|Acrylic Eye Installation Tutorial!
||[Sep. 6th, 2006|05:39 pm]
FIRST DRAFT: Please make comments when there are confusing points, bad grammar, typos, etc so I can make a final, pretty version!
I've been promising to write this tutorial for months, it seems... Here it finally is.
Acrylic Eye Installation Tutorial: Fully Functioning Eyemech
There are three different ways to put acrylic eyes in a Pullip head. The first is to completely remove the eyemech and simply glue the acrylic eyes in place. The second is to install acrylic eyes that look side to side, but do not blink. The last is to install fully functioning acrylic eyes that allow dolls to look side to side and to blink.
There are two main differences between these three techniques: motion and position. The first option has no motion, but the eyes are as far forward as possible. The second option has limited motion and the eyes are set back slightly from the eye socket. The third option has the most possible motion, but the eyes can have a certain "sunken" look at certain angles.
This tutorial will cover the second and third options.
What You Will Need:
◙ A Pullip with a working eyemech (Cornice in this example)
◙ Acrylic eyes (22mm or 24mm, half-round NOT oval)*
◙ A thin saw blade of some kind (mine came from an exacto blade kit)
◙ Small rubber bands
◙ Thin cardboard (think cereal boxes, pasta boxes, etc)
◙ Glue (I use extra-thick Tacky Glue)
◙ Double-sided tape
*A Note on Acrylic Eyes: You can buy acrylic eyes from Kemper, Masterpiece, Eyeco, Artistique, and many other sites. I use Artistique in this tutorial, as they are cheap and of good quality for the price.
Regarding Size: 22mm will give your doll a generally more "adult" or "grown-up" look, but there is a risk of giving the doll a "wide-eyed stare" depending on how you position the eyes. 24mm are larger and will give your doll a younger, more cute or childish look in general. My personal preference is as follows: 22mm only in Pullips if you are giving them a second layer of lashes (for a double-thick lash look -- in the photos at the end, Naderine has double-thick lashes, Cornice does not) and 24mm with or without a second layer of ashes. 22mm without double-thick lashes can result in a "wide-eyed stare" look.
However, you can use either in Taeyang without risking the "wide-eyed stare" because Taeyang's eyes do not open as wide vertically; 22mm is more "adult man" and 24mm is more "young boy."
I used 22mm in this tutorial but either size will work.
◙ Step One: Remove Eyeglobes from Eyemech ◙
The very first thing you need to do is remove the eyeglobes from the eyemech. In Type 1s this is very simple: simply tug them out. In Type 2s and 3s, you will need to break off the ring of plastic that holds the two eyeglobes onto their connecting bar. This "melted plastic" is on top of the metal disc and can usually be snapped off quite easily. It often looks like melted plastic and is often discolored, darker than the rest of the plastic. The red arrows in the photo below show where the plastic ring has been removed.
◙ Step Two: Reshaping the Eyeglobes ◙
The next thing you need to do is saw off the eye part of the eyeglobe. You need a thin saw blade for this. A thick sawblade will be harder to manage on such a small piece and will probably make it more likely that you will cut your own fingers. You need to cut just in front of the long pole, about where the curve of the front of the eye ends. The photos below show exactly where you should be sawing.
Here you can see the front eye part entirely removed from the eyeglobe.
I prefer to sand the X that remains on the eyeglobe, because it makes gluing easier for me. This is an optional step, it's not essential, but I like to do it.
◙ Step Three: Sanding the Acrylic Eyes ◙
This is an easy step, but it's also the most time consuming. Put a piece of sandpaper down on a flat surface. Put the acrylic eye iris-up on the sandpaper. You will sand off the back of the acrylic eye by rubbing it over the sandpaper. You can also use a dremel to do this, but it's harder to end up with an even back and you may scratch the acrylic eye.
Here you can see the difference between a sanded acrylic eye (left) and an unsanded acrylic eye (right). You can see you will need to sand off a significant amount from the back of the eye.
Typically, when sanding the acrylic eyes, I like to stop and check every so often to see if I've sanded away enough. With acrylic eyes, it's better to sand too much than not enough. You will need to sand away more of the back off the eye if you want the blinking function; less if you just want side-to-side movement with no blinking.
Here's how to check your eyes: use the double-sided tape to tape the eyes to the X of the eyeglobe. Put the eyeglobes back into the eyemech. To make up for the piece of plastic you've broken off at the very beginning, you'll need to use tiny rubber bands.
Slip the rubber band over the bottom pole of the eyeglobe, then pull it behind and up and over the small peg that you originally broke the plastic off of. See the photo below.
Put the eyeglobes into the eyemech. Using a toothpick or tiny screwdriver, catch the rubber band of each eyeglobe and pull it back over the peg you broke the "melty plastic" off of.
Now screw the eyemech into place. If the eyes move side to side, and that's all you want, move down to the next step! If the eyes move side to side but don't blink (and you want blinking), you probably need to sand more. If they move to the side and blink, move down to the next step! If they are too sunken, don't worry -- and move down to the next step.
◙ Step Four: Positioning and Gluing the Acrylic Eyes ◙
The first thing is to glue a bit of cardboard onto the back of the acrylic eye (Artistique eyes are hollow in back, this is to create a surface that you can glue the X of the eyeglobe to). You can either cut out the circle of cardboard and glue it to the acrylic eye, or glue the acrylic eye down and cut around it. At this point, if your eyes were too sunken when you tested them, add another layer of cardboard to push them up.
Test the eyes again after this step, using the double-sided tape. If they blinked before but do not blink now, you need a thinner piece of cardboard (cardstock may be your solution).
In general, if you simply glue the acrylic eyes into the eyemech without doing anything else (when gluing, try to get the center of the pupil directly above the center of X of the eyeglobe, otherwise the bulge of the acrylic eye will poke up in the wrong place and may prevent the Pullip from blinking), the eyes will look slightly up.
Naderine's eyes were done this way. She has 22mm, and a double layer of lashes (stock lashes + additional lashes).
You can glue a small tab of carboard to the back of the acrylic eye. If this tab is towards the top when the eye is glued in place (remember to use your double-sided tape to "test" positions), the doll will look straight ahead. If it's towards the bottom, the doll will look even more up. You can play around to get different angles until you find the one you like. The cardboard tab is more important in a Pullip mech than in a Taeyang mech; some Taeyangs will look straight forward without any tab.
Cornice's eyes were done with the tab of cardboard pointing up. She has 22mm, and only a single layer of lashes (her stock lashes).
The "wide-eyed stare" -- this isn't a bad case but it gives you an idea of what I'm talking about:
Here is what Cornice's eyemech looked when it was all put together: acrylic eye, cardboard backing, cardboard tab, eyeglobe, rubber band, and all.
Here's a photo of 22mm in a Taeyang, and Cornice with 22mm and double-thick lashes.
Once you have the eyes set up the way you like, glue them in place and let them dry.
Once they've dried -- you're done!