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I have a sock puppet, and I would like to give it some good looking puppet eyes. It doesn't need to be any specific material or shape, but I do want it to:

  1. be capable of good eye focus and
  2. be somewhat bulbous, not just a flat circle.

Things like googly eyes don't maintain good focus and are very flat. Premade eyes tend to have the pupil directly in the center, giving them poor close range focus.

How can I make well focused and bulbous eyes for my sock puppet?

enter image description here

for example, the muppets tend to have eyes that aren't flat and focus on you

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After searching around a bunch, here is what I've found:

  • A good place to start looking for ideas is the the muppets wiki. There is a ton of inspiration to be had

  • For the muppets, a very common eye is

    In the early years, many Muppet eyes were made from "Wacky Stacks," a toy that consisted of a series of spheres of different sizes. Each sphere came apart into two hemispheres...

    Because these eyes are no longer sold, an alternative is to buy half round wooden beads and spray paint them white

  • Another very common eye is ping pong balls. These can be cut down a bit if you want them to look embedded into the head. For a cheaper alternative, styrofoam balls can be used.

  • Plastic spoons can be cut into small bulbous eyes.

  • For all eyes, the most important part of focus is pupil location. I used a hole punch on one-sided sticky velvet to get pupils. I then stuck them onto needles, and used the needles to position them. This video shows how: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWcHUzXKmiM

    • In the muppets universe, small pupils denote being older and large pupils are for younger

I still haven't found a good way to make non-spherical eyes. It seems like the kind of thing that might require a mold and some clay.

enter image description here

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    For non-spherical eyes, I've seen wooden beads in an egg shape of roughly the right size. You could cut them in half to get taller or wider equivalents to your wooden half spheres
    – Chris H
    Sep 8, 2023 at 6:11

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