I bought a new toy for myself. That's what it looks like, at least! It's a set of wooden tools for creating accurately-sized eye sockets in clay dolls. This helps take the guesswork out of the proportions of the face. 30 years ago, I would have said they were a perfect set of drum sticks! They come in all different sizes, from small to large. The measuerments are clearly marked on the sticks.
Whether I am working in cloth or clay, I like to make my own doll eyes, and set them into the head. This is actually easier to do than you might think... just form a ball from white polymer clay and paint it.
If the doll is made from cloth, the eye should be like a bead, with a hole that goes through from one side to another. That way, I can sew the eyes in 'from ear to ear'!
If you scroll down my sidebar, you will find a cloth doll named Fuscia. Her eyes are made this way.
After painting, you can put a final touch on the eye to make them look more realistic- a cornea.
To make the cornea, use 3D Crystal Lacquer. It's clear and thick "stuff" that stays where you put it for the most part. Since it won't drip, it dries right where it is- nice and thick. Perfect for delicate eyes! Originally, I bought the Lacquer (online) to make "doll fingernails" but I found another use for it.... I love it when that happens!
There is another product I've read about called 'Diamond Glaze.' I don't have it and never tried it, but I think that might be a similar product. I also heard of people making fingernails with Mod Podge. It's white but dries clear. I am not sure if I would trust it on my eyes though. It's more like a glue. If you have used Mod Podge in a similar situation, let me know. I am curious to know if it's safe!
I bought the crystal lacquer from keelings crafts.com, and I think you can buy diamond glaze from joggles.com.
I sometimes like to paint the white of the eyes with Interference Gold paint (by Golden- the same company that makes gel medium) It's still white, but it gives the eyes a special glowy, slightly shiny look that is perfect for a faerie or some other whimsical fantasy doll. Try it! The paint is on the expensive side but it will last forever and ever. I got mine from Stampington.com's website.
I am thinking about selling these eyes. If you want to try setting handmade eyes in your dolls but would rather try making the eyes some other time, email me. I'll be happy to earn a little extra money hahaha!
Back again to the wooden eye tools. If you buy eyes commercially- glass, silicone, etc- then you know they come in different sizes. Depending on the size of the doll's head, you know what size eyes to purchase. Why am I so pleased with these new tools? Because now I can design the eyes in proportion to the head I am making- NOT making the head to fit the size of the eye!
(does that make sense?)
And, of course, if I want to sell handmade eyes or make them for later, there is no more guesswork. I know exactly what size the eyes are and do not have to sit there and try to measure the circumference to see how many millimeters they are.
By the way, I bought the wooden eye measuring tools at miniworld dolls.com
Happy eye making!