I made this method up using trial and error and a bit of help from some other tutorials. They probably won't look so terrific in a nice doll, but I found them perfect for me - I'm using them in a doll I'm making. If you're careful, the eyes turn out, I think, quite well. They're shiny and relatively realistic, and they even reflect light pretty well. Not only that, cost very little to make and don't require melting glass or making molds or anything out of the ordinary.
If people are confused, I can easily add more pictures. I'm just feeling lazy.
What you'll need...
- Transparent, domed silicon bumpers - adhesive-backed, generally used for keeping decorative items from sliding off of shelves, that sort of thing. You can buy them at hardware stores. I used the 10mm variety - I'm not sure what sizes they come in but anything should work. If you need a photo for reference, click here: http://www.polybumper.com/images/BS-12.jpg
- White Sculpey clay - need I elaborate? It doesn't even have to be Sculpey as long as it's white and you can bake it.
- An oven - to bake stuff
- Sculpey glaze, gloss variety - another type of gloss will work too, although Sculpey glaze is what I've used. It does tend to have a very slight yellowish tinge though, so if you're picky, something fancier will do just as well.
- Black Sharpie - or other permanent marker
- Colored pencils - or markers or paints or whatever, doesn't really make a whole lot of difference. Of the things I've tried, I've liked colored pencils best but this isn't a picky sort of tutorial...
- Nail polish remover - or something else that's smelly and toxic or will do the trick for taking Sharpie off of clay, if you plan on making mistakes or tend towards random hand spasms or that sort of thing.
- Take some of your white Sculpey and make it into a football shape. Actually, you can make it into whatever shape you'd like - but I started with a full, round eyeball and found that I had to dig a cavern out of my clay doll's head in order to fit it in. I recommend a football shape because the part of the eye you can see is somewhat... football-shaped. But if you want more range of movement for the eye a dome could be a good choice as well.
- Once you've decided on what shape you want the eyeball to be, and made that shape, take one of your silicon domes and see if you can get some of the adhesive off. This one will be the stencil for the dome of the eye. Press the now adhesive-free flat side of the dome into the place on your eyeball where you want the iris to be. Press it in just enough to make a small indent, then take it out.
- Now you're ready to bake your clay eyeballs, which is pretty self-explanitory - one thing I found is that they don't need to be baked quite as long as the packaging says they do.
- When they're done, find the middle of the indent where your iris goes and make a dot there with Sharpie. It should be SMALL and very ROUND, because the silicon dome magnifies the pupil - test it with the adhesive-less one and you will see.
- Then color the iris however you'd like, using your pencils/markers/paints.
- When you are done, stick a silicon dome on top of the iris! Try to pick out one without bubbles in it, because they are noticeable in the final eye. Push the dome down firmly to make sure there's no air under it.
- Paint over the entire eye (except for the back) with your gloss. When it's dry, you're finished! Yay! A nice, shiny eye.