What is Glass Teddy Bear Eyes?
When the first teddy bears were made in 1902, they had shoe-button eyes. Shoe-buttons were made of metal covered with leather and were typically used on ladies’ shoes of the time. Later on, teddy bear manufacturers replaced shoe-buttons with taxidermy eyes because the glass eyes were more affordable and available in a range of sizes. These days there are artisans who specialize in the making of glass eyes for teddy bears and dolls. The eyes are suitable for collectible toys and mostly used with natural textiles such as mohair, wool, and cotton.
Which Types of Crafts can use Glass Eyes?
You don’t only need to use glass eyes for teddy bears and doll making; many artists use the eyes in their sculptures too. If you sculpt in wood or clay or make needle felt animals, you will love the ease of using glass eyes. Not only that, the eyes are shiny and lustrous and give depth and expression to your creations.
How to Choose the Right Size Eye
The size of the eyes for your creation is a personal preference. Small eyes can create an expression that looks more mature, calculating, mean. Tiny eyes are a good choice for quirky characters while large eyes give an impression of innocence, baby animal, being surprised, or in love. If your toy pattern doesn’t specify which size eyes to buy, you can use a ruler to measure the size you think will work best. Remember that our eyes are sold in pairs and the size is indicated in millimeters.
How Do You Attach Eyes on a Pin or Wire Loop?
- Push two pins with large heads into the head where you want to attach the eyes. If you’re sculpting in clay or wood, make a mark with a pencil. Adjust the position until you’re happy with the placement and symmetry. Finally, mark the spot by making a small dot with a felt tip pen.
- Use an awl, knitting needle, or chopstick to wriggle a hole in the fabric so that the stem of the eye can fit into the head.
- If you’re sculpting with clay, wood, or wool-felt, you will glue the eye into position. For teddy bears, dolls, amigurumi, and stuffed toys, thread a length of strong thread through the eye loop. Then insert the ends of the thread into a long needle and pull the needle through the head of the toy, coming out at the back of the neck. Once you’ve inserted both eyes into the head, you can knot the two thread ends together and lose the tails into the head.
P.S. Want to make a cute pair of spectacles for your miniature toy? HERE‘s a free tutorial!