Head over to Google and do an image search for sci-fi Easter eggs. Go on, I’ll wait. Disappointing, isn’t it? THIS WILL NOT DO. I’m bringing the sci-fi to the internet’s Easter basket this year. Click the pic to crack open the first ever batch of Sci-Fi Guys Easter Eggs. Thank you, Easter Bunny! Bawk, bawk!
The biggest pain in the ass when making Easter eggs is boiling them. Fill a huge pot, wait an eternity for it to boil, put in the eggs, take a hopeful guess as to whether or not they’re done at any given time, drain them (making sure to get the requisite self-inflicted Easter steam burns), wait for them to dry and cool, and only then do you find that half the shells cracked in the pot. The whole process sucks. So you know how I hard boil eggs? I don’t.
I could color raw eggs I suppose, but half the fun of Easter eggs is cracking them open and eating them. I want edible eggs. So I bake them. Hard boiling eggs is all about getting the white the right consistency. Get it too hot and it gets nasty. And that excess heat will also create ferrous sulfide, that greenish grey crud that forms around the yolk and gives you egg farts. We want to avoid that, so we’ll be careful not to overheat these eggs.
According to people who know a lot more about eggs than I do, egg whites contain about 40 different proteins, each of which firms up at a different temperature. But, culinarily speaking, we’re only interested in two of them: ovotransferrin and ovalbumin. Ovotransferrin is the part of the yolk that binds iron in the cells of the growing chick before it hatches, and ovalbumin, among other things, provides it with nutrition. We want the ovotransferrin to solidify so the white is solid, but not the ovalbumin or the egg will get rubbery. Ovotransferrin hardens at 142°F, and ovalbumin hardens at 184°F, so our target temperature is somewhere in between.
Plastic spoons and pots and pans
Dipping tools and stands
Dye has stained my hands
I’m making egg science… OOH!
I tried 170°F, the lowest my oven goes, but after an hour of baking the whites were still WAY too liquid for my taste. So I bumped it up by ten degrees. They say you can bake these things right on the rack, but I found a deal on 30 medium sized eggs in a cardboard tray, so for the sake of convenience I just left them in that. Of course cardboard is an eggcellent insulator, meaning they’ll take longer to bake. But as long as the temperature stays under 184°F overcooking these things should be theoretically impossible. So I left ’em in there for three hours. When in doubt, I take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.
While the eggs cooled it was time to find a Dippin’ Buddy. You never know what might happen during Easter egg coloring, and its always smart to find a spotter who will have your back. Since this site is sci-fi, and since there is one specific sci-fi character for whom eggs are not only a way of life but a mode of interstellar transportation, communication, and reproduction, the choice of Dippin’ Buddy was clear. It had to be Mork from Ork.
Mork, being far more informed on all matters egg than myself, used the sensors in his advanced Orkan Eggship to ensure that the eggs were cool enough to work with and were properly cooked. He then arranged the eggs according to shell color, diameter, ovoid symmetry and, using his hyperadvanced Eggship computer running the best spreadsheet software available in 1979, cataloged his overall evaluation of the aesthetic and intrinsic ‘egginess’ of each specimen. Then he sat on his head in a chair and pretended to drink through his finger because, of all the different colors you can dye eggs, his favorite is ‘comedy gold.’
I got these kits on very deep clearance. I didn’t pay more than a quarter for any of them, and one of them I very clearly remember buying for 11¢. Hands down the least expensive thing I’ve ever bought for this site. I’ve had them in a box waiting to write this article for at least two years. I kept forgetting about them, then finding them again two weeks after each missed Easter. So last November when I came across them I placed them right by my bed, and I’ve kept them there since so I couldn’t forget them again. Then I piled stuff on them for the last five months until they were buried. And once again forgotten. My memory sucks.
Occasionally a tremor from a passing train or the Moon’s tidal pull on the Earth’s crust will cause just enough vibration to upset one of the dozens of little precariously balanced piles of books, dirty socks, crusty plates, action figures, DVDs, and sundry refuse in my bedroom, sending comingled garbage and forgotten treasures cascading across what little bare floor space I have left. When a pile collapses like this I call it a ‘crapalanche,’ and it was from a very fortuitously timed crapalanche on Good Friday that the egg decorating kits along with Mork and his Eggship revealed themselves. Some people would call this a miracle and praise Jesus or whomever. Those kinds of people have clearly never seen my bedroom. You can’t have seen my bedroom and still believe in miracles. I’m not kidding. I sleep in something very similar to a miniature landfill. It will destroy your notions of benevolent gods. The two things just can’t exist in the same belief system. It’s the kind of mess that breaks faiths.
Before I get into the meat of this article I am going to out myself as a very recently deflowered Easter egg virgin. Until Saturday night I had witnessed Easter eggs being colored and painted, but I’d never actually done it myself. Mork, being sensitive to the needs of a first timer, dressed up for the occasion in his formal Ork wear. Partly, I suspect, because I had made clear my household policy that anyone who wears rainbow suspenders in my home gets castrated, no exceptions. We put on some romantic music – an old Waylon Jennings vinyl followed up by Def Leppard’s Adrenalize – then settled in for a long night of tender, heartwarming eggdippery. Three tablespoons of vinegar, one dye tablet, and half a cup of water later and my Easter egg cherry was good and busted. Shazbot, na-nu!
In case you couldn’t tell from the pic a couple of paragraphs above, I got two Batman kits. These things are fantastic. Not only are the Batman kits loaded with twice as much stuff as any of the others, but they come with printed heat shrink wraps for the eggs. I always considered these sleeves a cheat for people who were too lazy to mix up dye and color eggs properly, but when I said I was an Easter egg virgin I meant it; I hadn’t even used the shrink wraps before. If you’ve been using these and have not yet dipped an egg in dye, you’re still a virgin. Using shrink wraps alone is like a harmonica-style blowjob. It’s just not the real thing. However, like most virgins, I tried to ease myself into the process. I admit it: I used the shrink wraps first. Unlike harmonica style blowjobs, though, the results were surprisingly awesome.
Having never used these before I was startled – literally – by how fast the shrinking took place. Seriously, I jumped. When I dipped these into the hot water the shrink wraps made a loud, rapid popping/crinkling noise and shrank so fast it sucked the egg right out of my hand. It was impressive in a “Holy shit, was that supposed to happen?” kind of way. I never would have imagined that the colors would be so vibrant. Other Easter egg shrink wraps I’ve seen were pretty much complete shit, but it turns out everything PAAS put in the Batman boxes was made out of 100% recycled win. If you’re in the market for egg decorating kits and you see any of these Batman sets, just buy them. No kid in the world is not going to like these.
These two don’t even technically count as colored eggs since all I used were some Sharpies. In my book, colored eggs means dipped in dye. No dip, no dice. But I did cut out paper appendages and broke out the double sided tape, so I think that counts as some form of legit egg decoration. Stop judging me. Get your own website if you don’t like it.
Way back when I first conceived of the sci-fi Easter egg project, I knew the shuttle Tydirium was a shoe in. A few fins and a black windshield and you’re pretty much done. Because I am a huge geek in every sense of the word, back in February I drew up a page full of plain white eggs as a model sheet and then sketched in my ideas as I came up with them. Tydirium was the first thing I drew, followed very closely by EVE.
2021 UPDATE: I couldn’t find my original egg template, so I put together a couple of new ones. Feel free to use them to design your own eggs. Click the pics for the full size images.
Not too long ago, Balthazar and I checked out a bootlegged copy of WALL•E and I absolutely loved it. I don’t know who it was at Pixar that sold their soul to the Devil to get these great writing skills, but it was a hell of a bargain. The rest of Hollywood needs to pay close attention to what they’re doing over there. Those guys consistently make great films in a way that I haven’t seen since John Hughes was on his pre-Home Alone streak. So far, Pixar can do no wrong.
I decided to draw EVE’s eyes slightly angry because some of the funniest parts of the movie were WALL•E’s lovestruck, terrified reactions to EVE’s bursts of intense violence. If I had my way I’d have gloss coated this whole egg to give EVE that shiny new plastic look from the film, but I intended to feed these eggs to people. I don’t know what toxins from acrylic finish, if any, can work their way through the pores in an eggshell, but I decided it was best not to experiment on my family.
Shortly after I decided on the Tydirium, it occurred to me to make the Death Star as well. I started by putting on the equatorial trench, superlaser dish, and various details with a Sharpie. Then it was time for the dip. Easter egg dye manufacturers have understandably neglected to supply the world with grey dye tablets, so I was forced to improvise. I started with the standard three tablespoons of vinegar, but instead of adding a dye tablet I added the ink well of a black Bic pen that I cut into little pieces. You know what happens when you add little pieces of ink pen to vinegar? Nothing. They don’t leak. The ink doesn’t dissolve. They just float there. So I mashed them up with the barrel of the pen I’d just ruined. Only it turns out ink wells are made of hard plastic and don’t mash so well. More to the point, they don’t mash at all. They just float there. Mocking me.
So I turned to food coloring. I decided to experiment and happened upon the formula for a passable grey on my first try: three drops of green, two drops of red, two drops of blue. The color works, but as you can see it had some sort of difficulty bonding to the shell. The green specks you see on the shell aren’t a result of the dying, but of me touching the egg with green stained fingers. The big white patches, however, are a mystery. Why the dye would adhere to one part of the egg and not another is beyond me. Since it also removed some of the Sharpie, I’m guessing that I mixed the vinegar solution too strong and the acid was dissolving the shell. Just a guess.
Most displeased by the Death Star’s apparent lack of progress, I moved on to safer sci-fi territory: aliens. I intended the above to look more like the aliens from Communion, but I got the eyes too big. But the great thing about making 30 eggs at once is that you have some freedom to screw up. Instead of chucking this guy I decided to dip him green for fans of 1950s style aliens. Then I drew up a different, slightly more menacing grey X-Files style alien. The grey dip, again, didn’t work perfectly, but I left this one in the drink for less time and I think the results are respectable. This lends some weight to my acid theory. I really wish I’d had a better grey. I guess I could have done another dipping but it was really late and I was very tired…
What do you mean you want me to do another dipping? And why do I have to do it right now? I just spent hours on my feet dying these eggs, all for you. I do it all for you, people. You know I haven’t eaten since 6:00 this morning, and all that was was a half a cream cheese bagel, and it wasn’t even real cream cheese, it was light cream cheese. And now you want me to run off and do another dipping? What the hell happened to you?
• • • + • • + • •
By the way, you may have noticed above that one of these kits has glow in the dark paint and another has glitter paint. A couple of my eggs would have really profited from the addition of glowing sparkles, but over the past two years the paints have all fossilized into bizarre, foul smelling plastic rocks. So no special effects for my eggs. Damn you, Time, destroyer of worlds!
Below are the contents of the VehEGGles kit. The black plastic parts trees contain the components for four egg chassis, brilliant little devices that turn ordinary eggs into cars. Whoever thought of this should be in charge if the space program. These things ROCK.
The kit comes with labels to make a fire truck, school bus, and an ambulance. Most of these kits come with stickers, but slapping a cheap Superman decal on an egg is not valid Easter egg decoration. Slapping a windshield decal on an egg with wheels, however, is too legit to quit. Considering my obsession with a certain ’80s movie franchise and the fact the there are wheels and ambulance stickers in this kit, some of you may see where this is going. Shh, no spoilers. Don’t ruin the magic for the other kids.
After applying the doors, bus windows, light bar, grill assembly, tail lights, and the front and rear windshields all I needed to do was get rid of those crosses. Mork explained that this would have been much easier if I’d done it before applying the labels, but he only did so after I had already struggled to cut the crosses without breaking the eggshell. Orkans give advice like they age; backwards. Fortunately I was able to get them off without breaking the egg or even scratching it much. These chickens are tough customers. They make their babies knife proof.
After removing the last trace of Jesus from my Easter egg it was just a matter of coloring in the logo with a red Sharpie. Finally, a Netflix envelope made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of sci-fi Easter fun. A little license plate touch up and she was all ready. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you EGGTO-1.
“Everybody can relax, I found the car. Needs some suspension work. And shocks. Brakes, brake pads, lining, steering box, transmission, rear-end. Also new rings, mufflers, a little wiring…”
I learned a few useful things constructing the EGGTO-1. First of all I learned that if you draw on an egg with a standard yellow highlighter it takes about 14 years to dry. This crap smudged and spread around so much that I considered just starting over with a new egg. But then I remembered that I’m massively lazy and I decided to wipe it off instead.
That’s when I found out the second useful thing about eggs; highlighter and pencil rub off of eggshells with unexpected ease if you lick your finger first. It was kind of amazing. Then again, maybe its just me. Maybe I have mutant salivary glands that secrete the world’s most potent solvent. So why didn’t it dissolve the eggs? That must be my one weakness; eggshells. Eggshells are my kryptonite. That’s the third useful thing I learned.
The fourth useful thing I learned is that if you want fine lines on an egg you MUST use a mechanical pencil. I tried every kind of pen I owned and barely got a trace of ink to stick. But the mechanical pencil worked every time, and drew clean, dark lines even when the egg was wet or dirty. From now on when I decorate eggs a mechanical pencil will be right by my side.
2021 UPDATE: In the 12 years since I originally published these photos, they’ve made their way around the internet. Back in 2019, SyFy’s online presence Syfy Wire posted “12 Sets Of Sci-Fi-Themed Eggs That’ll Make Your Easter A Geeky One.” Two of these “sets” were from this article: my Watchmen eggs, above, and another egg you will see later in this article. Click the pic to check it out. My eggs are famous!
These were just begging to be made. Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan were fairly straightforward, although if I had it to do over again I’d use a blue marker for Manhattan’s features instead of the black. I had a blue marker just sitting there waiting to be used, but I was drunk on sleeplessness and Waylon Jennings songs, and it didn’t occur to me. In any case, the vibrant blue of the Superman dye was perfect for this. I’m really pleased with the way they turned out.
The Comedian’s smiley button was a bitch. I threw away three or four eggs out of sheer frustration before I got it right. It is very hard to draw a convincing blood splatter with a thick red marker on an eggshell, but the real pain is drawing a convincing eye around that blood streak. It’s very easy to screw that up, and I proved that by screwing up a number of times. While this final attempt isn’t perfect, its as close as I was likely to get. Once the blood, eyes, and mouth were done. I gave it a good long soak in yellow dye to really saturate the shell. I got a lot of comments on this one at Easter. I’m fairly proud of it.
This next egg is most definitely a step up in difficulty, so it’s probably not something for very young kids. Then again, if you’ve read this far in an article about turning eggs into spaceships and superheroes, I doubt very seriously that you’re so easily discouraged. If you’re still here, you’re one of us.
“One of us! One of us!”
This egg will require special equipment. A piping bag, to be precise. If you don’t have one and aren’t willing to shell out good money for a high end baking product just so you can turn eggs into action figures, then you’re in good company. Let me show you how to make a perfectly serviceable piping bag for less than $2.
Start with a standard condiment squeeze bottle, preferably one with a small nozzle. Mustard bottles work well for this. Remove the cap. Then cut the bottle below the threads, removing the entire screws cap assembly. Next, cut one corner off of a plastic sandwich bag, making sure that you have a hole approximately the size of the cap threads. Feed the bag through the hole and pull it back over the threads, then screw the cap on tightly, making sure that the plastic bag is sealed in the threads all the way around. It should look something like this:
Booyah. A fine tipped piping bag for the price of a baggie and a bottle of mustard. Now we fill it.
We’re not going to eat this frosting, its just there for looks and to hold the egg upright, so mix and match any colors and flavors to get whatever appearance best fits your egg. I mixed maybe a quarter cup, although there’s no way in hell I used even a third of that on the finished egg. But it was my first time trying this so I gave myself some wiggle room, just in case.
• • • • • • • • • • + • • • + • • •
I was going for a dirty green color, kind of like the skin of a Gorn. It took a little while to get it right, but I finally found the perfect mix: ten drops of green, three drops of red, three drops of blue. I ended up with the perfect ugly greyish green. There’s no way you’d ever want to eat something this color. It was just what I was looking for. By the way, this is WAY more dye in your food than you usually encounter, so be advised that it will stain your skin, clothes, and pretty much anything else it touches.
All of these egg kit boxes came with about a dozen perforated circles on the back that you punch out to make a drying tray for your eggs. The boxes advertise these circles as some sort of bonus prize. You’re supposed to stick toothpicks through them and spin them like tops. They are touted as toys. That’s reaching, even by the lax standards of Easter egg kits. However, colored black with a marker, one of these tops made the perfect base for my egg.
In case you haven’t guessed it, we’re making a xenomorph egg, straight outta Alien. Using a green marker I drew those weird little veins on the bottom, and the “mouth” for the facehugger to jump out of. And, yes, this is very green. Depending on which movie you watch, the eggs range anywhere from dark grey green to translucent brown. Well, I’m not going to dye an egg brown. If I wanted a brown egg, I would just buy brown eggs. They’re readily available. I’m sacrificing screen accuracy for a little color. It is Easter, after all. Our eggs need panache.
After drawing on the veins and mouth I dipped it yellow, then took the Magic Crayon to it. Among the shrink wraps, dyes, bookmarks, egg stands, stickers, and other assorted awesomeness to be found in the Batman kit was the Magic Crayon, which is nothing more than an uncolored stick of wax in a wrapper. The idea is simple: you dip an egg, let it dry, draw on it with the Magic Crayon, and then dip it again. The water based dye can’t stick to the wax, leaving whatever base color you gave the crayon showing through. Its very basic and absolutely awesome. Once again, the Batman kit completely dominates Easter.
I speckled the egg with little wax dots, then dipped it in green. The result was nice, but I wasn’t done yet. I poured half my green dye into my grey mixture, then speckled the egg again. I outlined the “lips” with wax to allow both shades of green to show through, then dyed it in the green grey mix. My hope was to end up with yellow and green spots on a dark green egg. It worked better than I could have hoped.
After it dried it was just a matter of using the frosting for the detail work. I traced the mouth with the piping bag to give the lips a slightly parted look, then drew in more veins on the bottom. A little dab of frosting secured it to the cardboard base, and viola! I gots me a Xenomorph Easter egg. I’m really happy with this little guy.
Now that all that was done, I had just one more egg I had to get out of my system. This egg wasn’t an idea I originally came up with for this little venture, but was inspired by you guys and your vocal disapproval of the new look they gave Cobra Commander. I figured if the movie guys couldn’t recreate Ol’ Snake Face faithfully, I would give it a shot.
I started off by drawing the basic outline on an egg and decided that I’d use aluminum foil to simulate his faceplate. I looked for some glue and discovered that I don’t own any. Then I got out the rubber cement and found that it had congealed into one giant lump in the bottle. I remembered I had read somewhere that if you add vinegar to milk a certain protein settles out of it that can be used as a glue. Guess what? It doesn’t work. Nothing settles out, and if you put the mixture on your egg you just get a wet, stinking egg. What I needed was something sticky enough to hold the foil to the shell that would not dissolve in water.
Ugly green frosting to the rescue! Frosting is fat based, so there was no chance of the water or vinegar doing anything to it. It took a little bit of trimming to get the foil in place, but after that it was smooth sailing. I colored in his red tie and that white stripe on his helmet with the Magic Crayon, then dipped it in the leftover Dr. Manhattan blue, but for a shorter time to give it the pastel blue from the cartoon series. After I gave his faceplate a post-dip clean up he was ready to make his big debut.
The eggs weren’t a huge hit at Easter, simply because most of the old folks had no idea what the hell they were supposed to be. You’d be surprised how little my 60 year old aunts and uncles know about xenomorphs and Cobra Commander. But those in the know showed me the love, so it was all good. Then a clown showed up at the party and stole what little thunder my eggs had generated. For real. A literal clown. For reasons I can only dare to guess, my uncle hired a clown named Gum Drop for Easter, and she made us play games and gave us face paintings. No one knows why my uncle did this, as clowns are in no way a part of our normal family holiday traditions. It was completely out of nowhere and made for a very surreal Easter.
All of us adults were mildly annoyed with this clown, but in the spirit of things we decided to play along with her little clown games. You know, to humor the kids. But we drew the line at being painted on. And that line held firm for about a half an hour. I don’t know which one of us was the first to cave, but eventually my entire family was walking around with paint and glitter on our heads. And even though she and her clown shenanigans stole away the last little potential scraps of attention my sci-fi eggs could have received, having Gum Drop around was worth it in the end. Because I made her give me a sci-fi face painting. Better luck next year, clown. Chris – 1, Gum Drop – 0.
Peace out, my bitches, and happy Easter from The Sci-Fi Guys!