How to Apply Safety Eyes

When it comes to eyes on your soft toy project, you have some options.  You can make them from fabric, use buttons, or use a variety of glass or plastic eyes.  Here I will show you how to use the safety bolt eyes, which have the shank attached to the flat back of the eye and a washer which secures it in place.

This step must be done prior the project being stuffed and closed.

 

What You Will Need:

  • – A Pair of Safety Bolt Eyes
  • – An Awl or Scissors (made for snipping with the tip of the blades)

First, let’s get familiar with the safety eyes.  Each eye has a shank attached to the flat back of the eye.  This shank usually has ridges on it to help secure the washer, some don’t have ridges but the accompanying washer has grip to hold onto the shank.

Do not push the washer onto the shank of the eye until the eye is in place in the fabric and you’re ready to secure it.  Once the washer is in place, it can be pried off with pliers but then the washer is no longer usable in most cases.

As you can see in this picture, and the pictures above with the washer on the shank, one side of the shank is flat and the plastic ones have little nubs to grip the fabric between the eye and washer.  the other side of the washer is raised in the center with prongs to grip the shank.  When you place the washer on the shank, it is crucial for secure function to make sure the flat side is placed against the flat back of the eye and the raised side is faced away from the eye.

I will show you two methods of placing the safety eyes into fabric.  Before I had an awl, I simply used scissors.  While I prefer the awl, the scissor method is just as effective.  The method using the awl, is the ‘awl method’ and the method using the scissors I call the ‘cross cut’ or ‘+’ method.

Awl Method - Create the Hole

An awl is a tool that has a sharp tapered point and a handle.

Step 1: Mark your eye placement with a marker or pen.

Step 2: Press the sharp tip of the awl into the fabric at the point marked and push through to widen the hole. Remove the awl.

Cross-Cut Method - Create the Hole

Step 1: Mark your eye placement with a marker or pen.

Step 2: Fold the fabric at the approximate center of your marking and snip to create a small slit in the fabric (snip small…you can always make it bigger if needed, but obviously if you snip to big, then it won’t work)

Step 3: Unfold the fabric and fold it perpendicular to the previous fold across the approximate center of the marking and snip a small slit in the fabric.  You should have effectively made a small + in the fabric over the location marked for the eye.

Place and Secure the Eye

Step 1: Push the shank of the eye through the hole in the fabric, toward the inside of the project.

Step 2: From the inside of your project, place the washer over the shank as described above.  Push tight to secure so that the washer is firmly seated against the fabric and flat back of the eye.

That’s it! Your eyes are now secure and you’re ready to move on to the next step of your project.

Need a project?  Find many deceptively easy ones in my shop!

Here’s a great image for Pinterest!  Pin now and save this for later.