How To Set Eyes In Your Reborn Doll
When you're busy painting and adding all the subtle details that brings a reborn doll together, it's easy to overlook the importance of the eyes. In fact, a lot of beginners mistakenly leave the factory eyes in their vinyl doll during reborning. While it may not seem like that much of an issue, using cheap factory-made eyes will negate all of the hard work you invested into your reborn doll, which is why you should change them. Purchasing and setting new eyes in your doll will make your reborn look more realistic and less like a traditional toy doll; here's how you do it:
Where To Buy Reborn Doll Eyes
Unless you're experienced with reborning and have successfully made some dolls in the past, you might be wondering just where in the world you're supposed to purchase reborn doll eyes; after all, it's not like there are a lot of stores and shops dedicated to the hobby, so where do you find them? Our website, RebornDollMart.com, connects new and experienced reborners to one of the largest marketplaces of dolls and doll parts for sale. If you're looking for reborn doll eyes, we recommend first checking out our page dedicated to eyes. Here you'll find dozens of reborn eyes varying in color, material and size. Alternatively, you can also look for a reborn doll kit, as many of them eyes included.
The fact of the matter is that you don't necessarily have to use eyes designed specifically for reborn dolls. If you come across some high-quality, realistic glass eyes that are sized to fit your doll, you can use them as well. You can usually find some suitable eyes to use on reborn dolls on craft and hobby stores, so be on the lookout the next time you visit these places.
Removing Factory Eyes
Once you've found the eyes you want to use, you'll need to remove your doll's original factory eyes. There are a couple different ways to go about doing this, but it's usually best to try to gently pry out them out using a dull butter knife. Just wedge it directly underneath the eye, press it into the socket as far as it will go and push down. This should allow you to pop the eye out of the socket. If this method doesn't work, you may need to physically cut the plastic piece behind the eye. In this case, take a box-cutter or X-Acto knife to the area directly behind the eye. Just be sure not to cut any of the area are the socket, as your new eyes may not fit. After you've removed one of the eyes, follow the same steps for the other.
Setting New Reborn Doll Eyes
With the old eyes removed, it's now time to start adding the new ones. Generally, most dolls have sockets designed to fit half-round eyes, which is why reborn eyes are usually found in this shape. If you have a pair of eyes that are full-round, you'll need to either cut them in half or purchase a different pair. Some experienced reborners may be able to modify their doll's eye sockets, but this isn't recommended for beginners.
Before you start, it's important to note that you should only try to set eyes which are designed to precisely fit your reborn doll. Trying to squeeze eyes that are larger than the doll's sockets simply won't work; and if you do in fact force them in, your doll's facial features will look distorted. Because of this, you should measure your dolls current eyes beforehand to see what size you need to purchase. Typically, you'll find reborn doll eyes made anywhere between 14mm-24mm.
When you're ready to place new eyes in your reborn doll, sit down at a comfortable area and gently press them into the socket. Depending on how stiff your doll is, this may or may not be an easy process. If the eyes aren't fitting into the socket, you can try heating the doll up in a convection oven for about 7-8 minutes, as this will help soften the vinyl. When you take your doll out of the oven, immediately place the new eyes in before the vinyl cools and hardens again. Congratulations! You've just set new eyes in doll, placing you one step closer to having a high-quality reborn.