So here's a tip & technique question for you all.
I've done eyes with whites several times and while there's a method I usually use, I've not settled on one particular method of doing them as my "favorite," or as the "best" one for me.
I'd like to start doing eyes with whites on a more regular basis and wondered if anyone here had a technique to recommend, or particular materials to recommend, that are not "trade secret" and that he/she would be willing to share. I'm sure others reading here would also appreciate your input on this topic.
I'm looking for suggestions and ideas like:
-- What material do you use for your eye whites? Felt? Leather? Or do you paint them? (I've used felt and paint, myself.)
-- How do you secure your eye whites? Are they glued down, or do you poke a hole thru the center and run the eye loop thru it to secure it using friction ... or do you do both, or something else entirely? (Both, by the way, would be MY answer.)
-- Do you have a particular way you like to "finish" the edges of your eye whites? Cording (that's how I've done it)? Shading (I've done it that way, too)? Or do you just leave the edges "raw?"
-- How do you determine the size of the whites? Do you trace around the eye itself and then add an extra margin of space? Do you make a circle, or an oval, or a teardrop? (Again, I've done all of these!)
Thanks for any advice and wisdom you can share!!!
Here are a couple of my Potbelly eye white bears, created using the methods I mentioned above:
Great topic, Shelli
For sclera, I've been using thin goat leather, which is a very pale grey, almost white. I bought a stash of it on eBay, and use it for lots of stuff.
I make a slit in the center of the leather, dab the back with LeatherWeld or Weldbond, and set it into place on the pre-sculpted eye socket. Then I make an awl hole through the slit into the bear's head, and attach the eyes with artificial sinew.
I use leather cord for eyelids, but before attaching them I sew the corners of the sclera down.
As for determining the size, I do a lot of experimenting and snipping and pinning before I attach anything permanently. Once I've got one eye right, I do the other exactly the same.
I have mostly used felt for the whites. I make them slightly larger than the eyes then poke a hole in them with an awl and put then on the back of the eyes over the eye loop prior to threading my artificial sinew thru them. (hint: for the size eyes I use, either a penny, dime, or a nickel is perfect for tracing the circle) BUT
I just tried a new technique that looks really promising. On my Tequila bear that I did for the URSA's, I shaved the eye area them painted the whites then outlined it with permanent marker. I really like how they turned out.
Now I have made what I think is a real improvement on that technique...
I am just finishing up a bear that instead of painting with regular fabric paint, I shaved the area first, then temporarily inserted the eyes. I used a fine marker to outline the lower area of the eye edges. Then I took the eyes out (they were never tied in) Then I used the dimensional fabric paint that comes in a bottle with a tiny tip that can be used for lettering on fabric. I just squeezed a little bit of paint out, following the outline I made. Then I used a small flat paint brush to spread it evenly to just cover the area that I want the whites to cover. Brushing it keeps it from puffing up. Then I insert the eyes and tie them in place. Once I am happy with the placement, I used the paint directly from the bottle and recoated the existing paint carefully making sure it comes up to the edge of the eye. This second coat adheres to the the existing paint and is allowed to puff up. After it dries, it puffs up and adheres to the eye edge and looks like it is part of the eye. As a final step, I traced around the edge with a sharpie to define the edge of the eye. I will try and get pictures up tonight when I get home.
Well, Shelli, I 've tried a few ways and came to the conclusion that , for me at any rate simple is best.
I sculpt the eye socket first, then I cut a blob shaped sort of circle from white wool felt...it's just a slightly lop sided affair. I then poke a hole with my awl and thread it onto the eye back...occasionally I add a blob of glue to the eye back...but to be honest sometimes I need to reposition the felt ...and anyway...when the eye is fixed in place the felt is secure.
I don't use cord...I add my eyelids to the top only..and I do this even before I insert the eye...I use oil paints and various other techniques and mediums to shade the eye shape after the eye is in place.
I have tried ultrasuede...too thick...and paint...just too messy...
So all in all I vote for felt...but I am always looking for other ways to do things.
I have to say, though, that the depth and definition achieved by the subtle use of this technique really adds something to the bears 'personality'...in my opinion anyway!!
for eye whites I have tried, painting (quite successful), felt (I have a devil of a time trying to get a nice even edge) and now I have been using white cord and like the results I am getting with this.
I do this way just like any cord eyelid and use glue to keep it in place, and I vary the thickness and placement of the cord depending on the look I want. Then I use a darker cord (usually thinner) to outline the bottom of the eye.
Quite a while ago Dilu mentioned a special hole punch that made BIG circles of whatever you use it on. You purchase this tool with several size "hole makers" in a kit in places where automotive stuff is sold - not at craft stores. I purchased one of these kits - very reasonable, and use it to make the absolutely perfectly round felt eye whites - It's just great, and comes in all those teddy sizes that we need.
When I want to put eye whites at just the inside and outside corners then I use your method of placing the eyelid cords, but leaving a space at the inside and outside of the eye. (I'll see if I can edit in a picture later). then I cut a very small piece of triangular shaped felt and just push it in the space to see if it fits - you want it to be a bit too big. If it is ok then I take it out and put a dab of glue (horrors) in the space and push the felt piece back in place. Then I take a fairly large needle (darning needle type) and keep poking it until it is quite glue saturated and in position and let it dry.
I'm off to try and find that photo.
OK hopefully I have it. I also use the needle to push the piece of felt under the edge of the eye and eyelid and to tuck in any bits that have come loose - this is just a very tiny piece of felt and it tends to come apart if you're not careful.
Ok, so I didn't answer all your questions:
How do I secure it: - for the round pieces, I run the eye cording through it slightly off centre, and then when I am happy with the position I dab a bit of clear fabric glue under the edge. It will be held in place by friction, but could perhaps move around a little.
Finishing the edge: For the round pieces I take a permanent felt marker and very carefully mark the cut edge to give it a more defined edge/look.
How do I determine the size: - I use the hole cutter mentioned in my previous post, and cut all the sizes, so I can try them all to see which I like the best. I highly recommend this little tool to anyone who is going to want to have the eye whites showing, because I don't know about you, but I can't cut an exact circle no matter what!
There, I think that answers all the questions.
I'll take a photo either later tonight or tomorrow morning - we are just heading out for nidder - no, make that dinner! See how hungry I am!
I purchased mine at a local "liquidation type" store that specializes in tools. Perhaps Canadian Tire, but I don't think Wal-Mart would have it. But you never know.
I'll be back later.
I'm very interested in this circle cutter tool you are talking about, Jane, but I don't suppose it cuts circles small enough for mini bears????
For the whites of my bears' eyes I have used both felt and ultrasuede but find them a bit thick if the bear is really tiny so then I use non woven interfacing and it works great. I put a hole off-centre and put the eye loop through it or if I am using a bead eye then I just stick the needle through slightly offcentre. The other way I do whites of eyes on my minis is to stitch it in with white embroidery thread - eyelids this way too with other colours of thread. I have used fabric pens on the edges but often just leave them as is on the minis.
I needlefelt the white.
OK, I've only done one bear with whites but that's how I did it and I was very happy with how it came out.
I did do a top eyelid. The bottom I shaded.
Now I'll have to try some of these other ways.
Jane, I hope dinner was good and that you saved room for dessert! But hurry up and come back with pictures of the tool you have. Does it have a name or do you know what it would do if one was to use it in the automotive industry?
Dinner was so so. I went to the dentist today, and ended up with a headache, and didn't even feel like dessert - that is just so not like me!
Anyway, here is a photo of the hole punch. That is what my husband calls it, and he is a heavy duty mechanic. He says it is used primarily for punching holes in gaskets. It comes with the main handle and then all the cutters around the edge. Each one can thread onto the handle depending on what size hole/circle you want to cut. Mine came with a point in the middle of the handle, and I just removed it, as I didn't want a hole punched in the middle of my circle. You then place the handle with cutter attached over top of a piece of felt or whatever, and place it on a piece of wood - end grain is best- and then give the end of the handle a few whacks with a hammer. They vary in price - I think mine was about $35.00 Canadian, and you can also get them individually, but this seemed the best option for me. I wasn't sure just what sizes I would be wanting. You can also pay a lot more for them if you go high end - but this cheap one works for me just fine. If you do get a cheap one like mine, then make sure that all the cutters thread easily onto the handle - I had to go through several sets before I found one that they all threaded on properly. Hope this helps.
Edie - Ron thinks you should be able to get one that would be small enough for little bears - or maybe go to a place that sells leather working tools - they should have something similar for punching holes in belts, etc.
Hope this helps.
or maybe go to a place that sells leather working tools - they should have something similar for punching holes in belts, etc.
Thanks Jane, I never thought of that!!! I've tried a paper hole punch but of course it won't go through fabric very easily but a punch for holes in leather would!
Cool tool Jane...
I did a quick search Ebay, Amazon and Bizrate and found them in both the automotive & leather making sections...ranging from $19.99 and up.
I'm definitely adding one to my "must have" list. Like many of you cutting a nice round circle is not an easy task no matter how hard I try. I use my spring loaded hole punch that I bought for scrapbooking...it's has several sizes but they are little...when I've made mini's (the few I've made).
P.S. Shelli, I've done pretty much what you've done other than the painting technique. I've only use white felt.
Thanks Jane :hug: Sorry about your dinner but I understand, I was also at the dentist yesterday and went to bed before 10pm with a massive sinus headache from the drill , ugh
I'll be looking for the tool and now with the name and what it's used for, my hubbie can help. Thanks so much for sharing
Wow, I'm REALLY interested in one of those hole punch sets as I do white's under the eyes of all of my bears!
Jane, do you think this is the same sort of thing?
This information is terrific, everyone.... thanks so much for sharing. A special thanks to Jane for pointing us to what looks like a terrific tool. I'll be looking for it myself as well. I can't cut perfect circles either! Every little bit helps...
Again, thanks all!
I as well use ultra suede in white....I use one of those old metal eye shanks from a safety eye for my circle in a larger size than the eye I am using....making a dash in one of the star shaped slots....draw around with a wide black permanent marker and cut out in the middle of the black line around, thus leaving the rim, and then I go around after and put black on the edges...let dry before touching though or you will end up covered in black marker, or worse your bear will!! then I just slit the dash, put the eye wire through and pull into an already sculpted socket, the white will go nice and flush when the eye is pulled into position....Hope this helps
Well, I treated myself to a gasket punch set and I have to say - it is ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!!!! I now have PERFECT round eye whites on my current bear (which I'll post a picture of tomorrow). I've NEVER managed to achieve such neat eye whites before and I do them on all of my bears...the punch set is a lifesaver! Thank you Jane for suggesting it. :hug: