Face Eye Lenses
Many people like to change the
eye color on their Baby Face dolls. It makes a nice
change in appearance. The lovely custom Laura doll on the
left was made by Cynthia (CC.) Grey eyes are a nice
change and gives her a whole new look. The freckles are
adorable, too. CC made all the custom dolls on this page.
The entire first batch of Baby
Face dolls had very pale eyes that are not very pretty.
This means that 100's of thousands of dolls ended up with
the pale eyes! For the second production of Baby Face,
Galoob made eye colors that were darker with rich deep
colors. So, many of the BF collectors like to change the
eyes on their dolls.
I break the eye in half first,
so the front half of the eyeball will sit flat on the
table and it's MUCH safer to work with it that way! If
you can't pop the eye into two pieces (front and back),
then use a pliers to crack it and get the back half off.
Some people use a vise to hold
the eyeball while they work on it. That's another option
that is possibly safer. I use an exacto knife to pry the
lens out of the eyeball, and you do have to dig into the
edge of the lens a teensy bit but it doesn't do enough
damage to be noticeable later. Then push very firmly into
the crack, and give a teensy bit of a twist to pop the
the exacto blade breaks. CC says the broken piece has
hit her in the face, more than once - so she strongly
recommends safety glasses when using the exacto
UPDATE! I use the straight pick from this dental set to remove the lens from the eyeball. This works especially well for removing the lens from the doll's eye. Previously, I used an exacto knife to pry with but I think this small pick works much better, and is safer. These dental picks are handy when replacing lashes on dolls, as well. In fact, these dental tools are very useful for many crafty type projects.
UPDATE 2! Now I prefer to use a small pliers to remove the lenses from the replacement eye. I break the plastic apart (break off pieces) so I can remove the lens. I still use the picks to remove the lenses from the doll.
When you have the lens out of
the eyeballs, then do the same thing with the doll's eyes: remove her lenses.
Christine (Woot's) husband
helped her swap the lenses, while Christine took
pictures. Here are their photos. First, he put the eye in
a small vise.
Then he heated the eye with a
blow dryer approx 45 seconds.
Woot had already broken the
blade on her exacto knife, but that might have been an
advantage, actually. Dear Hubby (DH) used the broken
Now, for the doll.
DeeDee gets the dryer
treatment, too. CC suggested heating the eye because it
possibly helps to soften any glue residue that might be
on the lens.
Then DeeDee goes 'under the
knife'...no need to worry though..he was gentle and she
didn't feel a thing!!!!
Four girls were
swapped out in no time....
NOTE... sometimes the doll's lenses are glued
in place and there's no way you can get them out. This is
actually a rare problem but the collectors have come
across it from time to time... I think the manufacturer
only used glue if there was a problem with the eye.
Otherwise the iris is just pushed in place.
The first time I tried to swap
lenses, it was a Laura doll who was a goner anyway:
someone had ruined the head and it couldn't be fixed. But
the eyes had been glued in and I never got the lenses
out! The eyes were RUINED when I finally gave up. I'm not
the only one who has encountered this. It's not common
but there are some BF dolls with lenses that are very
securely glued. And you won't know which ones are glued
until you try to get them out.
When I got the nerve to try
again with a different doll, I didn't have any problems!
The lens popped right out, it was easy.
To remove the lens, I push down very firmly into the crack at the edge of the lens. Push down hard but very carefully so you don't lose control. When you've got some depth, then lever up on the edge of the lens and it should pop out fairly easily.
When you have the lenses out of
the doll's eyes, then push the replacement lens in place. There is a little "snap" sound when it slides into place.
The lens will be fine without glue. If necessary, I use the eraser-end of a pencil to push the lens in place.
use SUPERGLUE to put the new lens in. Superglue will
totally ruin the lens and the eye. Ask me how I know.
Most modern brands of eyes do
not have the removable lens. You can't buy just any
eyeballs for this lens-swapping trick. You need a specific style of
eyeball with a removable lens.
You can replace the entire eye
if you wish, and then it doesn't matter what eyes you use
as long as they're the 20mm size. Replacing the entire eyeball is something that I haven't tried yet.
As with all
my refurbishing tricks, do this at your own risk. And please be careful with the exacto
knife, it's a serious blade! This Heidi is cute with grey
eyes, but you can see that her mama has a new boo-boo.
Ann Pitingolo is the one who
first discovered that we could swap the eye lenses. Ann has done some amazing things to customize her
dolls. She turned Suzie into a yawning doll by stretching
her mouth with heat from a hair dryer.
Ann did many heat treatments
until the mouth eventually stretched into a yawn. She
applied something to the eyelids for the
"half-closed" appearance. Ann was also the
first to attempt dye on her Baby Face dolls. We heard
about it from Medoll's web site, and by the next day Ann
had created her own Black Sarah doll.
This doll did lighten up after
a few months. Initially she was darker than Ann wanted,
because she was trying to match the Baby Face AA
skintone. The dye mellowed to a softer brown after
Thank you to
the Baby Face Club for
helping to compile this tutorial and providing photos.