The miniature eyes in this tutorial are made by shaping them from a standard, although very small, polymer clay cane. This is an easy first cane to make as it is round. To make the cane work well for eyes, it should be made from polymer clay which tends to stiffen when it is cool. Clays which stay soft will not hold their shape and may 'smudge' when cut. You should also consider if the colors of your clay darken when baked. You want to be able to mix realistic colors which will stay close to the color you have blended when baked in very small amounts. Finally, you want to make sure the polymer clay you choose does not easily 'bleed' into white. Some very soft polymer clays will leach some color from darker clays. You want your clay colors to stay sharply defined in the tiny amounts you will need to make sets of miniature eyes.
Method - the tiny canes for eyes are made from very thin layers of polymer clay or very thin rolls of clay. All rolls should be made as fine as you can work them at the start, and rolled with a piece of acrylic (a stamp support block) or a clear ruler, or in a pinch, the back of a clay blade. Using a stiff block to shape the rolls will allow you to work them very thin, yet keep them a uniform width, important for making matching eyes.
Color Blends You Will Need To Make Miniature Eyes From Polymer Clay
To make canes for miniature eyes, you will need white, translucent, black and your choice of iris color polymer clays. If you have some, a small amount of pearl colored clay works well for the iris's.
- Eyewhite Mixture - The eyewhites are blended from a mix of 2/3 translucent and 1/3 white clay. White clay has a tendency to crumble easily so make sure you mix it thoroughly.
- Pupils - The eye pupils are made from a very thin roll of pure black polymer clay.
- Iris - The colored section of the eye or iris, is made using a minimum of six very thin rolls of colored clay, three light rolls of the iris color you choose, and three medium toned rolls. The rolls are laid out alternately to make a very thin set of fine stripes. Pearl clay can be added to the light colored clay to give it a bit of a reflective shine, or you can add in a bit of Jacquard Mica Powder in a pearl tone. To make the colored rolls for the iris, the basic clay color for the mid tone, is combined half and half with translucent clay. The mid tone mix (including the translucent) is combined with pearl colored clay or white clay to make a noticeably lighter tone of the color.
- Outer Iris Ring - The outer ring of the eye is made with a very thin layer of mid iris color, to which a tiny bit of black has been added. This will make a dark highlight of the main iris color.
Tools You Will Need - Other tools and materials you will need will be:
- Tile, or foil pan - to bake the finished eyes on.
- Clay Blade or safety razor blade to cut sections of your clay cane
- Clay Shaper Tool - or rounded toothpick to blend the edges of the eyeball to shape.
- Gloss acrylic glaze - or tar gel or pva glue, to make a clear coating for the eyes after they are cured.