Doll Anatomy 101 ~ Eyes


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The first thing that you generally notice about a doll's eyes are whether they are fixed or whether they are sleep eyes that open and close. Some people find it unnerving to have a doll who stays staringly awake, even when she's in her bed napping and only want dolls with sleep eyes. Other people find fixed eyes more realistic looking and are happy to buy their dolls sleep masks.

A doll who has fixed eyes can either have inset eyes, generally made of acrylic but sometimes of glass or crystal, or painted eyes. Inset eyes can have nice depth but painted eyes can have real artistry, especially hand-painted like some Sasha and Heidi Ott dolls. Eyes are difficult to replace so you need to make sure sleep-eye dolls don't get anything inside which might hurt the sleeping mechanism. Even if treated with care, acrylic eyes can sometimes develop "silver eye" which is a problem where the decal inside the eye separates from the front causing the eye color to fade to silver. (If you have an American Girl doll with this problem, their doll hospital will fix the problem free of charge since they know it is a factory defect.) You need to be careful with dolls that have inset acrylic eyes since these are known to fade and change colors. Himstedt dolls, for instance, can develop a startling pink eye if they are exposed to too much sunlight.

Some dolls are afflicted with "the stare". Painted eyes in particular can be done so that the eyes are too similar to each other and the look is not natural. There are several doll lovers who specialize in repaints who can help with this problem if you really like the doll in other ways.

A doll's lashes can either be painted on or applied. Applied lashes are like the fake eyelashes you can buy in drug stores. In fact, you can use these if you'd like to add character to your dolls. Tonner's 18" Ann Estelle looks particularly cute enhanced this way.

Eyes may not be windows into the soul for dolls but they can be windows into her character.

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Copyright 2004 Maria Greene All Rights Reserved

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This page was last updated 08/10/06