I have a new obsession with quail eggs.
I totally blame Kimba. She posted this gorgeous wreath on her blog, A Soft Place to Land, last week, and I have been unable to get it out of my mind ever since.
I love everything about it. I love the pine straw wreath. I love the large amount of eggs used in the design. And of course, I love the mottled look of the quail eggs themselves (This wreath is actually faux eggs that were rolled in crushed quail eggs, in case you were wondering how quail managed to lay such large eggs!).
Unable to figure out where to find such a wreath (although Urban Farmhouse has now added it to their online catalog) and being too impatient to actually go out and hunt down actual quail eggs, I set out to make a similar one for myself. As usual, this one ended up a little different than my original idea, as I tend to change design ideas half way through my projects. That’s my prerogative, or so says Bobby Brown.
I put together a little tutorial in case you wanted to make one, too. I made it in one evening, so it’s a fast project that can be completed for around $12 if you have absolutely none of the supplies on hand. You could even use this as your Five Dollar Challenge project if you already had the supplies that you can’t buy at the dollar store.
Steel Wool (I used the ‘Super Fine’ grade.)
Grapevine Wreath (Mine is 18″.)
Plastic Easter Eggs in 2 sizes (Check the dollar store for eggs in different sizes for $1 a bag.)
White Spray Primer
White Spray Paint (The cheap kind works fine – You don’t necessarily need the kind for plastics.)
Blue Acrylic Paint (I used Ceramcoat’s ‘Caribbean Blue’.)
Antique White Acrylic Paint (I used Ceramcoat ‘Antique White’.)
Brown Acrylic Paint (I used CraftSmart’s ‘Espresso’.)
Small Foam Brush (Mine was 1″.)
Craft Wire (Mine is 22 gauge wire.)
Ivory ribbon (I used a roll of ivory wired ribbon with gold edging that I found in the wedding section of the dollar store.)
Begin by sanding each egg with the steel wool outdoors. You are just looking to take the shine off the eggs and rough them up enough so that the paint will stick. You WILL want to wear gloves and long pants to do this. If you get the little steel wool fibers on you, your skin will itch like crazy. It happened to me, so I know what I’m talking about.
You’ll notice that some of the eggs I used originally had painted designs on them. It’s perfectly fine to use that type of egg. However, there are some eggs that have a molded design on them – like a raised bunny or carrot. You do not want to use that type of egg.
Once you are finished sanding, rinse the eggs under running water and dry them.
Next, set the eggs on your spray painting tarp. The eggs I bought are hinged, so the top and bottoms pieces don’t come completely apart. I think they are easier to paint like this, but you may find you like the kind that separates better.
Spray the white primer on the eggs, making sure to cover all the way down to the base of each piece (you don’t need to paint inside the eggs). After the primer dries, spray a coat of white paint on them in the same way.
About an hour later, you can move your operation indoors. I squeezed some of the antique white and blue paint on paper plates and used my foam brush to paint half of the eggs antique white and half of them blue. I put two coats of color on each of the eggs.
Acrylic paint dries quickly, so it wasn’t long before I was able to take the eggs back outside to do a little faux mottling on them. I squeezed some of the brown paint onto another paper plate and used an old toothbrush to splatter the eggs. I know you used this technique to make some splatter paint shirts in 1987, so don’t act like you don’t know how to do it. And if you are a young’un, you simply dip the toothbrush into the paint, turn it so that the bristles face the eggs, and run your finger down the bristles. Your hands will get messy and you will probably get paint on your clothes, but your eggs will look fabulous.
I used the dark brown paint and then a dark brown/antique white mixture on both sets of eggs. I also used just the antique white on the blue eggs.
Once your eggs are dry, you will have a nice pile of painted eggs. My husband came in at this point and remarked, “Wow! Those actually look like real eggs,” so I knew they looked good. 🙂
Next, you will want to cut the craft wire in about 12 inch lengths for each egg. My eggs had several little holes pre-drilled in each end (I’m assuming it had something to do with the molds at the factory). I’m not sure if all plastic eggs have these holes, but if not, you could probably poke a whole with a large needle. You’ll want to be able to thread the wire through both ends of the egg.
You’ll now be ready to begin adding your eggs to your wreath. Position each egg where you want it on the wreath, and push the ends of the wire down through the wreath vines to the back. Twist the wires together tight on the back to secure
the egg in place.
I looped the ends of the wire around so that it lies flat on the back of the wreath.
If you can see the wire coming out of the ends of your eggs, push the wire flush against the egg. If you don’t want to use craft wire, you could always hot glue the eggs in place. I like using the wire because you can kind of adjust the eggs a little bit once your wreath is finished.
I placed all of my large eggs on the wreath first.
Then, I filled in with the smaller eggs, leaving a place for the ribbon I’ll use to hang the wreath.
The last step will be to loop the ribbon around the wreath. I left really long ribbon ends since I wasn’t sure how low I was going to hang my wreath. The ribbon doesn’t need to be secured to the wreath, as the weight of the wreath will hold it in place as it hangs.
After I figured out the length of ribbon I needed, I used a small nail and actually nailed the ribbon to the very top of my door (not the front of the door, but the top). I cut the extra length of ribbon just behind the nail so that you couldn’t see it from the inside when the door is closed.
My family really loves the new wreath. It was simple to put together and looks quite beautiful on our front door. It’s not as luxurious as the quail wreath that was my original inspiration, but this wreath is just perfect for us!
…And just so you know, my quail egg obsession has only escalated after this project. I even found some blown quail eggs at an antique shop in Florida this weekend, but then realized that the chances of me getting them back home to Texas in one piece were slim to none. I’ll be blowing my own quail eggs soon to use around my home, but that will have to be the subject of another post!
I’m adding this post to Rhoda’s “Spring Fluffing Party” over at Southern Hospitality. Hop over there and check it out!