Eyes that can easily fall off or be pulled off of toys, pose a choking hazard for small children. Safety Eyes are strong eyes with secure backings that hold your toy’s eyes firmly in place. If you are making toys for babies or toddlers, then you should always use safety eyes, embroidered eyes, or fabric sewn eyes. Just remember, if you are making a baby-safe toy, you have to make sure all the parts of the toy can’t be a choking hazard! Any glued or sewn on plastic, metal, or glass pieces are definitely not safe!
Unsafe Items (mouse over for explanation):
Glued on googly eyes are unsafe!
Sewn on bead eyes are unsafe!
Button eyes are unsafe!
The sewn on flowers are choking hazards.
The button on her vest is a choking hazard.
I buy most of my safety eyes from Hobby Lobby but they have a very limited selection. At our local store in Oklahoma City, there is only the standard black, blue, brown, yellow, and cats eyes. There are some pretty big frog eyes too. However, there are several sources for buying some really cool eyes online. However, you have to consider a few things.First, pay close attention to the listed size of the eyes. It can be nearly impossible to tell what size the eyes are, even if there are photos of the eyes on a toy. They all look the same size in most photos that I’ve seen, but the actual sizes are a huge difference. The standard size I use for my toys have been 10mm to 14mm eyes. The 5mm eyes are super tiny! The tiny eyes are great for key chain mini felt animals.
Same size toys, one is typical sized eyes and the other is 5mm eyes:
Another thing to consider is what kind of backing they are using? Hobby Lobby’s eyes use plastic washers that are pretty easy to use. These bulbous round backings are nearly impossible to use! If you are an adult and are very careful, you can cut slits around the backing with a box cutter and then it will give-way enough to get the backing on. Without the slits, I couldn’t get them on! I used pliers, a hammer, my husband… it was like kryptonite!
The bulbous round backing:
Are they charging a reasonable price for the amount of eyes, for the quality or rarity of the eyes, and for shipping cost? Hobby Lobby sells a set of 3 pairs of 12mm eyes for 99 cents. This is good way to value the cost of eyes. Just remember that the fancier, unique, or glass eyes are going to cost more than the ones at Hobby Lobby. Also, pay close attention to shipping costs! Some sellers will try to rip you off by charging a HUGE shipping fee! I’ve seen things for sell on etsy and ebay for a reasonable price, but the shipping cost was $50 to $100 or more, which was way more than the item was worth. If the shipping cost is more than $5, don’t bother! There are lots of sellers with reasonable prices. I bought a pack of 10 pairs of 10mm glass red eyes for $5 and the shipping from China was only $1.50. Also, if the cost isn’t in USD (United States Dollars), don’t bother with money conversion and just stick to listings that use our native currency.
Another good thing to think about, is are they shipping from the US (or the country you happen to live in)? I ordered some really nice looking glass eyes that were shipped from China and they took a month to get here. I purchased them on August 3rd and they arrived on Sept. 7th. If you can’t wait that long, you may want to make sure they are shipping from your country. Even if they are in your country, find out what the expected shipping time frame is or spend the extra money on the 2-day or next day shipping (if available). Personally, I like ordering from US sellers.. but sometimes, the coolest eyes are overseas.
Now, I’m going to share my favorite Etsy sources with you!
Remember the order from China I talked about? That was from Dollsupplies which takes a month to get to the US and they use those bulbous backings. However, they have a huge variety of glass eyes and noses. They are very pretty and their prices are very reasonable. Again, please pay close attention to the sizes, because they have a variety of them!
is a US etsy store with reasonable prices and a wide variety of eyes and noses. In fact, she has some unique eyes that are hand painted purple with with yellow spots called Magic In Your Eyes
. She has several colors of cats eyes, including pink and clear. Did I mention clear eyes? She also has a tutorial
on her blog that shows you how to put eyes on your toys!
The Tiny Garden
(US) has glow in the dark cats eyes
! Also, Leslie happens to take custom orders for special painted eyes (silver, gold, etc.) as long as she has the paint for it. Pricing would be the same as glow in the dark eyes. The eye quantity and sizes can be mixed and matched and shipping can be combined for multiple orders. So be sure to send her a message
Magoos Craft Emporium
is based out of Canada. Their shipping still has to go through customs to get to America, but it’s Canada… so it’s usually not a lengthy process. Still, you should ask about shipping ETA (expected time of arrival). They have a bunch of really cool eyes and noses, like eye lids, flocked noses, koala noses, realistic eyes, toony eyes, really pretty pearl eyes, and more. Just check out some of the photos Wendy gave me permission to use.
Bit Of Whimsy
(US) have been mentioned as one of the pattern sellers that I personally like. While they don’t have many eyes, they do have a few at a good price. So when you buy a pattern, get some eyes to go with them!
Designs By Devlin
(US) has several glow in the dark and glittery eyes! There are orange glow in the dark eyes. There are also pink, purple, and blue glitter glow in the dark eyes, too. These are the only glittery glowing eyes I’ve seen online.