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How DO you make those Animal Costumes? (Fursuits)
Plastic bowl eyes tutorial 
30th-Aug-2005 10:39 pm
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I was asked by diadexxus to complete a tutorial for plastic bowl eyes, since they are something you guys would like to use in the construction of your heads. :) I've taken pictures of each step involved and described what each part entails. Feel free to ask any questions if anything is unclear.

1. Draw out a template on paper of how you would like the eyes to look once finished. I usually color my templates and hold them up to the head to make sure they are the correct size and desired shape. You will often make several test sets of eyes before a pair really appeals to you and suits the head.

2. Cut out the pupil. You will need the template in order to make the actual plastic bowl eyes.

3. Trace the template onto the plastic bowl with a marker. I prefer to use sharpies, but any marker will do as long as it marks the bowl so you can see where to cut.

4. After you have traced a pair of eyes onto the plastic bowl, cut the eyes out with scissors. (Generally the sharper the better.) Be careful especially when cutting out the area for the pupil/iris, being steady and taking your time is a must.

5. If the edges of the eye are not smooth after cutting, a dremel can be used to remedy this.

6. Secure a mesh material to the pupil area. I prefer to use buckrum, which is always white in color and must be painted. Chiffon is another option that works well and doesn't require paint.

7. If you used buckrum, you now must paint the eyes. Fabric paint pens work the best for this. You're now ready to install the eyes into the head.

8. Once the eyes have been put into the head, eyelids and brows help give character to the head. Experiment with the shapes of the lids/brows.
31st-Aug-2005 03:09 am (UTC)
That is such a great help. Thanks for posting!
31st-Aug-2005 03:27 am (UTC)
Perfect :D thanks
31st-Aug-2005 03:32 am (UTC)
Thanks for the tutorial, Lacy. :) Just a few questions though:

1. How well would a Dremel rotary tool work for cutting out the eyes/pupils? Any pros/cons?
2. Any chance of trying to get some pics of the insides of heads to see how the eyes are attached? Or is this too difficult?
3. Is there any specific diameter/curvature of bowl that should be used for making the eyes from?
4. How is the buckram/chiffon/etc. attached? Hot glue? Other method?

Sorry to ask so many questions. I'm just a curious husky. *blushes*
31st-Aug-2005 04:28 am (UTC)
I tried to use a Dremel to sand the edges of some eyes I had made out plastic. It didn't work very well at all. However as far as I understand their "Multipurpose Cutter" works on plastics (I don't have this bit so I haven't tried it), though I'm not sure if you could get a nice smooth cut with it or not, as it's pretty hard to keep a plastic eye steady.

I gave up on the Dremel and stuck with scissors. :P
31st-Aug-2005 04:50 pm (UTC)
I used a sanding drum, It was about a 100 grit. Using a VERT light touch I rounded off the inside and outside of the edges.

A veriable speed foot peddle helps too. :)
1st-Sep-2005 01:47 am (UTC)
You're welcome. :)

1. I'm sure it could work, but I prefer to use plain old scissors the best. Lots of control this way, but if you're good with a dremel just experiment and see how it goes.

2. Probably wouldn't be much to see. The eyes go on after furring, not before, so you would most just see the eyes from the back.

3. Nope, nothing specific, I use all the sterlite bowl sizes, the small ones to the larger ones work just fine. You'll get more curvature out of the smaller bowls, but the shape is very natural either way. :)

4. Hot glue works great, but other adhesives could work as well if you prefer another glue.
31st-Aug-2005 04:08 am (UTC)
THANKS SO MUCH! are you gonna put this on your site? this is PERRRFECT.
1st-Sep-2005 01:44 am (UTC)
I will be adding a section for tutorials really soon. :)
31st-Aug-2005 06:12 am (UTC)
To make it even EASIER, you can heat the bowl up with a hair dryer, heat gun,or even hot water. It softens the plastic so you can cut it with scissors.

Thanks again!!!
2nd-Sep-2005 05:58 am (UTC)
Careful with the heat, though, as that can warp plastic(ruined a mask this way). Very light heat only.
5th-Sep-2005 01:17 am (UTC)
well of course, only enough to soften it up. Be careful not to touch the heated plastic as it stays hot for quite some time.

31st-Aug-2005 12:30 pm (UTC)
And for smoothing edges, I'd like to add that, while it may take a little longer, one thing that works is a sharp X-acto blade. You can trim down the edges so they are smooth, but it takes time and patience. Easy enough to do if you have a steady hand and can eyeball things pretty well.

Good tutorial though!! Thank you for posting this!
31st-Aug-2005 12:32 pm (UTC)
One other question I forgot to ask was: Is it easier/better to make and attach the eyes before the head is furred or after the head is furred? I've heard of furs who use both ways.
31st-Aug-2005 04:03 pm (UTC)
I've seen a few people do the 'after' approach and it looked like the eyes were 'stuck on' the body. I tend to lean toward 'before' but it really depends on how carefully you fur the head and how messy you are with the glue and such.
31st-Aug-2005 06:31 pm (UTC)
i prefer to add the eyes after the head is furred. with eyelids and brows added, the eyes dont look 'stuck on' at all. to me, furring ater you add the eyes makes the eyes look a bit buried, small, or squinty. just a personal preference.
1st-Sep-2005 01:44 am (UTC)
I prefer to add mine after furring if doing them in this style. Plastic bowl method really doesn't work any other way and still appear correctly.
1st-Sep-2005 06:03 am (UTC)
When working on heads, I like to make the eyes first, but attach them last, and keep 'em around as a reference(Heads look kinda funky without eyes in 'em).
31st-Aug-2005 05:01 pm (UTC)
For eyes that don't come in contact with the edges, like the eyes for my current suit, I used the reaming tool to get a large enough rough hole inside the outline for the pupil so I could get the sanding drum inside After that I used the sanding drum to enlarge the pupil hole to where I wanted it.
Here's a picture that shows the pupil not coming in contact with the edge of the eye.
1st-Sep-2005 04:40 am (UTC)
I'd like to know where you find your plastic bowls. I've looked everywhere!! And I'd like to have those eyes for my berner suit (almost done). Any online suppliers or is someone willing to pick me up a few and I'll pay for shipping? Thankies!
1st-Sep-2005 02:23 pm (UTC)
I purchase my sterlite bowls online, I don't have the url handy, but if you search around you might find it. (My main comp completely died on me the other day, lost most of my saved links, meh.) I'll let you know what it is soon as I locate the link again.
5th-Sep-2005 01:26 am (UTC)
I got mine at Target just last week. A set of four, for $5. They are made by Sterilite. They are the thin four piece white or blue lids. (make sure you do not grab the single thick/shiney plastic bowls, those wont cut!)

They should look something like this: The Bowl Set
5th-Sep-2005 01:17 am (UTC)
for #6, the Mesh material that is used it commonly Buckram, right?
You can find Buckram at Hancock fabrics for only $2/yard!

5th-Sep-2005 01:55 am (UTC)
Yes, I definitely prefer buckrum above other options, since it can be painted any colors you want. :) And it's cheap, as you pointed out!
21st-Mar-2006 12:35 am (UTC)
This is by far the best tutorial for this I've seen yet!
7th-Apr-2011 05:59 pm (UTC)
It certainly is!
28th-Dec-2009 10:17 pm (UTC)
omg thankyou for posting this. it helped a ton!
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