REMOVING HOT GLUED DEFAULT EYES

So you've got your doll. It came with eyes, but you want to change the color. Except . . . they're fixed inside the head with HOT GLUE. Now what?

Note: This tutorial covers glass eyes. If you are removing acrylic, be aware it is much harder to avoid damaging the eyes with the heat or the pliers. Since I haven't successfully removed hot glued acrylics without damaging them, I'm not writing *that* tutorial!

Here are your tools. Or, at any rate, MY tools. You will need a hairdryer, and some kind of tool like a pair of pliers. Personally, I use two types of jewelry pliers; one is a flat-jaw pilers, and the other is a round-tip pliers (used for wire coiling). I'll explain what I use them for next. But basically, you just need some small tool to help you get into the head to pry out the glue. Some people have successfully used butter knives.

Here is the inside of a head, showing the back of the glass eyes and the hot glue holding them in place. As you could probably guess from the lack of an s-hook, I've removed the head from the body. I find it makes it easier.

The next step, I could not take a photograph of because I needed both hands! Using the hairdryer on a low setting, heat the glue for around 15 seconds. When they set eyes, Volks at least uses a low-melt glue, so you don't need a ton of heat. You just want to soften the glue slightly, not actually melt it.

I recommend that you put the dryer's end right over the opening of the headcap. You want to keep the heat hitting the glue, not your hands or the doll's eyelashes. If your doll has long lashes, you may want to tape half a small cup or something similar over them to shield them from the heat.

After you've heated the glue, start picking at it with the pliers. If the glue seems very "sticky" and is only coming off in tiny pieces, you've heated it a bit too much. Wait a little and try again.

Note: Be careful not to use too much force. Chunks of glue may pull off suddenly, and the jerk of your hand can send your pliers flying into the resin of the head. Be careful! It may be the outside that's important to you, but your doll keeps their brain in there, so be gentle. o.o

You aren't going to remove all the glue just by picking at it. Find a thin section and pull away most of the glue. Then, after heating again, you should be able to use your pliers to SLOWLY peel the glue away from the resin. Your result should look something like the picture at left. This is where I use the round-tip pliers; I find they're less likely to break the string of glue so I can remove more at once. Don't remove the glue from under the eye yet.

Now you can start working on the glue above the other eye. You haven't removed the glue UNDERNEATH your first eye because the glass eye shields the doll's eyelashes (and your fingers) from the heat. You certainly can remove one eye completely before doing the other, but I prefer to do it this way.

Again, you can see by going slow I managed to get a pretty big section peeled away at once! Much better than picking tiny bits off for ages. Just experiment with how long you expose the glue to the heat and you'll be able to do the same.

There is an additional oval of hot glue on the absolute bottom of the eye, inside the eyewell. If you've removed the visible glue but the eye didn't easily pop out, just push gently from the outside and it should break the bond on that little bit of glue.

Now that your eyes are out of the head, you may notice some weird . . . schmaltz on the outside of your eye and panic that you've damaged it. You haven't! It's just leftover glue gunk. The best way I've found to remove it is just with my fingernail and a bit of rubbing with my finger (like taking the adhesive off a CD case). Unless you like to have sharp pointed nails of doom, you won't damage the glass.

And here's the inside of the head, eyeball free! (Head: "I'm free! FREE~ . . . but . . . I can't see anything . . .")

As you can see, the eyelashes are still intact. I can't speak for other companies, but Volks generally glues those puppies in there like nobody's business, and you probably won't be able to remove them without destroying them.

Now, you can make your doll's eyes whatever color you want, make them look askance, or just creep out your friends and family with the gaping eyeholes!

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