This giant Easter egg - about 8 feet tall - was made to illustrate
an Easter Sunday talk given by Chris Green, our vicar at St James' Muswell
Hill. You can hear the
on the St James' web site.
Briefly, the egg - which reminded us of
Jesus' resurrection that first Easter Sunday - contained a Christmas tree, and
the tree reminded us that Jesus was born as a man (at Christmas) and that he
was hung on a tree (on Good Friday).
Now just wait a minute, you say,
Jesus was hung on a cross! And that is true. But, to the people of his day,
crucifixion was especially terrible because it reminded them of Deuteronomy
And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death
and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain
all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is
cursed by God. (English Standard Version)
Hanging on a cross was much the same as hanging on a tree, and it
showed that the person being hanged was cursed by God. It was worse than other
forms of execution, because it was not only a punishment that cut short this
life - it also showed that, for the criminal, there was no life to
Jesus, on the cross, was taking on God's curse for us. He was
bearing the ultimate punishment as a sacrifice to take away our sin. He
descended to hell. Because of Jesus' perfect life, God was satisfied with his
sacrifice, and so God the Father raised his Son from the dead.
You don't want to do it like that
A few years ago, Harry Enfield had a character whose catch phrase
was "you don't want to do it like that." So if someone was going to drive up
the M6 to Birmingham, or decorate their living room, or propose to their
girlfriend, this character would pop up and tell them "you don't want to do it
Well, I could have used his advice when I made a giant
The better way
This is the right way to make a giant Easter egg. It is not what I
You need materials:
- 2 sheets of MDF each 2440 x 1220 x 6mm thick
- 30 bits of wood 44 x 22 x 40mm long
- 2 bits of wood 44 x 22 x 885mm long
- 4 bits of wood 44 x 44 x 200mm long
- 2 bits of wood 44 x 44 x 450mm long
- 3 hinges
- Lots of screws
- Some long elastic bands
- Chicken wire - best to use a type with a fairly small mesh
- Aluminium foil
- Cellophane wrap - the very thin stuff is best
- Electric screwdriver
- Staple gun
- Wire cutters
- One handed clamps like this:
And this is what you do:
- Using a jigsaw, cut out seven rings from one sheet of MDF. I
have drawn them to scale, with dimensions and everything, in
this pdf. This will leave you with a spare ring and two
spare circles of MDF, and the nagging feeling that you should be able to do
something with them.
- Cut the rings in half. Cut rings 1 and 2 again, to form 60°
and a 120° sections.
- Also using the jigsaw, cut out eight ribs from the other sheet
of MDF. Again
the pdf has a scale drawing showing dimensions. Type A and
type B ribs have 'feet' on the bottom to stop the egg falling over. So that you
don't need to buy another sheet of MDF, I've shown three of the feet cut out
separately from their ribs.
- Fix the feet to the ribs using screws.
- Cut small slots in the rings and the ribs so that you can slot
them together (see diagram). In theory these slots should be 6mm wide and 25mm
long, to give 50mm overlap. In practice your measurements will be out somewhere
and you'll need to make some of the slots a bit longer to get things to fit.
Slots only work away from the ends of the bits of ring - in the other places
you need bits of wood to join the sections of MDF together.
- Fix the 40mm long pieces of wood to the ribs. They are needed
on the type A and C ribs on either side of the join, and on both sides of the
feet of the type B ribs. Hold them in place with your one-handed clamps while
you drill pilot holes and put the screws in.
- Cut notches 44mm x 13mm at the ends of the 200mm and 450mm long
pieces of wood and fix the 850mm pieces of wood in the notches. Then fix them
to the type A ribs, as shown on the elevation drawing. Once the hinges are
attached you want this all to sit flat - like in this plan view:
- Assemble all the ribs and rings. It helps to have someone else
to hold things while you do this. Lay the front and back (type C and type A)
ribs on the floor and fix the rings so they stand vertically. Then lift the
60° and 120° (type B and type C) ribs into place from inside the
- If the slot joints are a bit loose, put a screw in the back of
the rib and pass a long elastic band from the screw, round the front of the
ring and back to the screw.
- The hinges go on the ends of the longer pieces of wood and
connect the two halves of the egg together.
- Fix the two type D parts to the top of the front and back ribs,
in order to round off the top of the egg.
- Put a screw in the front ribs and hold the egg shut with an
At this point it looks brilliant. Nothing like an egg, it's true,
but brilliant to look at. Amuse yourself by opening and closing it, taking
photos, and showing it to friends and relations.
After a while you will
need to take it apart because it is taking up too much room in the kitchen or
garage, or because you need to get it out of the garden and into the house and
it won't go through the door. And it won't go in your VW Beetle:
unless you take it apart. (The egg, that is, not the
- Take all the bits to church and put them together again. Then
cover the frame with chicken wire, stapling the wire onto the side of the
rings. Wear work gloves so you don't scratch yourself, and make sure that there
are no stray bits of wire pointing outwards where they could injure people.
- Start at the front, where the join in the egg is. You will need
several widths of chicken wire, and you'll need to make them narrower at the
top and the bottom so you don't have too many layers overlapping.
- Push and pull the chicken wire to get a nice curved egg shape.
Spend a bit of time on this - the smoother the curves, the better the egg will
- Cover the chicken wire with aluminium foil. Fix in place with
- Then cover the aluminium foil with cellophane. Take a piece of
cellophane across the join (to hide it) and fix it loosely on the other
Obviously it's much easier if you don't need it to open. I'll
leave you to work out the details of a non-opening egg.
possible to recycle some of the pieces and make a
Christingle, should you so wish.
Where I went wrong
With hindsight, I can see that I made several mistakes:
- I made too few ribs, and so the frame was a bit wobbly.
- There were 'feet' only on the back ribs, where the hinge was.
This made the two halves fall away from each other when the egg was opened (you
can see this in the last photo).
- 3mm MDF was too bendy, and too thin to take staples.
- I covered it with card instead of chicken wire, so the egg
wasn't properly curved, and I couldn't make a curved top.
- And because I was using card, I made the rings 12-sided,
instead of round - again making the egg not properly curved.
- The card was fixed to the MDF using duck tape, which I thought
was the stickiest tape known to man, but it didn't stick to MDF.
- The front piece of card was chocolate brown and cut in a random
zigzag, 'so that it looked like a broken chocolate egg' when it was opened. No
All in all, you don't want to do it like that.
3D view of the
frame, before fixing the covering.