The “magic triangle” is what is known in the puppet world as the perfect placement of the eyes in relationship to the puppet nose and mouth hence why having a great set of puppet eyes is important. During the early days of the Muppet Studios chief architect, Don Sahlin, was the one who placed the eyes on the puppets. Jim Henson talked about this process, “It would be the last thing [Sahlin] would do, and he always wanted me there, to make sure it was right for both of us — making sure the eyes had a point of focus, because without that you had no character.”
Let’s delve into how to make your own puppet eyes.
Blank puppet eyes
Felt or fur material (you pick your colors)
Felt dots or black magic marker
Hot glue gun
Flat spray paint (optional)
After purchasing your puppet eyes, whether it is dome, eclipse or circle you have the option to keep the eyes white or spray paint them any color you want. I always advise flat paint to avoid glare on your puppet eyes when filming.
Cut out your felt or fur to your desired lengths, always cut more than the front side of your eyes because you need to wrap your material around your eyes. Cut two sets; one for the main color of your eye and a thinner one for your eyelashes.
Cutting Tip: After cutting your first piece of material use that piece as a pattern to cut your second piece.
Use your hot glue gun to attach the material and place them onto your puppet eye. I always do my main color eye first and then the eye lashes, it has always been easier for me this way.
A lot of people put the pupil on next, I have learned that it is easier to match the pupils when your eyes are on a puppet already. You would either attach you puppet eyes with the backing or place velcro on it like I do. I use velcro so I can change the eye of my puppets regularly.
Add the pupils by placing on the felt dots in place, you can also cut out your own felt dots if you desire.
If you need to find blank puppet eyes just type in the words, “where to buy blank puppet eyes” into Google and it will give you stores. These stores rotate being live and offsite regularly so I do not want to give you a link that may be broken in a month. Good luck making your puppet eyes and if you want to see our puppets in action check out iSpotSanta.com.