How to make the eyes for your toy using glass cabochons and pebbles
May 30, 2017
We have already discussed several ways of creating the eyes for your crocheted and knitted projects. Now it’s time to talk about using glass pebbles and cabochons to make the eyes for your crocheted or knitted project.
Transparent cabochons can be found in a craft store.
If you can’t find them, you can try looking for glass pebbles that are used to decorate fish tanks. They can be easily found in aquarium supplies stores. We recommend that you use the pebbles that are flat at the back. Such pebbles are easier to attach to your toy and to work with.
Pros and cons
+ They look better than safety eyes and beads.
+ They are added after the toy is finished and stuffed, which means it is not necessary to decide on placement while working.
+ You can make any eye you like (color, style, shape, etc.) to fit your project.
+ These eyes are easy to attach.
- They are difficult to remove as they are glued on in most cases.
- They are not safe for small children.
- They are not suitable for tiny projects.
- Sometimes it is hard to find them.
- In most cases gluing is involved (which many crafters don’t like).
There are two basic ways to make this type of eyes: to glue a paper background and to draw the image of the eye at the back of the cabochon or a pebble.
1. Take two glass cabochons or glass pebbles (as described in the pattern) with one flat side. Degrease the flat side.
2. Draw the outline of the pebbles on a piece of thick cardboard. If you use colored pebbles, the color of the cardboard should match the color of the pebble.
3. Cut out the cardboard background.
4. Put some transparent glue onto the cardboard background and press it quickly against the flat side of the cabochon. You can use super glue, gel glue, silicone glue or special glue for scrapbooking. Press hard to remove any air bubbles. Remove any excess glue. Allow to dry.
5. You’ll probably want to coat the back of the eye as a kind of protection. You can use enamel, rubber or mod podge depending on your project. Some crafters glue a piece of felt to protect the printed design.
6. Draw the pupil on the round side of the pebble using acrylic paint.
If you want to make more realistic eyes, try the following method. You will need glass cabochons of the size needed, printed designs of the eyes matching the size of the cabochons, scissors, and glue. You can always find free and paid eye designs and choose the one that will suits best for your project. We recommend that you print the design on a laser printer rather than inkjet. It gives finer details and won’t allow the image to smear. Another piece of advice is to print the design onto a piece of thick cardboard or photo paper.
The process is the same as the one mentioned above except for the last step. You don’t have to draw any pupil as the printed eye design already has everything you need. The next picture is taken form the tutorial by NUTIK (Anna).
She also gives some advice on how to attach the eyes without using glue. You will need flat back earrings posts. When the eye gets dry, put some glue onto a flat surface of the post and press it again the back of the eye. Allow to dry completely.
Make a loop if needed using pliers. As you can see, now you can simply sew the eyes instead of gluing them onto the face of your toy.
This method is described by many crafters on YouTube. You can find a useful video by clicking on the picture below. It is in Russian but you will get the idea. The process of making the eyes with printed background is shown at 12 minutes 10 seconds of the video.
If you don’t have an opportunity to print the eye designs or just can’t find anything suitable for your project, you can draw the eye at the back of the cabochon yourself. You can use acrylic paints or nail polish as Chris Pittoors who has kindly shared her tutorial in our LittleOwlsHut Ravelry group.
Materials and tools you will need:
- A piece of a black sticker (I buy a roll of 5 m at a DIY store)
- Nail polish (I recommend that you use a metallic nail polish) in main and contrasting colors
- Flat glass pebbles (the ones that are used for aquariums) or cabochons
- A sharp knife
Step 1: Cut the pupils out of a piece of black sticker and try it on the back side of the pebble to make sure it is not too big or too small.
Step 2: Apply 1 or 2 layers of main color nail polish to fully cover the back side of the pebble.
Step 3: Let the nail polish get dry completely and make some fine scratches with a knife.
Step 4: Apply contrasting color nail polish. Make sure it fills the scratches. The eyes are ready!
You can make the pupils any shape you desire, for example – elliptical for cat or dragon eyes, or hearts or star shapes for fantasy type charcters.
If you don’t want to use a black sticker, paint the pupil with black acrylic paint or nail polish first. Allow to dry. Then paint the rest of the eye as given below making sure you don’t make scratches on the pupil at Step 3.
To conclude, one more important thing. If you decide to glue the eyes without applying a coat at the back side of the finished eye, make sure the glue does not dissolve the material you use to paint the eyes.
We hope that this article will help you to use your imagination and create amazing eyes for your project yourself.