As I mentioned before in a previous post I though it would be a good idea to record some of my ‘experiments’ the making of eyes was one of these.
Character eyes, I searched for the type of eyes I wanted for my needle felt characters but to no avail. the good ones were too big, and the size I wanted did not have the expressions, or they were just too expensive or at least for practising and experimenting. I have tried several permutations on a theme. I did use glass for some of my sculptures back in the days of college but these old supplies again were too big.
So I have a choice, make my critters larger or find a way of making eyes that works. Making eyes it is then, my granddaughter likes the small critters not big ones.
The previous versions were made with polymer clay, and I have tried different ways of getting the shine, from polishing (to time-consuming and boring) using acrylic gloss finish ( scratches with the felting needles) I tried resin next, yes this seemed to work even if it takes what seems like forever to dry. I was gluing the eyes into position, but this seems to not have the right “depth” even though I inset a socket first. Trying to overcome this I set a jewellery finding jump loop in the back of a couple and they worked.
I have just been working on a new trick which should help at the prep stage as well as attaching. Using floral wire, I have imbedded some into the polymer clay prior to baking, and I will trim and create a short loop when they are dry.
So the stages are, cut small sections of conditioned clay form into small ball flatten slightly.
Insert the wire, creating a very small circle at the end so the clay will have something to hang on to.
Using floral foam to keep the eyes in the upright position, give the eyes a quick ( about 30 secs to 1 Min) blast with a hot gun. This begins the curing process and starts to harden the eyes.then put a drop of liquid polymer over the joint where the wire is inserted into the clay then put in tray to bake for the required amount of time (very low for about 15 mins)
Let them cool then put them back into the florist foam ready for the colour and resin.
After creating some eyes in Photoshop, I then printed them out and spent far to long cutting them out.
Drop o f resin to keep the tiny coloured pupil in place then using a cocktail stick apply the resin carefully, not enough and the eyes are flat, too much and it all runs over the edge (and the eyes are still flat) If the correct amount is applied then it will form a “dome” and give a realistic look to the eyes. ( in hindsight I should have been patient and applied the resin in layers.)
Overall, the experiment was quite successful, but I’m still not happy with the results, the bases were too large, and the wire was too thin to wind into decent rings for attaching to the characters. The black bases really hid the colour from the printouts so in future I will only use light coloured clay under the print.
Next time, cutout paper eyes, I will put a dome of resin on first (placed on silicone mat so they don’t stick) then when dry, use these with the polymer to inset them then a final coat of resin to seal the into place. I do need to find a different wire, perhaps some jewellery jump rings there has got to be a solution in my stash somewhere.
Snow cat has the first of the eyes from this batch.