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Mask It

March 26, 1997|TRACY CROWE McGONIGLE

It's egg-dyeing time, so here are a few tips so simple even a child can use them.

Most egg-dyeing kits come with clear crayons for masking; by drawing with the crayon, you make a design that will remain colorless after the dying process. But crayons don't make clean lines or crisp circles; graphic tape and dot labels do. Try them for a more professional look than you got when you dyed eggs as a kid. If you are going for a brushwork look, rubber cement works beautifully.

And remember, Easter eggs don't need to be dyed in the traditional pastel shades. Make the colors you want by creating your own dyes. If you use brown eggs instead of white, the design looks already dyed when the mask is removed.

Note: Rubber cement, graphic tape and dot labels can be found at most art supply stores.

You will need

White vinegar

Food coloring

Water

Hard-boiled eggs

3-point graphic art tape

Burnishing tool, optional

1 spoon

Paper towel

1/4-inch white dot labels

Rubber cement, with bottle brush included

To Make Dyes

Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to half cup of boiling water, then few drops of food coloring. For earth tones, mix drops of different food coloring. The more drops of dye, the stronger the color. Remember, the longer egg stays in the dye, the darker the color.

To Make Graphic Designs

Wrap the egg with graphic tape. Firmly rub the tape down with a burnishing tool or your fingernail so the dye doesn't bleed under tape.

Dip the egg into dye, turning with a spoon so it colors evenly, until the desired look is achieved.

Remove the egg from the dye and lightly blot with a paper towel. Before removing tape, let egg dry fully, about 5 minutes.

Repeat process to superimpose additional designs if desired.

Use the same method for dot labels.

To Make Painterly Designs

Lift the brush from the rubber cement bottle to surface of cement and wipe off excess on sides of the bottle. Brush cement on eggs in desired pattern and allow to dry.

Color eggs in usual manner.

After coloring, rub cement off with a paper towel.

Repeat process for layered designs, if desired.

* Moss cloth tiles from Noteworthy at Beverly Center and in Santa Monica.

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