Saturday, January 26, 2013

Eyechips ahoy!

Hi everybody!
I've been preoccupied a bit lately, and now I've been enjoying painting eyechips again.  I also gave my girl, Amelia, a freshened faceup.  I want to paint some new front-facing chips for her, as well as some more chips for Cover Your Dolly, so I've been preparing some blank chips and thought I'd do a mini-tutorial for anyone who hasn't painted eyechips before.  It's SUPER basic, so if you've ever done it, it will seem obvious, but if not, hopefully it'll show you it's pretty easy to give it a try!

First, hello from a newly freshened-up Amelia!  (here she happens to be showing off some eyechips I made that I haven't been able to duplicate, and want to keep attempting as I think they're pretty cool).

Now, for the eyechip preparation.  It's seriously only 3 simple steps before you get to the fun creative part!

1.  Acquire clear eyechips and remove them from their packaging.  Also remove any foils that may have come with them.

2.  This is something that I do that not everyone does, but I am a bit obsessed with symmetry and smoothness when it comes to these babies.  I also don't want to take any chance of them not fitting perfectly into the doll's eye socket.  Each of the eyechips will have a little piece that is not smooth, where it has been separated in the factory.  In this picture, you can see it on the upper right edge of the eyechip:

Using a very sharp exacto knife (use with caution, at your own risk), I trim away the little piece of excess plastic.  I then use an extremely fine grit sanding sponge (3M makes some nice ones) to completely smooth the area, and a piece of cotton to buff it to its original shine.

3.  After rinsing off and carefully drying the now-smooth eyechip, I use artist-grade acrylic to paint the pupils of my eyechips (on the back side, of course). I allow the paint to dry completely, usually for several hours or even overnight as I prepare multiple pairs at once.  I find it easier and more convenient to paint the irises of the eyechips in various colors and designs once they've all been prepared in this simple way.  It's also very satisfying to begin the creative part in that they're all clean with the pupils painted and ready to go.

After this simple preparation, you can use your imagination, along with doll-safe paints and pigments (acrylics, watercolors, watercolor pencils, water/pastel combinations, etc.) to paint the irises of your eyechips.  After your design dries COMPLETELY, you can seal the backs with foils and/or a final solid layer of paint.  Keep in mind not to get TOO thick with your paint/foil combination:  if the eyechips aren't able to be flush in the eyesockets, they can interfere with the working of the Blythe's eye mechanism.

I hope you've enjoyed this super-mini tutorial, and aren't too disappointed that I leave the imaginative, creative part to YOU!

hugs and love,

p.s. If you want to see some of the handpainted eyechips I've created in the past, you can check out my flickr set here.