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How to Use Safety Eyes

Craft eyes. Plastic eyes. Safety eyes. Animal eyes. They’re called lots of different things! And you can use them for sewn or crocheted softies. I’ve even used them in applique wall hangings!

craft eyes from FreshStitches

I’ve made a video that shows you how to install them and remove them (eep!). I also talk about why I only use eyes with ridges and plastic washers as well as why you shouldn’t use them on toys for children under 3 years old.

Below, I’ve also included a quickie tutorial for those of you who want to get ‘straight to the point’ as well as some other links you might like!

Ready to get some eyes for your creations? Visit my craft eyes (and noses) shop for the best selection of black, clear and colored animal eyes, comic eyes and craft noses. 

Video Tutorial for Craft Eyes

This is a little 5 minute video. Enjoy!

How to install craft eyes

I started selling eyes because I really like ridged eyes and plastic washers… and I was tired of ordering eyes that showed plastic washers in the picture, but getting metal ones. Or getting eyes without the ridges. Geesh. Those things matter! It’s like ordering a long-sleeve shirt but getting one without sleeves. Not the same.

That’s why every pair of eyes I sell has ridges on the post with plastic washers. There are actually a few styles of eye I’ve wanted to carry, but they only came with metal washers. Nope. No deal. I’m pretty passionate about a plastic washer.

Plastic washers don’t bend as you try to put them on, and if they’re good quality, they’re amazingly strong. (That’s why I recommend you buy eyes from someone you trust, and not just the cheapest ones you can find from China.) And do you see those little points?

plastic washer on a safety eye

Those little ‘barbs’ dig into the fabric and keep the eye from rotating. Which isn’t a big deal if you’re just using a black craft eye, but is crucial if you’re using a comic eye. You don’t want them twisting and giving you googly eyes!

The ridges on the posts of craft eyes help the washer click on (and stay on!) securely. I love hearing the ‘click’ as I press the washer on! The ridges also help to make sure the washer doesn’t back off AND makes sure the washer presses on evenly.

how to attach a craft eye 2

So, let me show you how to install a craft eye with a plastic washer.

First, insert the post of the craft eye between the stitches on your piece where you want it to go. I recommend that you place the eyes first, before pressing on the washers, just to see if you like the look.

monkey with heart eyes

Once your eyes are positioned how you’d like, press the flat side of the washer (that’s the one with the tiny barbs!) onto the post.

Here’s a photo of how it will look (but without the fabric getting in the way… obviously, your piece doesn’t really look like this!):

how to attach a safety eye 3

I don’t want you to stress too much about this, because if you try to put the washer on backwards, it just won’t go.

Now, push! You’ll hear that click, and it’s on!

A note about 6 mm and 4.5 mm craft eyes

The 6 mm  and 4.5 mm craft eyes, because they are SO tiny, have smaller plastic washers without the ‘barbs’. But don’t worry, the same rule applies: flat side towards the fabric.

6mm safety eyes

Other links you’ll enjoy

Here are some other craft-eye-related links you’ll like!

Have fun!


  1. Lawanda SAYS...

    Thank you for sharing this! I never knew there were metal eyes out there. I just love the size selection you offer! Thank you for the info and tips!

    • Thank you! I haven’t seen metal eyes, just metal washers 🙂

    • Emmi SAYS...

      Try soaking in acetone nail polish remover for 24 hours. It really depends on the glue, however.

  2. Lucy Heuvel SAYS...

    Hi there,I bought knitted toys from a friend,but she used eyes that she stuck on the toy.I sell at craft markets and customers won’t buy them because of the eyes.So I managed to pull the eye of the toy but the glue from the back of the eye is still stuck ,how can I dissolve this hard glue of the knitted toy.
    Looking forward to reply,kind regards Lucy.

    • I’m sorry – but most glues are not removable after they cure. 🙁

  3. Anonymous SAYS...

    Thank you so much for your instructional video on safety eyes. It was exactly what I needed to see. I am a visual learner.

    Have a great day

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