How to make doll eyes

Make your own doll eyes using polymer clay, UV resin, Pearl Ex and a few other tools. You can make eyes in any size for any doll, including dolls you will sculpt and cure in the oven. 

 
Handmade 18 mm doll eyes

Handmade 18 mm doll eyes

materials & supplies

Here's what you'll need. I've included links for any unusual materials. Some of these are affiliate links.

  • Polymer clay, white (Premo, Fimo or Kato clay recommended)
  • Clay cutting knife
  • Rounded object (like a marble) for indenting eye white
  • Small black round cabochons or other materials for the pupil
  • Pearl Ex pigment for the iris
  • Small, soft paintbrushes
  • Cotton swabs
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Oven for clay
  • Dark colored pencils (like Prismacolor)
  • Thin pin or needle
  • Lisa Pavelka Magic-Glos (UV resin)
  • UV light to cure the UV resin
These basic baby blues will introduce you to the eye making process. For more advanced techniques, see the end of this tutorial.

These basic baby blues will introduce you to the eye making process. For more advanced techniques, see the end of this tutorial.

1. Condition white polymer clay until you can roll it into a smooth ball. Roll the ball out into an even log shape.

1. Condition white polymer clay until you can roll it into a smooth ball. Roll the ball out into an even log shape.

2. A big part of making eyes is getting the eyeballs to equal each other in size and shape. Using a ruler and knife helps. 

2. A big part of making eyes is getting the eyeballs to equal each other in size and shape. Using a ruler and knife helps. 

3. Roll each section into a ball. Make several balls at once so you can pair up similar sizes. Press the ball gently down onto a clean surface to flatten it slightly.

3. Roll each section into a ball. Make several balls at once so you can pair up similar sizes. Press the ball gently down onto a clean surface to flatten it slightly.

4. Use a marble or other rounded object to make an indentation for the iris. Coat the marble with a bit of baby powder to keep it from sticking to the clay. Make the holes an even size and depth for each eye. I like to make the center of the white with a pin to help me center the iris.

4. Use a marble or other rounded object to make an indentation for the iris. Coat the marble with a bit of baby powder to keep it from sticking to the clay. Make the holes an even size and depth for each eye. I like to make the center of the white with a pin to help me center the iris.

5. Use a small paintbrush to fill in the iris area with Pearl Ex. Here I am using blue mixed with pearl white to lighten it. If you spill a little powder outside the lines, it's okay. Leave it there for now.

5. Use a small paintbrush to fill in the iris area with Pearl Ex. Here I am using blue mixed with pearl white to lighten it. If you spill a little powder outside the lines, it's okay. Leave it there for now.

6. Insert the pupil at the center of the clay. I use tweezers to do this. Push it in a little so it is embedded in the clay slightly (to hold it in place). Now clean the eye white with a bit of rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab. Bake according to the clay manufacturer's instructions. 

6. Insert the pupil at the center of the clay. I use tweezers to do this. Push it in a little so it is embedded in the clay slightly (to hold it in place). Now clean the eye white with a bit of rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab. Bake according to the clay manufacturer's instructions. 

7. Once the eyes have baked and cooled, you can outline the iris with a darker colored pencil. Here I am using a dark blue. 

7. Once the eyes have baked and cooled, you can outline the iris with a darker colored pencil. Here I am using a dark blue. 

8. Now I add the Magic-Glos UV resin. I start at the center and squeeze slowly to give the resin time to fill all the cracks. 

8. Now I add the Magic-Glos UV resin. I start at the center and squeeze slowly to give the resin time to fill all the cracks. 

9. Keep going until the iris area is filled. See how different it looks? The pupil is magnified and the color is deeper. See that pesky air bubble? Pop those with a pin. 

9. Keep going until the iris area is filled. See how different it looks? The pupil is magnified and the color is deeper. See that pesky air bubble? Pop those with a pin. 

10. Now the eyes are ready for a curing session with the UV light. 

10. Now the eyes are ready for a curing session with the UV light. 

11. I use a UV light meant for fingernail polish. It is small and can cure several eyes at once. I put the eyes in for about 12 or 15 minutes. 

11. I use a UV light meant for fingernail polish. It is small and can cure several eyes at once. I put the eyes in for about 12 or 15 minutes. 

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Ready to make some eyes?

There is no limit to what you can do with shape and color—make the eyes uniquely yours. Experiment with the techniques above to find a look that is uniquely yours. 

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These eyes are a bit like poker... easy to learn and difficult to master. Want to save a little time? 5 months maybe?

I have an advanced eye making workshop available in my shop. In this workshop I share everything I learned during several months of eye-experimentation! I share all the materials I’ve found for making the eyes—what works and what doesn’t. I also cover troubleshooting and advanced techniques—what to do with air bubbles, how to make the eyes perfectly matched and centered…simple and repeatable techniques to create unique colors and patterns in an iris. I even introduce a special tool you can make to have consistent iris indentations every time. Save yourself tons of time and frustration with my advanced tips and techniques.

How to make doll eyes includes 30+ pages and over 100 pictures of doll-eye goodness along with instructions to make every eye shown below. Available here

See how to make doll eyes just like these in my new tutorial. 

See how to make doll eyes just like these in my new tutorial.