I finished this at the start of 2021, it was one of the oldest projects on my ‘Things To Make And Do’ list - I’ve had this blank set of matryoshka eggs for about 5 years now. It's taken me a while to get round to writing it up.


I’ve had all sorts of ideas of things to do with them, but the pandemic suggested something infectiony, moulds, contamination… but nothing tediously (or revoltingly) literal. It’s the fun plague! Infectious cheerful colour! (And yes, flu vaccines are made using eggs, so there's that too)

December 2020! Look how clean and perfect they are. This is after a hell of a lot of sanding because they were really tight and basically jammed shut so I had to make the rough edges on the rims smooth. Sanding things by hand is boring and is really tiring, for some reason it made my shoulders hurt. Being hunched over I suppose.

Planning the boils/buboes/spots/bobbles. I’ll call them bobbles from now on, it’s less disgusting. I originally thought of covering the whole thing in them, but went for this idea of a spreading infection from one side. I’m very glad I did. They’re all stuck on with blu-tac at this point. Blu-tac is amazing stuff, I’ve ended up using it a lot when making things.


The bobbles are made from some half-spheres of wood I got online. They came in four sizes and are ever so slightly oval and a bit rounded where the edge is. They also (of course) have a flat bottom which doesn’t work when sticking them onto a curved surface. So…

Trying it with the Dremel

I tried the Dremel. This photo shows a sanding drum but I tried a few bits with rounded heads and… no. Just don’t bother. This was very frustrating.

Wood filler and a plastic bag to the rescue! A bit messy, but this worked really well. The ripples you see in the surface are very slight and only show up because the surface is quite smooth and shiny. When glued onto the egg they aren’t visible (and provide a bit of key for the glue too). The really important thing to remember doing this is to label everything, especially which way up they go - the egg is not a sphere so the radius of curvature changes with orientation and how high on the egg it is. You can see how I gave each bobble a letter too.


It’s handy having a few old FFP2 masks around for this bit. Spray paint is nasty.

The bobbles are held slightly above the cardboard using blobs of blu-tac. I have a lump of the stuff that is now full of paint but still works for this job so I keep it around and reuse it every time. The paint is Rustoleum ‘Painters Touch’. I’ve found that mixing spray paints can have very bad results - on another project I did an undercoat in one brand of paint and found that using another brand as the top coat acted like paint stripper. It was briefly a beautiful texture, then it all peeled off. Don’t mix spray paint brands kids.

The eggs I did with matt white spray paint and then painted over with artists acrylic (no paint stripper effect here). The only exception was the littlest egg, which I did in gold spray paint. The last picture there shows the spray paint gold compared to acrylic gold. Not bad. The polka effect on the left picture is the outermost egg where I wanted to keep bits clear to know where to glue which bobbles (and to help the glue stick).

One thing about acrylic is that it can be sticky. There are a few reasons why. I was using high quality acrylic, but the cheaper brands (usually labelled as ‘craft’) don’t always dry nicely. Painting over a smooth or non-porous surface can do it too. Using thick coats of paint or doing several coats of paint before the paint is fully dry can cause problems. I had this issue on the first egg so had to get acrylic sealant varnish to go over it. I was more careful (and patient) with the other eggs.


Seven eggs! I’m really pleased with how it all turned out. I think the middle yellow colour on the bobbles could be a brighter, fresher orange, but… eh. It’s fine. It could have been pale blue instead I guess.

I learned quite a bit from this. It’s been interesting writing about it again. I felt the lack of certain tools, mainly things to hold and grip very small irregular shaped pieces. I lost a couple of bobbles while trying to use the Dremel to shape them.

I also learned I swear a lot less from frustration from making things than I do when using the computer. Maybe because it’s immediately apparent what happened so it’s “Oh” rather than the “Why the fuck did you do that” with computers. Most software is terrible, and it’s getting worse, so I’m going to be making more object things instead.