Coraline Button-Eyes




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I've been reading Coraline (apparently it is also a film by Henry Selick), and got to the part where she meets doppelgangers of people she knows, but with buttons for eyes. 

I immediately thought; I've got to make a pair of those! 

This is a really simple project, perfect for a quick Halloween costume, but also excellent for school events like National Book Day, when kids have to go dressed as their favourite book characters.

You can even see out of them, although I wouldn't drive or ride a bike wearing them.

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Step 1: Materials and Tools

I got two large wooden buttons from Kitewife's favourite knitting shop, plus a metre of thin black elastic (I only needed half that, but it was only 22p, so the spare went into the stash).

From my own stash, I used a bamboo skewer and a couple of paperclips. 

The tools are quite basic - a knife, glue gun, pliers (with wire cutters) and scissors. 

Step 2: The Bridge

The eyes are built like simple goggles. The "bridge" of the goggles is made of a piece if bamboo skewer, split in half to provide a flat surface for gluing.

Carefully press the knife blade into the end of a piece of skewer, sliding it along until the bamboo separates. 

Work out how far apart the buttons need to be to fit your face. I did it very simply, holding the buttons to my eyes, resting my face on my work bench, and letting the buttons down to the bench. They turned out to be 2cm apart.

I then trimmed the bamboo to length, and hot-glued it in place. 

If you are hot-gluing, don't panic if you mis-place the bridge, because the glue can be peeled off the shiny buttons relatively easily. 

Step 3: Fixings

I wanted to be able to adjust and replace the elastic if I needed to, so I needed fixing points to tie elastic to, rather than gluing the elastic directly to the buttons.

I clipped a pair of "staples" from paperclips, and bent them up with pliers.

Hot-glued into place, tucked far enough in to be hidden from the front, they were perfect to tie the elastic to.

This worked well,  but I found them uncomfortable. Roger-X tried them, and found them comfortable.

The fix was simple - I peeled the glue off, and refastened the staples level with the bridge, and they were completely comfortable. You might need to experiment with the precise placement of the staples for your personal comfort.

Step 4: Improvements

I'm really pleased with them, but there are improvements that could be made if you have access to different materials, such as flesh-coloured elastic, or if I had some clear acrylic for the bridge.

If you make a pair, I'd love to see a picture in the comments. 

Oh, and what would I do with a laser cutter of my own? Who knows? I've used a couple of different cutters, and they are wonderfully versatile. The main users would be my boys, who are both looking at careers based around engineering and design - imagine what they could achieve with 24/7 access to a tool like this!

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    13 Discussions


    1 year ago

    I think the scariest thing from the movie was the fact that everyone had buttons for eyes.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    It would seem more comfortable to have the crossbar made of thin gauge wire. You could bend it to fit to your nose so don't have the wood pressing against it all the time.

    4 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Nice idea, although I find very little pressure because the elastic isn't very tight.