. Nowadays pisanki are also made from styrofoam egg shapes or other modern materials. 


Traditionally eggs for pisanki are dyed using natural ingredients such as vegetables, spices, herbs and flowers.

For additional effects they are decorated either before or after dying. Wax patterns are applied beforehand (wax resist / batik method), similarly leaves and flowers are placed on the eggs before they are tied inside stockings and dipped in the dye (kraszanki). Already dyed eggs can be scraped with sharp tool afterwards to create the designs (skrobanki / drapanki).

Natural colourants: turmeric (golden), ground coffee (brown), red cabbage (blue), beets (pink, purple), red onion skins (maroon), white onion skins (golden, orange), brown onion skins (brown), walnut shells or oak bark (black), periwinkle leaves (green).


Usually simple yet detailed folk patterns are used to decorate Easter eggs. As a child I remember colouring eggs with poster paints and markers but watercolours or even acrylic paints work fine for this purpose as well, just make sure they are not toxic if you are planning to eat the eggs later. 


Eggs are decorated with paper, thread, yarn, sequins, straw and ribbons that is glued onto them (oklejanki / naklejanki). This technique is often used to apply traditional Polish paper cut-out motives.


Traditional pisanki can also take form of eggs wrapped in crochet patterns. This is something I really enjoyed doing couple of years ago (see images above)… I may try more classic patterns this time around.

For less conventional pisanki take a look at my favourite watercolour galaxy eggs we made last year.

Photos: © M Dolewska Dyer

8 Responses

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