How to turn your Wilde Imagination and Tonner Dolls into  changeable eye dolls 

Instructions for inset eye dolls 

Banner Image, Ellowyne "Seriously Dressed" portrait repaint epaint with 12mm Glib eyes and applied lashes.  

I removed my detailed instructions for converting painted eye dolls into inset eye dolls because of the difficulty encountered by some who have tried this on their own. If you wish to try you are best to experiment with a couple dolls and find out what techniques work best for you.  

Converting your inset eye doll into a changeable eye doll is a much more straightforward process and good place to begin. 

Please proceed with caution.  You will be working with sharp tools and run the risk of cutting yourself and damaging your doll.  Proceed at your own risk.


 My preferred cutting tool is an X-acto knife size #1, with  size #11 blades.  Clean the blade with alcohol before using to remove any oil. Make sure you are always working with a sharp blade to get a clean cut.  A surgical scalpel may be used.

Before you begin check if your doll's lashes are attached to her eyes.  If they are, you will need to remove them by gently tugging along the lash thread. Have replacement lashes available (Denver Doll Emporium is a good source of replacement lash strips) just in case they get damaged. Many Evangeline Ghastly dolls coming from the factory have lashes glued to the eyes. Replacing Lashes: Use water soluble tacky glue.  Apply a small amount to either the edge of the lash or to the doll's eyelids. I find it helpful to use toothpicks for picking up small drops of glue and for positioning the lashes.

Open the pate:  If your doll is a wigged doll, this is straight forward. Simply cut a pate under the area that will be covered by the wig, forming a notch on either side of the head to hold the pate in place.  Moleskin strips may be added to finish off the cut edges nicely and help hold wigs in place.

Warming the vinyl will help make cutting the vinyl easier, however, heat will distort the vinyl.  The vinyl returns to it's original shape on cooling. To get the pate to fit well, rewarm the head and the pate, fit them together and tape around the cut edge before they cool.  They will retain the new shape that way (until reheated).

Open the back of the eye pocket:

In the below photo one factory eye has been removed by carefully cutting around the inside edge of the eye pocket leaving a bit of a lip to help hold the new eyes. New eyes that are the same size as the factory installed eyes will then pop into place.  You may remove more of the eye pocket and use eye putty or a substitute like soft silicone earplugs to secure the eyes.  When cutting take it slowly and take care not to cut into the dolls face.

 

 

The new eyes may simply be popped into position.

 

Same 12mm Glib eye on right, showing range of movement.

The same method will work for inset eye Tonner dolls like Patsy.

Factory eye sizes:

Ellowyne, Prudence: 12mm

Amber: 14mm

Evangeline Ghastly: 12mm

Patsy: 14mm

Above you can see one factory eye removed and the second almost ready to be removed.

I removed the vinyl of the eye pocket in two stages, first cutting a smaller circle from the center so I could see what was happening, followed by cutting just inside the outer upper edge of the eye pocket.  Be very careful near the outer sides of the eye pockets which are very close to the face.  I made sure to position the blade to cut away from the sides of the face just in case the blade slipped. 

Above, you can see the clear acrylic outer part of the eye.  A bit of vinyl still needs to be removed where it is still overlapping the clear acrylic.  Once you can see the acrylic all around the eye, gentle pressure from a cotton swab will pop out the eye. 

A couple comments on eye sizes for the inset eye dolls.  Since the eye pocket is already preformed, you are limited to using the factory size and one size under.  Two sizes under factory size left gaps showing.  Using the same size as the factory eyes you have a limited ability to position the eye... enough movement is possible to get a good alignment and certainly enough to correct the 'wonky-eye syndrome' of some factory eye dolls.  To get the side glancing eyes, however, you must drop down a size to allow sufficient movement and then hold the eye in place with eye putty or hot glue.  

 

 

 

 

14mm Pabol (Factory eye) left, 12mm Glib eye right