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Making Unique Eyes for Cloth Dolls

Making Unique Eyes for Cloth Dolls

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Published by rivkahrosenfeld

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Published by: rivkahrosenfeld on Jul 01, 2008
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05/08/2012

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Looking Good-
Making Fabulous Eyes for Cloth Dolls
Oneof the most gratifying parts of creating a one-of-a-kind doll is composing theface. That’s right-
composing.
Like a spectacular painting, an enthralling musicalcomposition or any other work of art, a doll’s face is “composed” of many parts-which as a whole, makes for a composition. What makes a composition successful? That depends on whether the piece captivates the viewer and holds his or herattention. In the case of a face, what is more captivating than eyes? Eyes tell astory about the character. They are the focus- the
window to the soul
.Let’s learn one way to create eyes that will capture attention- and make your doll a
masterpiece
.In classic sculpture, and in science for that matter, we are reminded that eyes areessentially round balls. In this regard, cloth dolls neednot be different. We’ll createour own eye balls, and carefully insert them into the doll face. We can create eyelids, too. False eyelashes, lots of make-up… by making “real eyes,” you’ll open upso many new possibilities that lend themselves to a distinctive look. In fact, I amwilling to bet that the way you make eyes will become your “artistic signature!”Essentially, we will be making beads. The beads are strung into the head, securedby a strong thread that runs from ear to ear. What can be more straightforwardthan that? It doesn’t sound complicated or difficult, and it isn’t. In fact, it’s fun!
MATERIALS NEEDED
1.White polymer clay OR air dry clay (if you use air dry clay you must wait untilit hardens before painting)2.Long dollmakers’ needle3.Tin foil4.Paint of your choice- white and black, and a combination of colors for the iris,depending on what color you want your eyes to be:
Blue eyes: blue, green, gray and maybe some yellow
Green eyes: dark green, light green, yellow, maybe some blue or brown
Brown eyes: Brown, yellow, green(By all means, choose any color combination you like. These are just suggestions).5.Diamond Glaze or 3D Crystal Lacquer- to make a cornea6.Micron pen in black7.Very fine paintbrush8.Red Sweater, yarn, or something with red lint9.An enlarged photograph of the human iris (helpful as a guide but optional)
 
10.Eye sizing tools (optional)Before we start, let’s talk about size.If you buy eyes commercially- glass, silicone, etc.-then you know they come indifferent sizes. Some are flat-backed, some are round… whatever the shape, dolleyes are all sold by the millimeter. Depending on the size of the doll’s head, youknow what size eyes to purchase.Now let’s talk about classic sculpture and eye placement.When sculpting a head in polymer or air dry clay, eyes are incorporated right intothe sculpt. Eyes made from glass, silicone or porcelain can withstand the oventemperature needed to cure polymer clay. After the eyes are placed on the face,the artist will add eyelids and outer eye structures. It’s relatively straightforward.For porcelain dolls, which require a mold into which liquid porcelain is poured andfired in a kiln,there is another step involved. Due to the extremely high firingtemperature, eyes must be added later-
after the firing is completed.
Therefore,eye sockets (holes) are created. The eyes are adhered to the inside of the [hollow]head with glue or some form of putty.Creating a porcelain mold is a very tedious process. First, a basic sculpt is madefrom molding clay, and later a mold is cast from it. In order to know the exact sizeof the eye sockets-and to make them perfectly round and precise
every 
time, asimple yet precise tool is used. That tool is of interest to us.
 
THEORY 
 These tools remind me oftoy drumsticks! Made of wood, each one is asimplewooden stick with two different sized balls on each end. Like eyes, the ballsare exact to the millimeter, and the size is conveniently marked for us on the stick.By pushing the correct size ball into the clay, a perfect eye socket is created withprecision and ease.For our purposes, we don’t need to sculpt eye sockets- we are working with a fabrichead. A slash with an X-acto knife or a snip with embroidery scissors is our eyesocket! However, these tools are particularly helpful because by using them asvisual guides, we can create eyes that fit the “standard,” and eliminate guesswork.We’ll know exactly what size the eyes are, and won’t have to sit there and try tomeasure the circumference in millimeters. By knowing the size, the chance of accidentally making eyes that are larger or smaller than intended is reduced.(details to follow).An extra perk: this can be helpful in case you want to sell your creations!
Note:
 The tools are completely optional. If you are making a OOAK, then you cangaugethe size eyes you need by using your own judgment.

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Quel beau travail ! Bravo !
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