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Ostrich Eggs

Ostrich eggs for sale!

Some time back I wrote about painting on ostrich eggs. I haven’t painted another egg in a while but a couple of students had been asking me if I had any to sell. I didn’t – I only had one egg left and I had basecoated it….just waiting to be painted.

I honestly haven’t found a source from which to buy ostrich eggs in Kuwait! The last time I bought them was in a shop I found by accident in Sharjah when we lived in Dubai.

Recently, I saw some eggs and jumped when I thought I could stock up on my supplies of these unique surfaces to paint.

Ostrich eggs

There was only one problem: I was in a supermarket and these were in the deli section. They were fresh ostrich eggs!

Since I had never emptied a fresh ostrich egg before, I didn’t buy them, of course. I will just keep looking to find pre-prepared ostrich eggs LOL

But I found this video that shows how to do it in 3 simple steps:

1. drill it open on the pointed end of the egg
2. use a long stick (like a chopstick) to break the yolk and mix the contents
3. put a straw in the egg and blow the contents into a bowl


Then you need to fill it up slowly with tap water and clean the internal egg a few times. Leave it to dry and voila, you have an egg to paint!

You can paint anything your heart desires..

Nina has painted with me since 2004 and its always fun painting with her. She always paints with a purpose. Once she wanted to paint a plaque for her chef husband for his birthday, so I taught her how to faux finish a woodgrain on an MDF plaque then decoupaged the picture of a chef and wrote her husband’s name on it.

Another time, her husband had bought her a traditional Italian long-handled pizza board and she wanted to transform it into something for her home in Lebanon. I taught her an Austrian bridal painting design and the pizza board now hangs in her home welcoming her friends and family into her home.

The most creative project yet was a plate she painted for her son who wanted to give to his girlfriend. He chose the picture – two clown fish swimming among some coral – and the cutest caption… “If you’re a fish, I’m a fish”! That’s a project I’ll never forget. It was fun teaching her to paint that and she certainly had a lot of fun painting it.

This week Nina wanted to paint an ostrich egg which had been fitted with a light fixture. She wanted to give it as a gift to a girlfriend and later wanted to paint another egg for herself. That’s a great way to learn by the way – paint the same project two times! We brainstormed on the subject to paint and finally decided to paint a landscape. We chose a lighthouse design.

 Nina painting the background on her ostrich egg.

Painting on an egg can seem a daunting task because of its shape. You have to basically hold it all the time and keep turning it as you paint it.

How to hold an ostrich egg when painting it

There is a way to paint it without holding it and that is to place the egg in a soup dish lined with a folded face towel. But some students including Nina find holding the egg just fine.  Its really not that difficult once you get the hang of it.

Whatever the surface we paint on the painting technique remains the same.

For this lighthouse project we first painted the sky, followed by the sea then the foreground.

The completed ostrich egg project

Once that was completed, we painted the background trees and foreground trees, followed by the lighthouse and all its decoration. Lastly of course we paint other elements that complete the picture – in this case some trees and of course, seagulls.

This was a unique project and certainly a first in my Studio. But I’m sure other students will want to try their hand at this after seeing the finished piece.

Painting Ostrich Eggs

One of the most unique surfaces you can paint on are ostrich eggs. Yes, ostrich eggs!

Of course, first you need to prepare the egg – make a hole at the bottom end of the egg where there is a “soft spot”, empty the contents, clean the insides, dry, then seal the opening. You guessed it – not easy and certainly, not everyone will be successful in this endeavour or even wants to go through the trouble of doing all this!

Me? I’ve never done it although I was tempted once when I saw fresh ostrich eggs in a supermarket here. Its easier to buy ostrich eggs which have already been emptied and cleaned, sometimes even the hole has been sealed. This is what most people who want to paint ostrich eggs do. If you have access to fresh ostrich eggs and want to have a go at emptying one, I found a site here.

The first time I ever painted an ostrich egg was at a workshop with Vicki Nicholson in Kuala Lumpur almost 10 years ago. We painted her signature pastel roses.

It was quite an experience painting on the egg (and learning her roses of course!) I went on to paint a few more eggs with roses for a Christmas Bazaar here and they were grabbed in an instant!

I usually varnish ostrich eggs using a high gloss varnish because it looks like a high quality porcelain egg when finished.


Its a great conversation piece once its sitting on an ornate egg stand in your living room.

034-04 Roses on White Ostrich Egg 01 024-04 Roses on crackled ostrich egg 2

If you already have an ostrich egg ready for painting, you only need to basecoat the egg and you should do this at least a week ahead so that the  paint is properly cured.

I use a shortcut to basecoat ostrich eggs by mixing Jo Sonja’s All Purpose Sealer with my paint in equal parts. I do three coats, no sanding required. You need to paint one side of the egg at a time, set it down to dry, then paint the other side.

So take your time and try and enjoy it because its worth the effort.

Note: If you are using the hairdryer to fast-dry your basecoat, DO NOT use the hot air selection. Make sure you use the “cool” selection.

Do you always have to paint roses on ostrich eggs? Of course not. We paint all sorts of things on ostrich eggs at my Studio. Today I had a class where we started painting a landscape on an ostrich egg and I think the finished product will be quite pretty.

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