The 30mm eye size is used in many of my ride-on toys and faux taxidermy. It can be used on some of my plush toys. Perhaps you prefer a fabric eye to a plastic one for softness, added safety or simply because you like it better. Maybe you’re on a time crunch and the arrival of some plastic safety eyes ordered online will take too long. Whatever your reason…I’ve got you covered! Here you will find the tutorial on how to applique 30mm and 40mm round eyes. The free templates are available to download by clicking the button at the bottom of this page.
What you will need:
- Fabric Scraps for Eyes
- Iron-on Adhesive (I use Heat N Bond Light) or Spray Adhesive
- Iron (for Iron-on Adhesive)
- Light to Medium Interfacing (stabilizer)
Step 1: Trace the eye template pieces onto Heat n’ Bond Light (skip this step if using an adhesive spray). The backing and the eye shine pieces are optional. I will be showing you the eye with both these options.
Step 2: Iron the adhesive to the wrong side of the fabric you’d like to use for each layer of the eye. (if using the adhesive spray, spray each piece just before placing it on the fabric it will be sewn to)
Step 3: Most of my ride-on toys have a sewn in eyelid. As per each template/tutorial the eye is not marked on the templates so that you can place the eye properly after the eyelid has been sewn (to accommodate for differences in sewing). You will need to mark the eye placement before proceeding. If using a pattern that does not have the eye placement marked, mark it by placing the eyelid about 1/8 inch over the line marking for the eyelid slit. Then angle an awl or other straight object from the top corner of the eyelid to the center of the folded edge of the eyelid. Mark this location. If following my method below, you only need to mark the eye on one head side.
Step 4: Mark the center of the eye backing (or iris) by folding it in half then in half again and marking the folded point with a marking pen. This spot will be covered by the other layers of the eye and will help make sure you are placing the eye in the correct location.
Step 5: Place the eye backing on the fabric first (if using the backing, if not, start with the Iris). Iron this in place to activate the iron-on adhesive or use spray adhesive to temporarily secure this eye layer.
Step 6: To help make sure the eyes are placed evenly on each head side, place the corresponding eye layer on top of the one you just secured to the fabric with the adhesive side facing up.
Step 7: Place the opposite head side piece right sides together with the head side piece to which you have already secured the eye layer. Carefully line up the head sides and place the head side without an eye layer directly over the head side with the eye layer, right sides together. This will ensure that the eye layers are lined up to each other as well as correctly placed on both head sides. Iron over the wrong side of the fabric on the top head side piece over where the eye layer is placed to activate the adhesive and temporarily secure it in place. (alternatively, mark the placement and spray the back of the eye layer with spray on adhesive and temporarily secure in place). This procedure will be repeated with each layer. Be sure to iron after each layer to activate the adhesive as you go.
Step 8: Following the procedure above, place the iris layer on top of the eye backing layer.
Step 9: Following the procedure above, place the pupil layer on top of the iris layer.
Step 10: Following the procedure above, place the eye shine layer on top of the pupil layer in a location you find suitable to you. (optional)
Step 11: Place a light to medium interfacing/stabilizer on the wrong side of the fabric to support the eye area during applique. Applique each layer using a matching thread, or thread color you prefer.
Tip: You may opt to not use the eyelid method and template in the sewing pattern and tutorial you are following (the one that is sewn into the head side during the construction) and use a rounded eyelid which is hand sewn in place after the animal is stuffed.
The project I demonstrated this eye applique on is my Mustang Stick Horse. You can find it and other projects here.