File puptcrit/puptcrit.0612, message 331

To: <>, <>
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2006 21:17:50 -0500
Subject: [Puptcrit] Improving glass marble eyes

Hi all.
I am preparing a puppet head making class for tomorrow.
I needed some black glass eyes to offer more choices to my students, but had none on hand.

I did have clear playing marbles, and some flatter glass "pebbles".
I remembered that some cheaper glass doll eyes are made by painting behind them.
Sure, it looks great from the front, but loses blackness when seen in profile.
I remedied the situation by painting more of the surface than just a small spot behind, but with leaving most of the visible part of the eyes unpainted.

The eyes are previously cleaned with rubbing alcohol..
To make the job more sturdy, I used a shellac-based paint I made by mixing some waterbased shellac with some pigment dispersion of carbon black.
To make the paint job easier, I just placed the eyes on a piece of clay. This is probably one of the best steady holder of round shapes.

The effect is deeper and more black on the flatter glass pebble, but still interestingly "silver" on the spherical marble.

The eyes cannot hope to hold premanently onto the puppet or figurine's head by just some glue, since the paint would act as a resist. But that is no problem, since usually, I add eyelids around the eyes, and they cover enough surface to hold them in place forever (or until some monster tries to pry them off!).
Tip: to make eyelids, I use thin strong paper with a flexible glue, such as rice paper and white glue.
Extra tip:
for a wonderful "weathered cold steel" look, make sure you aply too much paint so that it runs to the other side, then wipe that other side with fingers to remove most but not all the black on the part that will be visible.
you will have stains and veins, making the eyes looks like living steel!

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