Eye types for BJDs

I had gotten into an interesting discussion on DoA about the different types of eyes available and peoples preferences and such which I thought might make for a good blog topic. A lot of this information might be common knowledge to someone who has been deep into the hobby for years, but I think it might be helpful for people just starting out or even for people who have had dolls for a while but never investigated the different types of eyes available.

So the first type of doll eye we have are glass eyes. There are a few of mine in the picture below. I have others but I wasn’t about to go removing eyes from my dolls or anything, lol. Glass eyes are naturally, made of glass, and by many doll owners are considered to be the best type of eye. Glass really reflects light the best and can really make an eye light up, but often they will be less realistic than acrylics, silicon and sometimes even resin. It also pays to keep in mind not all glass eyes are created equal. Cheap glass eyes are just that, cheap and often they cannot even rival a good quality acrylic eye.


The blurry set of eyes in the foreground of the pic above are Mint on Card eyes, which were a free gift. The flatback eyes are Miniworld, and the black and brown pair sitting on parts of the pink box are both Dollmore. The black eyes, which if you look closely are actually a very dark charcoal gray are really very good quality. Rather than being straight black, the deep charcoal will give a slight hint of depth in the eye. They are a bit tricky to photograph though as often they will appear just black. The other pair are special Dollmore eyes and are extremely pretty, they have great clarity and the brown glitter in the glass really makes the eyes sparkle. Both of the Dollmore eyes I consider good quality.


Now on to the lesser quality eyes. Above is a cheap pair of glass eyes from Miniworld. Inside them there is a dotty print in a low lpi of an iris. Of course it has all the transparency and glossiness of glass eyes, but because the iris is some sort of print, it does not really refract the light.


This next set of eyes are from Mint on Card, they are just their basic glass eyes that they sell. These were a freebie so I shouldn’t be too hard on them, but on the other hand, buyers should be informed. These eyes are not as bad as the Miniworld ones, they are all glass and they light up quite nice under the right conditions, BUT they are certainly a very goofy color of blue and the threading which you can just barely see in this shot is irregular. They also seem to like to cast their blue color into the whites of the eye at places as well. If you compare these eyes with the Dollmore eyes, there is no comparison, Dollmore wins.


Next up are silicon eyes, this pair in specific is eyeco A113 I belive. The benefits of silicon eyes are they they are rubbery and therefore can bend and be pushed quite flush in the eye wells of a doll. Their irises are basically a print encased in clear silicon. Because they are a print they can be as detailed and as real looking as a human iris. However because they are a print, they can’t refract light, all sense of light from a printed silicon eye comes from the high contrast of light against dark in the print itself. Another drawback of silicon eyes are that because they are rubbery they can collect dust easily and may need to be wiped with a damp cloth periodically. Overall I do like silicon eyes, you can get some really nice variations of irises and if you have a doll with an odd or irregular eye well it’s easy to squish the eyes in there so you no longer have any hollow spaces around the eyes. I haven’t tried any other silicon eyes besides eyeco though, however people do seem to praise Soom eyes as well.


So now draw your attention to the pair of eyes in the middle of the shot above. Those are acrylic eyes and this particular pair happens to be my default unoa eyes in a dark blue. This isn’t my best pair of acrylic eyes sadly and they are just dark and don’t offer much reflection at all. If you want to see a better pair of acrylic eyes then have a look at my Lusis here: http://www.genkigirl.com/dollyblog/?p=1168 Her current pair of acrylic eyes can light up a little bit similar to glass, but not nearly as well as glass. So, acrylic eyes usually also rely on a print of an iris that is set under plastic. Occasionally you can also find hand painted irises, but those are kind of rare. Another benefit of acrylic eyes are because it’s a print, many different types of eyes such as cat eyes or fantasy eyes with symbols embedded in them can be done.


As with glass eyes, acrylic eyes can be good or bad quality. In the above pic you can see the worst quality acrylic eyes I have which came standard with my AE Yara. They are little hollow flatbacks in an odd shape that you can really play with to angle up, down or side to side because usually you wind up seeing the side of the eye and having a gap. On top of this the iris section of the eye is a completely different plastic part and there is a visible seam between the iris and white of the eye. The print of the iris isn’t anything to write home about either.

The last type of eye I will talk about are resin eyes. I do not have any resin eyes yet, but I do know that they are the best at imitating the reflective qualities of glass. Their only drawback is that like your dolls, they can yellow over time, that and they are often very expensive. Enchanted Doll sells eyes for $50 a pair, but they are definitely beautiful and something I might like to own one day.


So, in the end basically remember this….you get what you pay for…If you buy a cheap pair of eyes, that’s what you are often getting, something cheap. A really great pair of eyes can make a big difference in the way you doll looks and is photographed.

Here’s a quick list of the eyes in this post: Miniworld glass flatback, Mint on Card glass eyes, Dollmore glass eyes in Y03 (black), Dollmore Special glass eyes ET27 (brown), Asleep Eidolon acrylic, Unoa default acrylic, eyeco silicon A113. I will also be posting the “group shot” of eyes on my flickr and annotating them.

New YOSD items in my Etsy shop!

I just updated my etsy shop with two new YoSD sized items. You can now get the off-shoulder pink elephant raglan in YoSD size and I introduce to you “Rabby Pillows”! Rabby pillows are cute rabbit shaped pillows for your YoSD kids to cuddle up to at night. Sadly though I think I may have lost my pattern for the Rabby pillows, so these two will be the last ever (TAT). With that said, if you like them be sure to snap them up! They are available in pink with red trim or purple with pink trim. Please enjoy the preview photos belos or check them out in my etsy shop! On a side note you can access my store through the sidebar banner as well. 😉


Experiment Light Diffuser.

I’ve seen a lot of neat little tutorials where people with smaller 1/6th scale dolls have made little light box diffusers to photograph their dolls in with a nice soft looking studio light. The only problem is that if you have anything larger than a YOSD or a Blythe you may find it difficult to create a light box big enough. On top of that if you wanted to photograph a room box with your dolls that also presents a problem. So I thought to myself, why can’t I just make some diffusers to use when I make a set for my MSD girls? And then I decided I would try it. 😉


So I started with a box, in this case it was a lamp box my mother saved for me after she bought this lamp at Ikea. I feel like I’m advertising for them now or something, lol. Anyway….

I slit the box down two corners, and this would be two corners diagonal from each other so in the end you wind up with two triangles of box and some bits of attached lids and bases.


After securing the box with some tape on the base so it will keep it’s triangle shape and won’t move on me, I decided the orignal lamp box opening wasn’t big enough and I decided to cut out a large rectangle of cardboard being sure to leave a good 2-3 inches around the outside.

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the next step, but after you cut your window holes in the boxes you will want to tape a thin paper or tissue to the inside of the box, covering the window hole. The paper/tissue is going to be the part that acts as your diffuser, the rest is there for support.


So here are my diffusers in action. You can see how I taped the paper to the windows, and basically I set clamp lamps inside. If you want to angle your lamps in a specific direction, you can put a heavy object like an art history book on the base for support and clamp your lamp to the side or top of the box. I imagine with a little work you could probably even figure out how to hang the box around a lamp that is higher up in the air, but I didn’t try anything like that.


Annnnnd here is a test shot I took using the diffusers. In the end I applied a cooling filter to the image because these shots wanted to come out orange which kind of told me they were a bit under exposed, however I was using a low watt incandescent so there’s that too. Since I only have the kit lens on my camera I’m going to have to either add more lighting or get a new lens with a larger aperture setting. As it is, these were all shot at 1/60th at f3.5 which is the most my len’s aperture can open.

Anyway you can judge for yourself if you’d find something like this useful for your doll photography. For me the verdict is still out on these boxes. I am going to try working with them again when I plan to photograph my sewing projects and then make my decision. I might also use a more powerful light with more of a cool cast as well. If I come up with anything new I’ll be sure to blog about it!

La Dee Da Repaint!

Here’s my first attempt at a repaint of a La Dee Da doll. I confess my paint wasn’t thin enough this time as I was in such an all fired hurry…for what I don’t know. Anyhow you can’t tell from the picture, but if you look at her up close in person you can see my tiny brushstrokes and that makes me sad. TAT It’s exceptionally sad because I think those eyebrows are some of the best I’ve ever done on a doll. Anyhow she’s going to stay this way for a while until I can find the time to wipe down her face and try over again. She still looks pretty cute though despite her flaws, so overall it was a good practice I think. 🙂

Petworks Usagii Doll

I don’t know how long these have been on the market, but I just found them this evening and I think they are absolutely adorable! I love their simple design, and their clothes are darned cute too. Their only downfall is that they are $148 at Mimiwoo, and as adorable as all of the Petworks dolls are, they just seem a little too expensive from something made from plastic and without all the joints of a BJD or obitsu. Still though, I could foresee that if I had more disposable income I would probably be very tempted to buy the Petworks dolls. The January Nikki is a black and white cat in New Years Kimono that looks like my own cat too.

EDIT: OK, so I decided to hunt down the official Japanese Petworks site and they list the Usagii doll as costing 3,900 yen which is roughly $47 USD, so why the heck is the mark-up so dang high for these dolls? I mean really $148 is gouging. I think it’s time to see what can be found via Japanese hobby shops online. I just don’t understand it really, because Mimiwoo is fair on all other prices, especially Blythe. 😕

EDIT2: Found a seller in Japan for a variety of dolly things. Usagii is sold out though, but it could prove to be a useful site in the future. http://biccoltd.ocnk.net/