Most of our patterns include directions on how to make a large bulgy eye using felt. The cartoon-y looking eye seems to work universally with each puppet. Sometimes a more realistic looking eye would give the puppet a different look or character.
Safety eyes are one option that would give a puppet a more realistic look. Another option would be designing the eye out of fleece and felt to resemble a real eye. It depends on the puppet, but personally, I find realistic eyes tend to end up looking creepy. This is also true for eye placement.
Sometimes a puppet needs to be more realistic looking
If you want to make a fierce and threatening T-Rex puppet, then cartoon-y eyes aren’t the best option. Realistic eyes would be a better bet.
Here’s the T-Rex made with our typical eye pattern.
After browsing the T-Rex images on Google, I designed more realistic eyes. Then placed the eyes on the side of the head. This puppet works best in profile on stage.
Here’s a front facing image. The eyes kind of get lost, but they are still visible.
Here’s an experiment with the eyes placed in front instead of the side of the head. This just looks off to me and no longer like a T-Rex.
Placement and types of eyes are subjective
Eyes are tricky. Have fun and play around the eyes to get the effect that you want for your finished puppets. If at first, you don’t succeed, try again. That’s why I recommend hand sewing everything and not using a glue gun. If the eyes end up looking off, then all I need to do is clip a few stitches and try again.