Monday, 29 October 2012

Experimenting with eyes

We're only a couple of days away from Halloween now, so let's look at a cool little thing you can do fairly quickly for use with your Halloween decorations.

I'm talking about eyes here.  I like eyes a lot and like to just sort of sprinkle them everywhere in places they don't normally belong.  Happily, it's easy to make very effective eyes and they don't take very long to make.  Today, I'm going to talk about how I do that.

A while ago, I made lizard eyes.  I’m pleased with my lizard eyes, but I also wanted to try making something that’s a bit more like the glass eyes taxidermists use.
So, here is eye prototype number two.  I made them with a glass pebble over top of a painted iris and pupil.  I placed those on a bottle top and wrapped a small quantity of translucent Sculpey round them to hold everything in place and form a sclera (the white part of the eye).
Sculpey is baked at a low temperature, so the glass lens, bottle top and painted paper iris can all be baked together without any problems.  I haven’t needed to use any glue here, because the Sculpey keeps everything together.
The results are pretty good and I'd be more than happy to have a few of these peeking out from around my garden plants.  However, I think they could be even better, so I decided to make another pair with acrylic cabochons.
These cabochons are used in jewellery making.  They’re designed to have a small image placed underneath them, and this makes them perfect for sculpture eyes.  They’re much clearer than the glass pebbles I used for my previous prototype, so they distort the painted eye far less than the pebble does.  That means I have to be more detailed when I paint the iris, but it also means the eye looks better.  I could also use a printed picture of an eye, which would be an easier and quicker option if I had a suitable image to use.  I also discovered that for best results it's a good idea to paint the pupil of the eye directly onto the cabochon.

The really important thing to remember here is that you can't use any kind of polymer clay with acrylic cabochons.  They won't survive the baking process.  Instead, I've used clear glue and air dry clay (DAS is pretty good).