Our friend Pia creates beautiful animal sculptures that are even more life-like because she hand-paints their glass eyes.
She very generously agreed to take photos while creating eyes for a new Tiger sculpture she’s working on so we could see how they’re made.
I’m very excited about Pia’s tutorial. In fact, I’ll be following her instructions to make eyes for my next sculpture. They look fantastic – and they cost much less than taxidermy eyes.
Thanks, Pia, for sharing your secrets!
How to paint glass eyes for animal sculptures.
© 2019 Pia Blackwell
The eyes are painted on half-round glass cabochons. I order them from amazon. The paint I used are acrylics. You can also use nail polish – especially if you want glitter eyes.
Let it dry and add your first layer of paint.
Here I am attempting to make eyes for my tiger head bust. I wanted some green in it. Paint your second color it will show through the first layer.
This is how the green looks on the back of the cabachon:
This is the green showing through when seen from the front:
I use my craft knife to make fine lines by scratching the paint surface. Be careful not to scratch pupil or the rim.
Paint the second color again, on the back.
Turn the eye over – you can see the second color showing through the fine lines made by the craft knife.
The green on my eyes was a little too much and too bright in places. I corrected it by scraping those spots off and reapplying base color.
When the scratches were re-done and the green re-applied, the eyes look like this:
My daughter gave me very good advice one night as I was struggling doing my eyes for the gorilla bust: “Eyes are sisters not twins.”
She is so right and now I don’t worry about making both eyes identical.
The paint on glass is very fragile, so I tape a piece of masking tape as a backing to protect it before I place the eyes on the sculpture.
In the photo below, the eyes have been added to the Tiger sculpture, which which is not yet finished.