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 HOW TO: Install eyes into a dolls head

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Join date : 2011-01-27

PostSubject: HOW TO: Install eyes into a dolls head   Tue Oct 23, 2012 4:08 am

How to Install eyes into a BJD or modded doll head.

First you need a doll that has the option to change eyes.

For this Tutorial I am using a Vinyl Evangeline Ghastly head that I have modded to have changeable eyes, but the technique is the same for most BJD's as well.

You will need Eye putty, Doll eyes, and a bit of patience.
Recommended tools. small stick (crochet hook, chopstick, dowel)

Clean your hands thoroughly before handling in you dolls, you do not want to get oils on your dolls face or body.

Eye putty; there are several kinds of eye putty. Some BJD companies will provide some with the dolls. Do not use polymer clays that are heat cure as they will react with some acrylic eyes causing them to melt and are not good for use with vinyl or hard plastic dolls either. Most resin dolls will be OK, but why risk it.
The safest products to use are ;
.Kneaded eraser (the grey kind). Always use clean product, this works well in dolls with thick walls in the heads, some white skin dolls will show a faint shadowing around the eyes because of the grey color.
.WHITE poster tack. do not use the blue or Yellow kind as the dye can stain your dolls
.'Mack's silicon ear plugs'. This is my favorite product, it is colorless so it won't stain, heat resistant so it doesn't slump in hot weather and it tacky enough to hold the most stubborn eyes into the most stubborn heads.

eyes101 by leopardessmoon, on Flickr

Eyes come in a wide variety of styles, colors and materials, but the basics are full round (spheres, often with a stem for adjusting), paperweight (squashed sphere, they will fit in a tighter space than full rounds will), half round (flat backed half spheres), and Oval (the white of the eye is oval in shape). Oval eyes are primarily for permanent set in eyes. I don't like oval eyes because they are incredibly limited in the positioning and adjustments you can do with them without showing gaps. They can mostly just stare straight ahead, which negates the point of being able to adjust them.
Eyes can be bought in a variety of materials including glass, acrylic, resin, and silicone. I have found good and poor quality eyes in all of the above so I have no preference on materials as long as they suit the look I want for the doll and fit nicely.

eyes102 by leopardessmoon, on Flickr

Measuring for eyes. Eyes come in a wide range of sizes. Most will be measured in even millimeter sizes from 8mm to 22mm, there are a few companies that have 26mm to 30mm eyes for larger dolls as well. To get a good fit for your doll you have to pick the right size eye.

Measure across the eye opening from tear duct to outer corner and go UP one or two sizes, if the measurement is 10mm likely the doll will need a 12mm eye. if you put a 10mm eye in the eye socket you will likely see gaps around the edges.

eyes104 by leopardessmoon, on Flickr

I am using 12mm acrylic half round eyes for this demonstration.

Roll a thin tube of eye putty and wrap it around the widest part of the eyeball like a donut, or for flatbacked eyes you can make a disc and stick it on the back of the eye. Keep it away from the Iris (colored part) so it won't squish out the eye opening.

eyes105 by leopardessmoon, on Flickr

place eye into head and position Iris to the opening of the eye socket. This does not have to be perfect at this point as we can adjust it later.

eyes106 by leopardessmoon, on Flickr

press the putty lightly to the head to hold the eye into place. you should have enough putty to  keep the eye from falling back into the head while you adjust.

eyes107 by leopardessmoon, on Flickr

Install both eyes

eyes108 by leopardessmoon, on Flickr

If you are using full round eyes they will likely have a stem sticking out the back which can be used for adjusting the eyes while in the socket, for flat backed eyes I use a rod or stick (most often a crochet hook as I always seem to have one around) to push the edges of the flat back to adjust the eyes.

For the most natural positioning, tilt the eyes slightly upward so that the pupil is touching or almost touching the upper eyelid. This helps prevent the startled look or the deadpan look that can be caused by the eyes stareing straight out.

The position of the eyes lend alot of personality and expression to a doll. Each position can express a different feeling. here are some examples

startled/ spooky dead stare

eyes201 by leopardessmoon, on Flickr

relaxed/bored natural look

eyes202 by leopardessmoon, on Flickr

curious or playful

eyes203 by leopardessmoon, on Flickr

OMG!/ fright

eyes204 by leopardessmoon, on Flickr

silly/ cross eyed

eyes205 by leopardessmoon, on Flickr

guilty or thoughtful

eyes206 by leopardessmoon, on Flickr

I hope this has been helpfull!

"just call me Leo, its easier to type Very Happy"
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