I saw a project on Pinterest where you could throw paint-filled egg shells against canvas to create art. Well how hard could that be, I’m sold! Turns out, it’s not nearly so quick and easy.
Let’s start with the prep work. Canvas – check. Paint – check. Clean, empty egg shells – we’re eating eggs for several days. I saw a few blogs where the folks just cracked open the eggs and dumped the contents to get the shells. Um, why the hell would you do that? That’s perfectly good food you’re going to just throw away? Heck no, that don’t fly here. So we ate quite a few eggs.
Chowing on eggs was easy enough, but getting the shells in a useable way was a bit tricky. If you just crack them against a bowl, well, there goes a huge portion of the paint carrier. So we would hard tap the narrow top of the egg with the side of a butter knife, so that the top would crack and we could peel it away. However, once we had the innards out, we still had to contend with the skin inside. Oh yeah, there’s skin in there, lining the inside of the shell. It’s important to get those out (I’ll explain why in just a bit). I spent quite a bit of time cleaning out shell skin under the faucet for each egg, and we had a lot of eggs, so lots of time egg-skin-peeling.
Finally, we had all our supplies ready to go. I suck sometimes, so I didn’t get a good photo of all the prepped eggshells. Sorry about that. Since I was letting my daughter steer the artistic direction of this, I let her decide which colors would go in the eggs. She also chose a few colors to paint as the background first, which was fortuitous, as you’ll see in just a moment.
So now, without further ado, here is the egg-hurling abstract painting project that is fun for kids and adults alike.
This is The Mini-Idiot getting the canvas prepped for an egg-throwing good time. Lots and lots of paint.
And more paint… This turned out to be a great idea. As you’ll see (and I’ll explain) in just a bit, not that much paint resulted from the egg throwing, so if you’re like us and don’t care for lots of white space, pre-painting a background is essential. However, if you’re a minimalist, skip this step.
Getting it just so…
Here is The Mini-Idiot’s prepped background, which looks pretty dang good on its own. She really could have stopped there and this piece would have been golden anyhow. But we had dreams that involved exploding eggs against canvas, so on we march!
We decided to place the canvas against some weed-infested azaleas, so that splatting paint wouldn’t mess up anything important like the house or a car or toys. However, this turned out not to be that great of an idea. Here’s why: eggs bounce off canvas.
Yep, turns out that with no heavy yolk, hollowed out and only a bit of paint in them, no matter how hard you throw those shells, there’s not enough weight behind them, and since the canvas gives some, they tend to bounce instead of splat. While we had anticipated exploding eggs and paint, we got eggs that would bounce off the canvas and fling paint back at us (not cool). I believe if we’d had a solid backing to the canvas, there would have been less give and more exploding. If we’d put some sort of thin sheet of wood between the canvas and it’s frame, that would have worked, or if we’d simply placed it against a wall that wouldn’t move, like the bush did with any impact, maybe that would have been enough. Next time, at a minimum, I’m going to put some sort of reinforcing backing behind the canvas. So that’s the first lesson: reinforce the canvas.
I didn’t get action shots of us throwing the eggs, because I suck, but here is the next lesson: the eggs should probably be cracked to look like bowls, as in the pic above. The first eggs we threw were mostly whole with only the top bit cracked open, about the size a finger could get through. However, since they kept bouncing, the paint just stayed inside and nothing was happening. Perhaps with a reinforced canvas, the shape of the egg won’t matter, it will just crack. But during our experiment, we found that we needed to crack them open, put the paint in and basically throw them with the “open bowl” facing the canvas. Another thing to consider is whether or not you removed all the egg skins, as mentioned above. If they aren’t out, they help keep the egg shells held together. I short-changed this prep step a bit because I didn’t think it would make that big a difference, but I wonder if perhaps it did.
We wasted quite a few eggs figuring all this out and got to a point where we only had a handful left and not much egg-carried paint on the canvas, so we started putting two or three colors in a single egg at a time, since my daughter wanted to have a bunch of colors in her painting.
Here we are with the work in progress. We’d take the canvas and rotate it periodically, so the splatter patterns would alternate and give it a more varied look.
Not being ones to waste materials, we made a point to pick up from the ground larger chunks of egg shell that still had paint and threw them again against the canvas, resulting in little splats here and there. What you see here is the canvas after the last shell was tossed.
While the project was much more of a pain than originally anticipated, I love the little details of it, even the little bits of egg shell that got caught up in the paint splats. Putting multiple colors in one shell, while initially just a way to ensure we got plenty of color with fewer shells, ended up looking really cool with the swirls and combinations they created.
A few more details…
I really like this bit.
And here is the final piece, right side up, as the artist dictates. Definitely getting a place of honor on the wall.
Would we do this again? Absolutely. While not quite what we had expected, it was still fun. And now that we know what didn’t work the first time, hopefully the second time will go a bit smoother.
Have you tried the egg-throwing painting project? How did it work out for you? Let me know if you had the same issues or if you found other ways of using the same sort of methods in more interesting ways.