I decided that the foam based iris and pupil were the best solution for the current set of puppets. I have been searching for an way to cut smooth circles in the foam all week. I check in the scrap booking sections of several stores. The hole punches that they offer that are larger than 1/4 inch will not accept a piece of craft foam. They opening is only large enough for paper.
Today at Hobby Lobby, I found a perfect solution to cut holes of 3/4″, 1/2″, 0.28″ and 0.18″ in size. It is the FoamWerks foam board hole drill. It cuts through the foam beautifully. I settled on the 1/2″ hole for the iris, and .18″ hole for the pupil.
Now that I had my sizes locked down I could start mass production.
Since I wanted to counter sink the iris and pupil into the eye, the first step was to build a jig that could hold the eyeball securely while I drilled. To do this I drilled a 1″ hole in a piece of scrap wood. I then screwed that wood to a larger board that I clamped to my drill press. The table of the drill press was put to a steep angle so that the circle would be cut into what will be the front of the eyeball.
Then the eyeball is dropped in.
I carefully held the eyeball in place while slowly drilling into it with a 1/2″ brad point bit.
I drill into the eye about 1/8″ of an inch. At this point the eyes are ready for being spray painted white. While the eyes are drying I went on to cut out the pupil and iris. I laid out a basic grid with the iris colored foam. Then I used the FoamWerks hole drill to drill out the pupil hole from the iris.
Once all of the pupil holes were cut out I switched to the 1/2″ hole drill, and cut out the iris from the piece of foam.
Once I had all 16 of the iris’s cut, I switched to the black foam and started cutting out the pupils
I repeated the process and created 16 blue iris/pupil combinations.
Then the final step was to hot glue the pupil and iris onto the eyeball.
The next step will be to add the eye lid and lashes.