I first encountered them years ago. My neighbor asked my son to mow the lawn for his elderly mother. While my son mowed the lawn, his sweet mother invited me in to her home. We became fast friends! She was a very interesting lady, who kept a Christmas Tree up year round. All over her tree were hundreds of these handmade shadowbox eggs. She had carefully made them over the years. Each one seemed to tell it's own holiday story. She covered the edges of the opening with tiny lace to frame the miniatures.
She was kind enough to teach me how, and now I'm passing this onto you.
I will say, each time I make them a couple of my eggs crack during the "softening" process,so plan on making a few extra just in case. As many of you may know, vinegar softens egg shells. (Great science fair project for kids!) They can even hard boil one, then soak entire egg in vinegar for a few days, rinse off shell and gently bounce it like a superball! (but that's another day!)
Let's get started:
Small sharp scissors (manicure scissors are pefect!)
fingernail polish in desired colors
small minatures or pictures to fit inside eggs
optional: Small lace trim or ribbon for covering edges, fishing line or ribbon for hanger
This first step will take 3 days or so to work:
Place eggs in a shallow bowl, lay them with one of their longer sides down, tippy tops or bottoms facing in toward the center of the bowl. Pour just enough vinegar to cover the "fronts" of the eggs. If the vinegar covers the entire front half the egg it's a bit too much. You just need maybe the front 1/3 or so covered in vinegar. Place bowl somewhere where it won't get disturbed.
Leave it there for approx. 3 days. You may need to add a bit more vinegar if evaporation occurs. You'll know its ready when your eggs start to look like this.
Jan's Tip: If you are planning to hang these, I recommend at this point you take your sharp manicure scissors and gently tap a small opening in the top of the egg, just enough to feed your ribbon or fishing line through later. This may take a few gently taps to do with out cracking your whole egg.
Take your manicure scissors and gently holding the egg over the sink, cut through the softened part:
Discard the egg into the sink. Now, VERY GENTLY run a bit of water inside the egg and rinse out. You may feel a bit of the lining inside the shell. If you feel you want it out, VERY GENTLY use your finger to rub it off the inside. See my mistake when I rubbed a bit too hard?:
thankfully this one can be saved!
They should look like this:
Ok, here's the fun part!
Using two fingers inside the egg, hold the egg and paint the outside of the egg with your color choice of quick dry fingernail polish. (pretty colors and helps harden the eggs!)
Hold it until it dries. If you want to do a color inside the egg, hold the egg in your palm (only after outside polish is completely dry!) and paint the inside:
Once the inside is dry you can finish off your eggs by attaching the hanging ribbon/line if wanted as well as hot gluing any miniatures or pictures inside the eggs that you desire. If you want the opening edges to have a more finished look, Hot glue a small lace trim or ribbon around the opening to frame the minatures inside: