A spawn egg is an item in Minecraft that you throw on the ground to create a specific type of mob (animal or creature). They look like this:
I was feeling a bit crafty and thought it might be fun to try and make some real life versions, by dyeing eggs and then experimenting with different methods to get the 'spots'. I pretty much just made it up as I went along, but they turned out great! Here's what I did.
Note that these are purely decorative and will not spawn actual mobs.
Dyeing the eggs
First up, boiling the eggs. The trick to making sure they don't crack or split is to stack them close together in the saucepan (so they don't jostle around too much), cover with water and leave them on low heat until the water reaches a rolling boil. Then turn the heat off, put the lid on and let them stand for about 10 mins before rinsing them under cool water.
See? No cracks. You'll notice that our eggs are mostly brown in Australia, which is not great for normal egg dyeing purposes but really good for creating the darker and more muted colours that most of the spawn eggs have.
For the dye I used food colouring added to water, with a few tablespoons of vinegar. Using glass jars with sealable lids may not have made things any less messy, but it sure was pretty to look at.
We played around with leaving the eggs in the dye for different lengths of time to get deeper colours, from a couple of minutes to half an hour. The red colour took very quickly, so it was actually hard to get the paler shade of pink I was after.
I dried the eggs on a high-tech rack I made from a bunch of pins and leftover packing foam. It worked really well.
The hardest colour to achieve was the grey, which I ended up approximating with very light blue on a brown egg.
I got this really dark blue/black by dyeing an egg red and then blue. I also experimented with using strongly brewed coffee and tea, which gave me these kinda gross but appropriate-for-a-spawn-egg brown colours.
Deciding which colours you need
The dye colours will depend on which eggs you want to make and the 'spot' method you're going to use. I tried three methods - paint, markers and double-dyeing them with tape.
For the double-dye method, you're going to first dye the egg all over in the spot colour and then tape some of those bits off before dying it again (so that when you remove the tape, the original spot colour will show through). This works best for spawn eggs with spots which are lighter than the surrounding egg colour, because the second coat can't be lighter than the first one.
For the marker and paint methods, the dye colour will be the non-spot colour of the egg (with the spots added later using the markers or paint). Markers work best for spawn eggs with spots which are darker than the surrounding egg colour. Paint works well with any kind of spots.
So to make this Cave Spider spawn egg for example...
... you would start with a red egg for the double-dye tape method, and a dark purple-black egg for the paint method (the marker wouldn't work so well for this one because the lighter red spots won't show on the dark base).
Spot method one: Taping
Once the base dye coats were dry, I cut shapes out of electrical tape and stuck them to the egg. I also tried masking tape but the results weren't as good. Use stickers if you don't want to head down the 'seems like fun at first but the novelty quickly wears off' electrical tape shape-making path.
Once the eggs were all taped up, I dyed them again using the colour that would become the outercoat. When completely dry, I removed the tape to expose the untouched first coat underneath. Voila!
This was supposed to be a squid egg but the colours weren't quite right. After slaving away for hours trying to get the colours perfect, I eventually abandoned that hope and started a game called 'invent your own spawn egg'.
Spot Method two: Markers
While the taped eggs were being dyed for the second time, I took some of the remaining dry eggs and drew shapes on with markers. Compared to the laborious process of cutting tiny bits of electrical tape, this felt gloriously easy and quick.
Here are the results of the marker and tape methods:
The kids loved them. The colours were very matte, so I shined them up by rubbing on a little vegetable oil.
This annoyed the kids because "Mum, there is nothing shiny in Minecraft".
Spot Method three: Paint
The third method we tried was to paint spots on the eggs using regular acrylics.
I thought this might give a better real life feel to the eggs, as opposed to the tape and marker methods which were a mash-up of something round with blocky 8-bit graphics.
The kids loved their spawn eggs and we had a ton of fun. Okay I had fun, they lost interest halfway through. I also never want to see electrical tape again.
But they did love the results. As for the different types, I liked the dotty ones but the kids preferred the 'more correct' geometric shapes.
Creepy loved them all. We were very careful not to drop any :)