Everything You Need to Know About Amigurumi Eyes
When you think of amigurumi eyes, safety eyes probably come to mind, right? But did you know that there’s a bunch of different options for creating beautiful eyes on your amigurumi? Safety eyes are great, but they don’t always work for every project. In this article we’re covering everything you need to know about amigurumi eyes so you can create awesome custom faces for any toy!
Everything You Need to Know About Amigurumi Eyes
Let’s start with safety eyes because they’re the most common. You can get safety eyes from your local craft store or chains like Michael’s and Joann Fabrics for pretty inexpensive. They’ll usually come in small sets with a few different sizes (measured in millimeters) and they’ll either be solid black or with a colored iris.
However, there’s a TON of custom safety eyes out there. One fantastic place to get a bunch of unique safety eyes in bulk is Glass Eyes Online over on Etsy. For example, maybe you’re making a dragon and want some reptilian eyes, their shop is a great place to look!
Another common platform to get safety eyes in bulk is on Amazon.com, BUT be sure to thoroughly check the listing. Unfortunately many of these cheaper bulk sets are lower quality so if you see reviews saying that the backs are flimsy or the posts break easily, maybe pass that set up.
There’s also a lot of sellers out there creating beautiful hand-painted safety eyes like my personal favorite: Darkside Crochet.
Honestly there’s a lot to talk about when it comes to safety eyes including the many, MANY different kinds, customization options and more. But we’ll take a deep dive on that topic a bit later.
That being said, safety eyes aren’t always the right fit for a project. The most common reason to avoid using them is that despite the name, they aren’t necessarily safe. These eyes can present a choking hazard with young children as the backs are not always very secure. So if you’re making a gift for a young child, it’s always better to use one of the methods below over safety eyes.
This option was something I had actually never considered until I bought a pattern from Projectarian. (If you’ve never tried one of her patterns, I highly recommend it!) She creates beautiful crocheted eyes for nearly every single pattern and they range from simple to very elaborate.
Essentially, crocheted eyes are created like appliques. You make a flat circle and then use various stitches to embellish them. Or you could keep things simple and use some yarn to embroider the details onto your flat circle. Then, once you’re done, you pin the eyes in place and sew them to your amigurumi.
This is a fantastic option if you don’t have any safety eyes on hand (or can’t use them) and they make your amigurumi look even more animated! No extra supplies required–just a hook, some yarn and a needle!
If you want to practice making some crocheted eyes, check out this fantastic video from Tanya Naser of HodgePodge Crochet over on YouTube.
I’ll be the first to admit embroidery isn’t my favorite method simply because I find it very fiddly, BUT it IS an important skill to know. With embroidery you can create everything from simple line-style eyes to elaborate realistic eyes.
Embroidery thread works best for this method if your project is made out of any yarn that is a worsted weight or smaller. If you used a bulky weight yarn, thinner yarn will be your best bet for embroidering details.
If you’re totally new to using embroidery, I recommend checking out this easy video tutorial from ToyGurumi on YouTube. Like everything, embroidery takes a lot of practice and as you make more and more projects you’ll soon find out which methods you like best.
Felt Eyes & Needle Felting
When it comes to felt eyes, I don’t have any personal experience using them, so asked my friend Lea of Kouzi Krafts for her advice. She uses a lot of felt eyes and mouths on her amigurumi that she sells at craft shows.
Here’s an example of some felt eyes from HandmadeByStigz over on Etsy.
Lea says she specifically buys felt pieces that have heat bond on them and then uses a high heat hot glue gun to adhere them to her stuffed animals. They hold up well to play and she’s even washed her amigurumi (on delicate and low/no heat for drying) and the eyes stay in place really well!
These kinds of eyes are super graphic and work great for bigger amigurumi made with plush yarns. So if you’re taking on a big project made with blanket yarn, these might be your best option.
If you’re unfamiliar with needle felting, it involves taking tuffs of wool roving and poking that wool into shape using a special felting needle. In the context of amigurumi, you can needle felt on top of a crocheted shape to create surface designs like eyes.
This method of creating eyes is one of my favorites because it’s super flexible. You can design the eyes in whatever style you want and the wool is pretty forgiving. It pulls out fairly easily if you make a mistake. Plus there’s just something therapeutic about repeatedly poking a needle into your piece to create a design (or maybe that’s just me, haha).
Check out this article to learn more about getting started and how to needle felt on amigurumi for beginners! Or you could dive in and practice your felting skills with my free Sia the Strawberry Squid pattern.
We’ve been through 5 different types of amigurumi eyes so far, but what if you want to take it a step further? Maybe you want to add eyelids, eyelashes or other details?
Then it’s time to mix things up! For example, you can use safety eyes and then embellish them with a little embroidery.
In the image above, I was testing Yara the Yeti for Kouzi Krafts and I decided to add a white line of embroidery to mimic the sclera and then I added a few embroidered lines to create the eyelids. This gives the little Yeti a shy look and the expression is much more active than if I had left the safety eyes alone.
Another way to mix is with needle felting and embroidery. In the image below, I needle felted the eyes onto the Pumpkin Lady from Crochet Wizzard and then added a line of black embroidery thread to create eyelashes.
The point is, there’s endless possibilities when it comes to creating the perfect eyes for your amigurumi! So don’t be afraid to mix types, try new combos and find the variations that work best for you and your style!
Which types of eyes do you prefer to use on your amigurumi? Did you see any new ones that you would like to try? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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Have a wonderful day and happy stitching!