Learn how to make realistic doll eyes that look like glass! Tutorial by Aimee Jeffries of Misty Moon Creations. PAGE TWO.
Pictures 7 and 8: You might notice there is extra clay around the eyes, where it has been smooshed out by the tool. I take a small stylus or tooth pick and clean up the edges. This doesn't have to be perfect at this point, we will do it one more time in a bit, then we can get nit-picky.
At this point your clay should be sticking nicely to your tile; this is a good thing! We wont be moving/removing them from the tile until we are completely done. Unless you are feeling adventurous and like chasing little eyeballs all over the place when you use your heat gun.
Pictures 9 and 10: The next step when I make realistic doll eyes I use a stylus, and make a shallow, gentle dent. By gentle, I mean just use the weight of your hand holding the tool, don't press. At this point the clay has been compressed, and too much pressure too fast will cause little cracks around the edge of the pupil. These will then suck the paint right into them which is a bad thing.
This first dent determines the depth, now we're going widen it a bit. Place your stylus in the dent and start to wiggle it a bit, building up to a tiny circle until it is as big as you want it. You can see the progression of the pupil size in the three I've done in picture 9, the top being the largest.
The next step is important if you need to be precise with the size when you make realistic doll eyes. I started with a size of 6mm but I've displaced some of the clay in the previous steps; thus making them too wide. You could probably start with a 4mm, then widen up to a 6mm; that is up to your judgement! For now I'll use the Perfect Eye Tool once again to bring them back to the right size. More clay will squish out the sides.
Time to clean up the edges for the final time. This is where the black tile will come in handy so I can see if I missed anything,because these really are no fun to try to sand at this size. You might also want to turn on your oven and let it start preheating.
Now give them a good look over. If your pupils have shrunk from the last step, gently widen them again, it will only take but a nudge. Also make sure that you have matched pairs, (the iris' are roughly the same size as the one next to it). The worst thing to do when you are trying to make realistic doll eyes is to have 2 different sized eyes on the one doll. It can ruin the look of the entire doll.
Time to bake! Read the instructions on the brand of clay you are using for temperature and time. I bake mine at 275 F for about 12 minutes. An oven thermometer is a big help as well. I have a convection oven that I use just for baking clay, and I find the temperatures get about 5-10 degrees hotter when I'm not using the fan option, so pay close attention and adjust your temperature accordingly.
I've experimented quite a bit with different tools, shapes and paints. Don't feel bad if you find yourself surrounded by eyes....it's quite addicting. On one set of eyes I used the clay itself to create the dome, then glossed it with Liquid Fimo. It looses it's glass 3D effect this way, but I just wanted to show you some other options. I created the groove for the darker contrast color and the dome at the same time using brass tubes. You could also use straws, caps, lids, even those little tube sleeves that come on your new paint brushes.
For final doll sculpts I prefer to use Genesis Heat Set Paints for things like blushing, shading, lips etc. But for the eyes I found using acrylics to make realistic doll eyes to be MUCH easier to use.
I tried mixing both types of paints with the Liquid Fimo to build the color that way, but it was quite fussy and not as clear as I would have liked. If I used the tinted Liquid Fimo, I had to decide when to add the black dot for the iris. Under, it wasn't clear enough. Over, and it looked like it was floating, sometimes even casting a shadow- not convincing at all when you're trying to make realistic doll eyes. If you look at your own eyes you'll see the color of the pupil doesn't cover the black iris.
I had trouble getting the genesis paints thin enough to work with. The Genesis Thinner is the consistency of Vaseline, and the instructions say not to us more than 40% or they might not set correctly. I also tried mineral spirits/turpentine to thin the paints. I found with the small amount of color needed, they didn't mix as well as I would like, and evaporates quite quickly. You can see my "experimental pallet" in picture 13.
If you want to try Genesis, they can be spendy, but there are samples kits and testers available. The large containers are ones I bought, then emptied the plastic tubes into them for easy use. The smaller containers I bought from a "Reborn Supplier". You can get a lot of different colors in small amounts this way for a decent price.
This "How to Make Realistic Doll Eyes" tutorial was written by Aimee Jeffries with only some editing by Amanda Day for SEO. This tutorial was republished to Doll Makers Dream with permission. All content and photos remain the copyright of Aimee Jeffries. It is not to be republished without direct consent.