Feature Friday- Ukrainian Egg Tutorial

by Susan Myers on March 11, 2011

Ukrainian Eggs are a beautiful addition to your Easter decorations.  In fact, I keep them around the house all year round. Creating Ukrainian Eggs is one of my specialties and you can find a large selection of them in my Etsy shop.  I wanted to take a moment and give you a brief tutorial on the actual process of creating these eggs with bees wax and dyes.

ukrainian egg tutorial
Ukrainian eggs are something that I started in the spring of 2009. I was looking for an interesting new hobby to try and you know how I love to try to bring back vintage crafts with a twist. I located several websites that gave tutorials on Ukrainian egg dyeing. And several that offered the supplies.

My starter kit consisted of three sizes of kistka, 10 different colored dyes, bees wax and some patterns and instructions. That was enough to get me off and running. My oldest daughter showed up the first evening that I tried it and she and I both learned how to do it together. In other words, we both made mistakes and learned from each other. She has an entirely different style than I do and our mix of egg designs compliment each other.

Are you new to the Sitcom?  Be sure to check out my Frequently Asked Questions Page!

ukrainian egg tutorial

My designs originally came from ideas off the internet, but now my daughter and I come up with our own designs. Unlike a traditional pysanky egg, our designs do not tell a story. A traditional pysanky egg uses symbols throughout the design that can mean anything from fertility to eternal knowledge, to wealth and prosperity. We do a twist on the traditional egg by incorporating our own designs and patterns. I tend to go with a structured pattern, while my daughter’s patterns are more free flowing.So for those of you that might be interested, here is the basic run down on how to make Ukrainian eggs:

ukrainian egg tutorial

Start with fresh eggs.  Preferably those that have never seen the inside of the grocery store.  Commercial eggs have thin shells and are cleaned with chemicals.  The chemicals will affect the dyes and nobody wants to put five hours into a design just to have the stupid egg crack.  Believe me, I know.

You will need to blow the inside of the egg out and then clean the outside shell with a mix of white vinegar and water.  (Traditional pysanky is done with an unblown egg and the inside of the egg then disinegrates over the years).  I live in Georgia.  I would end up with stinky, rotten eggs.  So I do not do this.

These are goose eggs from my sisters geese and chicken eggs from my Mom’s chickens.  If you do not have access to fresh eggs, you can order blown ones over the internet.  Check the links at the end of this tutorial.

ukrainian egg tutorial

Using a pencil, lightly draw your design on the egg.  I start by sectioning the egg into even sections and then work in my design. (Note the rubber glove- oils from your skin can also affect the dyes).

ukrainian egg tutorial
This is a kistka.  It is a little metal funnel that you put bees wax in the top of, heat over an open candle flame, so that the wax melts and then using the point, draw the wax onto the egg.
ukrainian egg tutorial
We are starting out with a white egg in this case, so I put a line of wax everywhere that I want white.  The bees wax will coat the egg and not allow the dye to hit those areas,
ukrainian egg tutorial

Once all areas are covered that you would like to be white, use a small plug of bees wax to seal the hole in the bottom of the egg that you used to blow it out.  That way, the dye will not get inside the egg.

ukrainian egg tutorial

The dyes used for Ukrainian eggs are very strong dyes.  I am super careful because I have white carpet in my workroom and really do not want a divorce.  Ha!  They are also toxic, so if you decide to try this art, keep them away from children and animals.

The next step is to dip your egg in the dye just like you would to color an Easter egg.  But you will have to hold the egg down due to the fact it is hollow.  In this case, my first color that I’m using is pink.  Generally, you work from lighter colors to darker ones when dying Ukrainian eggs.

ukrainian egg tutorial
ukrainian egg tutorial

Now I use the kistka to draw lines and fill in any spots that I want to be pink.

ukrainian egg tutorial

Dip the egg into the next color.  In this case- blue.

ukrainian egg tutorial
ukrainian egg tutorial

Draw and color in all places that you want to be blue.

ukrainian egg tutorial

Dip into the next color- in this case Purple.

ukrainian egg tutorial

Color and draw in all places that you would like to remain purple.

ukrainian egg tutorial

Here, I have dipped it into my final color- black.  Kinda ugly isn’t it?

ukrainian egg tutorial

But now for the magic.  Hold the egg to the side of the candle flame and begin melting off the beeswax, wiping it with tissue as you go.

ukrainian egg tutorial

See, our little ugly duckling is coming to life!

ukrainian egg tutorial

And there you have it!  It just needs a good coat of clear varnish and it is set to go!  Totally worth the time and effort!

If this craft interests you, there are wonderful tutorials at The Ukrainian Gift Shop.  They also offer great package deals on supplies. Another great place to get supplies and awesome service is All Things Ukrainian.  Before mom and my sister became bird farmers, I used to buy my goose eggs from The Feathered Egg, a family based business out of New Mexico.

My advice for new pysanky artists. Well, we learned a few things the hard way. Always use fresh eggs. Not the kind from the grocery store.  Use plastic gloves to handle your egg- you don’t want to leave natural oils on your egg. Always blow the eggs out before dyeing them or you will actually end up with egg in your dyes. Never hold the egg directly over the flame of the candle. It will cause charcoal stains on your egg and possibly your egg to crack.

And be careful not to drop the egg. That totally ruins your day. Ask me how I know…
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Enjoyed this tutorial?  Be sure to check out my tutorial page for many more!

For other egg art check out: 3D Panoramic Egg Tutorial,  or my Beaded Faberge Eggs Tutorial



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{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tina Peterson March 6, 2014 at 8:20 pm

These are really neat. I was thinking about making these with my daycare kiddos but think it might be over there heads at this time – but I’m toying with the idea of doing something similar using plastic (???) eggs or even blown eggs (in the past I found them pretty sturdy) and strongly encouraging the kids to be gentle with the eggs (which they will be).

A couple years ago I took a class on Amate Folk Art at the local city library with my daycare kids – and I might tweak your ukranian eggs artwork and teach them Amate instead. Thanks for an awesome idea!

I did a review and shared the class I took with the kiddos & you are welcome to see what we made @ http://familyliteracy2.blogspot.com/2012/07/amate-folk-art-of-mexico-craft-activity.html

=D

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2 Susan Myers March 6, 2014 at 9:23 pm

With the younger set, try sharpie pens on blown eggs. They will have a blast!

suzy

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3 Ruthie March 29, 2013 at 2:06 pm

So lovely! Thank you for the tutorial and the tips.

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4 Ann/alba March 28, 2013 at 10:01 pm

stunning I love the colors…..
have a good one Ann/alba

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5 Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage March 7, 2013 at 1:17 pm

These are amazing Suzy!!!

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6 jet February 23, 2013 at 1:01 pm

wooow these are beautiful, and such a greate tute !!!!
I don’t paint eggs anymore but this is a great idea to use for other craftings to try out on.
I don’t know for what, but i’m sure i will.XD
thank you for the sharing;-D

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7 Carole RB February 5, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Hi, your egg is awesone, so beautiful. I don’t think I would have the patience to make one. You have patience and talent!.
Have a great day

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8 Dezi March 30, 2012 at 10:18 am

I love this!!! I do have a question though; how do you dry your eggs after you sit them in the dye? I don’t want mine to dry with spots or ring on them. :-/

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9 Suzy March 31, 2012 at 1:17 pm

After you remove them from the dye, you pat them dry with tissue. (Use the cheapest tissue you can buy so that you don’t leave hand softener or anything on them). After patting them dry, they are ready for the next layer of wax. No need to sit them down unless you want to.

When applying the clear coat sealant after all the dyeing is completed, I allow the eggs to dry on a stand that I made. It is a flat board with nails in it, all pointing up. I balance the eggs on the nails to dry.

suzy

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10 Barn Weddings September 12, 2011 at 7:55 am

Great work! Making those egg designs are quite difficult. But I would like to try it for myself too. :D

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11 Danee August 11, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Beautiful work

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12 Melissa @ Love Affair With My Brother May 20, 2011 at 2:41 am

I just "pinned" your eggs! They are so beautiful. You have such talent.

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13 Shaylynn May 2, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Beautiful! You TOTALLY inspired me.

I don't have a pynasky set, but I do have sharpies…. I also featured your eggs!

http://shealynns-faerie-shoppe.blogspot.com/2011/04/sharpies-and-eggs.html

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14 Me April 16, 2011 at 6:22 am

I was so excited when I happened upon your Ukrainian easter egg tutorial, my mom used to make those when I was little. I remember the smell of the wax and her steady hand while she was drawing the design, thank you! I featured you on my blog today (hope that's okay), have a look memyselfandtena@blogspot.com.

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15 Deneen April 15, 2011 at 4:06 pm

I have loved these ever since I was a little girl! They are beautiful. You are so talented! I am following you now!
dreaming-n-color.blogpsot.com

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16 Michelle@Somedaycrafts April 15, 2011 at 1:40 pm

I'm featuring this at somedaycrafts.blogspot.com today! They are amazing. I want to try to make one….someday!

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17 Ashlee @ I'm Topsy Turvy March 22, 2011 at 6:47 am

I am SO in love with these eggs and have been wanting to make them for years! your tutorial is GREAT! Now I just need the supplies. Thanks for linking up to Topsy Turvy Tuesday's, I'm featuring these today!

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18 Nicolette @ Momnivore's Dilemma March 21, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Your tutorial was so well-written! As usual, your work is stunning. I don't have access to fresh eggs until farmer's market season starts in May, but maybe I could knock these off with paper mache eggs?

Thanks for linking to Creative Juice Thursday!

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19 Jenn Erickson March 20, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Wow! I've long admired the art of making Ukrainian eggs, and am so impressed by your patience, style, and talent for this wonderful craft!

You definitely have my vote for "Best in Show" at LambAround!

Jenn/Rook No. 17

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20 Krafty Kat March 20, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Such a work of art! Truly beautiful and thanks for sharing the tutorial. Thanks for linking up to Gettin' Krafty With It!

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21 Christina @ The Tattered Tag March 20, 2011 at 12:46 am

So beautiful!! I am in awe of your talent. So happy you joined last weeks K.I.S.S. blog bash, your creativity is appreciated. Please remember tomorrow is another fun blog bash, drop by & share more inspiring ideas!

Drop by The Tattered Tag

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22 Jill March 19, 2011 at 10:08 am

Wow Wow WOW!! Those eggs are incredibly amazing – the patience you must have to create those! I'm SUPER impressed!

Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
Hope you have a great weekend!

Jill @ Creating my way to Success
http://www.jembellish.blogspot.com/

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23 AllieMakes! March 18, 2011 at 8:36 pm

WOW! I am in awe of your talent! Those are just amazing!
I have to ask: Is the dye a special Ukrainian dye? I have never been able to get such vibrant colors from the grocery store dyes…
Thanks for linking up to Making It With Allie! I can't wait to see what you have for next week!
AllieMakes.Blogspot.com

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24 radn March 18, 2011 at 2:49 am

Love it! Very nice tutorial! You are a talented artist!

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25 Christina March 18, 2011 at 12:57 am

OK I TOTALLY don't have enough patience for this…but I can definitely admire yours!! They're stunning!

Thanks so much for linking to "20 Below Thursday"! :)

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26 Susanmeep March 17, 2011 at 7:06 pm

they are so nice!

I am following you (suelee1998) from the blog hop, you have a great site. Would you please follow me back? http://susansdisneyfamily.blogspot.com/
thank you :)

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27 SewHappyGeek March 17, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Hiya, just wanted to let you know I'm featuring you tomorrow on Feature Friday, so you're welcome to go grab a 'featured' button if you'd like:
http://www.sewhappygeek.blogspot.com

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28 Nancy StylenDecorDeals.blogspot.com March 17, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Absolutely gorgeous! I love ethnic traditions too!
New follower from the hop!
Hope you can hop over and follow me!

http://stylendecordeals.blogspot.com/

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29 PartyMom March 17, 2011 at 11:37 am

Those are amazing! I don't have a steady enough hand to try it on my own, but I am definitely appreciating the beauty from afar. Thanks for sharing!

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30 creativejewishmom/sara March 16, 2011 at 7:45 pm

wow, gorgeous! I've always loved those Ukranian eggs, so thanks so much for sharing your tutorial on Craft Schooling Sunday!

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31 Rachel March 16, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Those are beautiful!

My mom used to have some of these at our house. My brother and I broke one, and even though it was few years old, it smelled horrible! I had no idea how much work went into making these.

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32 Meg March 15, 2011 at 9:11 pm

WOW! What a work of art! I'm amazed…so beautiful.

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33 Kissy Face Designs March 15, 2011 at 3:08 pm

These are gorgeous! I saw these in Martha's Living this month and was wondering how they are done. Thank you. Visiting from Little Eme.
http://www.craftsbyholly.blogspot.com

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34 Christine March 15, 2011 at 2:10 pm

whoa. what a great piece of art! You must have such a steady hand. These are beautiful.

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35 Lyuba @ Will Cook For Smiles March 15, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I am still, just at "wow". I keep looking it over. I was going to paint eggs with my son, not I'm like "psst what the point ;)"
I am your newest follower!

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36 Lyuba @ Will Cook For Smiles March 15, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Oh WOW…these are amazing. I can't believe a person made these. You much have such steady hand. AMAZING!!!

http://willcookforsmiles.blogspot.com/

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37 SewHappyGeek March 15, 2011 at 10:45 am

Suzy, I love these! I showed my family your tutorial on Sunday and they both dropped their jaws when I showed them the last picture! It was really cute!
Thanks for linking up!

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38 Kristi Flanagan March 14, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Absolutely beautiful! I think you have a bit more patience than me! LOL! Thanks so much for planting your creative seeds at Plant a Punkin Seed Party.

Hugs,

Kristi

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39 Spontaneous Threads March 14, 2011 at 6:49 pm

OMG these are gorgeous!

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40 Sasha March 14, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Suzy this is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. You make it look so easy. The egg is absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for linking up to Creation Mondays @ ~The Life of Me~!

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41 Jerri Neddermeyer March 14, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Stopped by from the Polly wanna crafter hop….this is AMAZING!!!!!! Details are great!

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42 Shelly March 14, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Thank you for posting this fabulous tutorial! I want to try this! Thank you also for the links to supplies, etc. A girl after my own heart, telling us where to find things! :)

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43 Nicole March 14, 2011 at 2:49 pm

One word: WOW! Those are so beautiful!

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44 Beth- the mama bee March 14, 2011 at 1:27 am

those are beautiful. Mine are not so dainty and tidy. I'll get started again after st. patty's day. I can't think Easter until the green is packed away.

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45 Sonja March 14, 2011 at 1:16 am

This brings back memories, I use to do this years ago. Maybe I should try it again.
Thank you

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46 Emily {WhipperBerry} March 13, 2011 at 9:08 pm

I saw this on tv when i was a kid, and remember being amazed by it then. This tutorial is just what I needed! Thankyou for sharing this amazing art.

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47 Heidi @ Mom's Crafty Space March 13, 2011 at 8:05 pm

I remember doing this as a kid with some neighbors, and it was so much fun (though incrediby time consuming!). I actually just bought a kit a couple of weeks ago to try it again, so it was really nice to see the step-by-step tutorial instead of just reading their written directions. Thanks!

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48 Tanya (a Taste of T) March 13, 2011 at 5:28 am

This puts my easter art to shame

Here from a blog hop and happy to meet you,
<3, New Follower
Tomorrow starts a week of giveaways on A Taste of T

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49 AliLilly March 12, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Oh. Em. GEE! These are the coolest eggs ever!! WOW!!! I'm so impressed!

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50 laura March 12, 2011 at 10:47 pm

These are so much fun I enjoyed doing these with my mother

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51 Teddie Seeley March 12, 2011 at 3:19 pm

What a fabulous tutorial! Such beautiful work.
Thank you for sharing.

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52 Peggy March 12, 2011 at 7:17 am

Oh My Gosh! I have seen this before. Just beautiful. This looks really hard. Love it!

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53 Michelle@Somedaycrafts March 12, 2011 at 4:07 am

I honestly can't believe that you can make these! They are beyond beautiful! I also can't believe you sell them for what you do. They probably take a day to make them.

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54 Ann March 12, 2011 at 12:44 am

Flippin' amazing! They are just too beautiful.

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55 Ronda March 11, 2011 at 11:03 pm

We made these for a class project in grade school, so we used eggs from the grocery store and didn't blow them out. It was the most fun! I loved the big reveal when the wax came off!

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56 Sarah March 11, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Gorgeous work! You make me want to pull out the kit I got a few years ago and give it a try.

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57 Ani March 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm

That's great! I totally want to do this… Probably not this year, but maybe next. I saw this when I was a kid on Reading Rainbow and have wanted to try it ever since. I'm sure someday I will :)

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58 Heather March 11, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Your eggs are beautiful. Loved the tutorial. Thank-you.

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59 Rachael @ The Little Birdie March 11, 2011 at 3:35 pm

WOW!! That is absolutely amazing!! What patience you must have… :)

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60 MommyMeagan March 11, 2011 at 3:24 pm

wow- so amazing and incredibly intricate. Your patience is incredible!

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61 Anne Maskell March 11, 2011 at 2:12 pm

WOW! I'm speechless! Your work is fabulous, and the care you put into detail is amazing.

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62 poindextr March 11, 2011 at 2:09 pm

these are the most beautiful things I have seen in, well, ever! Truly lovely. I'm not sure, but does this process resemble the fabric dying process for batik? I have the impression that process also makes use of wax to block the application of color through a layered application process. I'm very impressed with your results – bravo!!

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63 Carla @ More Than Tuesdays March 11, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Wow that is unreal! It's gorgeous! I envy people who have the 'vision' to do something like this. Did you sketch out your design on paper first, color and all? I dunno if I could keep track of the colors as I go! Wow….lovely!

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64 Christine from FL March 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm

How fun! Your eggs are beautiful.I remember as a little girl my mother had a friend who made these eggs. She made the most beautiful eggs, some the traditional and others that were more elaborate with pictures of Jesus. My mother and I did try our hand at if a few times and I still may have some of the supplies stored away. Maybe I should look and give it another try.

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