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Eye material and putty material preferences?

Jul 22, 2018

    1. I have read the wiki here and still don't have a clear idea of what the reasons for choosing different types of eyes and eye putty are. From what I have seen acrylic have the most realistic irises, what are benefits of going with acrylic, glass, urethane or silicone? For glass or acrylic, are silicone ear plugs a good putty?

      Basically I am looking for your personal preferences and reasons behind them.
      #1 zillx, Jul 22, 2018
      Last edited: Jul 22, 2018
    2. I try to avoid acrylic and silicone and stick to glass and urethane.
      Silicone is prone to getting dusty (plus I just don’t like the feeling of it) and that is doesn’t really have any shine to it. Acrylics also lack that shine/depth too, since it’s more plastic-y. They’re cheap to produce and find but every time I look at them in my doll it feels so lifeless, despite how realistic the eyes are. Eyes are windows to the soul, I’d like for my dolls to have that shine and depth you’d see in a person’s eyes.
    3. Good questions! :)

      Acrylic eyes are generally the cheapest, which can be a good reason alone to go with them. They offer both realistic and more highly stylized looks, including anime styles. However, they don't tend to catch the light and some think they look flat.

      Silicone eyes also don't have much shine, but their material makes it easier to potentially fit the eyes into oddly shaped eye wells. However, dust tends to cling to them, making them more of a pain to clean than other eye types. They offer realistic iris details as well.

      Glass eyes can run the gamut from being about the same price as the cheaper acrylic eyes to being fairly pricey. Some glass eyes lack any iris detail, but others will have detail/threading or fantasy designs. It all depends on what you're looking for! They offer a much better shine than acrylic and silicone.

      Urethane eyes are at the higher end, price wise, but can offer detail and depth while still retaining the shine that acrylic eyes can lack. Styles run from realistic to wildly stylized, such as Oscar Doll's glittery eyes. Urethane eyes are my personal favorite, but there are beautiful eyes out there offered in all four materials!

      As for the putty, I think silicone ear plugs should work fine so long as you don't use them with silicone eyes. For my dolls, I use Volks' eye putty. It's expensive compared to alternatives, but I've had better luck with it leaving less residue all over eyes backs and heads than I've had with blue sticky tack, which is what I used to use. Since it works, I've been sticking with it! :lol:
    4. @Mysstarry @shinibun Thanks! Looking at photos I can see the appeal of urethane eyes. I hadn't even looked at them before.
    5. These are perennial questions! Here are just two of the many threads discussing individual preferences in eyes:
      Eye Preferences
      What kind of eyes do you shop for?

      And four of the many threads discussing eye putty (this topic generally comes up in the Customization & Maintenance subforum):
      https://denofangels.com/threads/eye-putty-the-good-the-bad-the-ugly.1027/ (this thread is in the Customizing Thread Index sticky at the top of Customization & Maintenance)
      • x 1
    6. I will say that most of your knowledge and preference for the type of eyes you choose for your dolls will come down to your personal experience and preference. I am not an expert, but maybe some of my limited knowledge might help you.

      In terms of putty for eyes, I have used clear silicone ear plugs for both glass and acrylic. The silicone should not be used for polyurethane eyes because, from what I have heard, they damage the coating and it becomes difficult to remove. I really don't like the silicone because it is very annoying to remove from small crevices in the designs of the eyes, or the doll's eye sockets if I have to clean them before removing a faceup. A lot of people like the silicone earplugs though.

      Then you have the removable adhesive or poster tacky glue which is pretty awesome if it is the Faber Castell tack it brand. The white or the blue tack it reusable putty is not greasy and will not stain your doll. On other brands, I wouldn't know. The more the consistency of the tacky is similar to Play Doh (also the oily it is) the easiest it is to stain your doll.

      Finally, and my personal favorite is Dollmore's Fixing Sculpey because it is the easiest to remove and the fleshtone color is perfect if there are any gaps between the eye and the socket. It does harden a little more than the silicone and tack it adhesive, and I would not use it on acrylic eyes, but I can use this on my soft polyurethane eyes with no problems.

      As for the eyes:

      Acrylic eyes have a wide range of designs and are perhaps the most affordable on the market. Many companies send their dolls with a pair of acrylic eyes, but all the acrylic eyes I have owned have cracked. Glib Acrylic Eyes are perhaps the most popular and many dealers carry them. One drawback of acrylic eyes is that they don't photograph well with certain angles.

      Glass eyes are quite an art form and they have a high reflective surface. These type of eyes have many limitations. One is the design, although current designs are really awesome few are trully realistic. Another limitation comes from their fragility. They can break, chip, or cut you.

      Many eyes come in low dome (less round) and high dome (more round).

      Then, polyurethane eyes are what most would consider the best of both worlds. In polyurethane you have both different array of designs and a glossy surface that gives it quite a realistic look. Polyurethane can be almost similar to a hard plastic or it can be soft and flexible like rubber.

      Honestly, have fun and experiment with as many types of eyes as you can. It will help you find the material that works best for you.
      • x 1
    7. Eyes are pretty subjective. Silicone is personally my favorite; all of mine have a realistic shine, nor has dust ever been much of an issue, and my room is full of dust bunnies!

      For eye putty, I actually just use poster tack. Undyed white, of course; the more common blues and yellows will stain with ease. Has worked for years here.
    8. I used to use a lot of silicone earplugs as putty, but it leaves behind so much sticky residue that is difficult to clean! So I just use white poster tack now. I like how sometimes if there's gapping the white color can help fill it in even a bit
      • x 1
    9. Sounds good. Does tack ever react with or cause acrylic eyes to crack?
    10. Some people like the silicone earplugs and don't have any problems with it, but I know a few people besides myself who have had problems where they leave greasy oily residue that seeps into the eyes and gets all over. I no longer use silicone ear plugs because of this. I now use Faber Castell Tack It I think got it from Alice's Collections. It works really good on glass eyes. It should work on acryllic as well! It works okay with silicone eyes too, but is a little hard to get it to stick. It is blue so its possible that it could stain the inside of your dolls head, but I have been using this for almost 6 months and haven't noticed any stains yet. I really hope this helps!
    11. there some kind of UV eyes in my country, idk whether have this kind of material in yr country
    12. I use glass or urethane eyes almost exclusively these days (The only exceptions are the dolls that have gemstone spheres or beads as eyes-)

      I just don't like the way acrylics look, and I've had some very mixed luck with silicone eyes yellowing or otherwise aging poorly.

      To hold them in place, I use Mack's silicone earplugs. The silicone picks up lint and gets scrungy-looking a little more easily than I'd like, but it's a generally non-reactive material. I've never had it damage or stain either my dolls' resin or the eyes. I haven't noticed them getting sticky or degrading... nor have I had any trouble removing the material when I change eyes... But I do tend to replace them when they start getting dirty-looking, so replacing them about once a year may make a difference.
    13. I’ve seen lovely eyes in heaps of different materials so for me as long as they look nice I don’t mind what they’re made of :sweat as for putty I personally use blu-tac because I find eye puffy much too sticky!
    14. I like silicone soft glass eyes best, then glass but I haven’t ventured into resin eyes yet. I’m increasingly unsatisfied with acrylic for my realistic dolls due to size and proportion issues and they just don’t seem to catch the light as nicely. On dolls with bigger heads and large eyes, glass almost always looks very doll-like, which I prefer. I really like the way silicone eyes fit but I’m wary of them yellowing or degrading in clarity.
      For putty, I like white poster-tac, it holds up well in my climate, it is not ever gummy or greasy and it doesn’t get rock hard or break down.
    15. What exactly is “soft glass”? Is it always silicone? I just ordered some Eyeco eyes and I don’t know what’s best to use for putty.
    16. As far as I know, soft glass - squishy silicone. Poly Glass are hard. Mine are also eyeco soft glass and I’ve used white poster-tac to hold them since 2009 with no reactions or issues other than when it lets go from time to time causing the eyes to shift position so when that happens, I change it. I think that has happened maybe 3x?
    17. Ah I see, thanks, that's very helpful. I'm really looking forward to seeing the squishy silicone now.
    18. I'm all over the place with regards to eye material. I base my decision on what look I'm after for a particular character. I have acrylic, glass, resin and urethane eyes in various dolls along with one doll wearing real pearls and another wearing glass beads. I use silicone ear plugs as eye putty. I have putty from a couple of different companies that came with a doll as a freebie, but I find it too sticky/gummy and only use it in the most dire of circumstances (i.e. I don't have silicone plugs on hand but need to install eyes).

      Eyes are really subjective and what one person likes may leave another cold.
    19. In terms of putty, my favourite is actually blu-tak as it's the only one I've used that keeps its consistency and stays together well. I've tried other putty and an interesting silicone putty they both breakdown or don't come off as one piece when you try and remove it, whereas with blu-tak you can just kind of squish a piece in there and it'll pick up the smaller stragglers.
    20. For eye putty, I've been using Tack-it from Faber-Castell for about 10 years now. Easy to remove and doesn't stain the resin.

      I personally prefer glass eyes for its depth and clarity, although good quality ones are difficult to find and may be pricey. The urethane eyes I bought many years ago have yellowed and degraded in quality so I won't be investing in anymore of those.