There are a few kinds of eyelashes on the market. There are doll eyelashes that come in bands so you cut as much as you need. The band itself is quite soft and thin so you can easily apply them inside the eyesocket. They come in various colors. They have only one disadvantage: the hairs are of the uniform length and are cut at the tip.
And also there are human eyelashes. The hairs are thicker at the base and have a nice, thin pointy tips. They have a disadvantage though: they're mostly very, very big. Like this:
If you're OK with cut, blunt tips then go for the dollie eyelashes.
But let's research for other options.
Some doll sites sell a really short eyelashes that come in pairs, they even come in various colors. These are still for humans, but doll stores carefully pick the shortest ones and resell them.
One such eyelash, if it's symmetrical, is usually enough to add to the both doll eyes: you have to cut it in two. Some eyelashes have a longer hairs on one side, so you can use the inner sides for one doll and the outer sides for another doll.
If your doll's eyes are 18+ mm you may need a whole eyelash for a single eye though.
My dolls wear mostly small (8 mm) eyes so I try hard to find the tiniest eyelashes. And I found a very fine and thin eyelashes that would go for any dolls, including the smallest ones. These are available on Aliexpress and are called "training eyelashes".
They're used to simulate real human lashes, and the training part is to add fake eyelashes on the top of them. We'll skip the training and apply those onto the doll as is.
But what if these are still too long to your taste? Here is a mini tutorial for you.
CREATING A SHORTER EYELASHES TUTORIAL
- the eyelash,
- the glue,
- the toothpick or another similar tool,
- sharp scissors and knife,
- a thread of the same color as your eyelashes,
- a piece of smooth plastic or glass.
The best glue for both altering and applying eyelashes for me so far is PVA glue from Henkel:
It's thick, strong and creates a solid layer which covers the eyelashes from all sides.
1. Measure the eyesocket and cut a piece of eyelash that is slightly longer, to have some allowance.
2. Dip a toothpick into the glue and draw a stripe of glue on a plastic or glass board:
3. Lay the eyelash onto the stripe of glue so as it creates the base for your eyelash hairs.
I prefer to make one side longer than the other.
Lay the thread on top of the eyelash.
4. Add another stripe of glue on the top of the thread so it kinda soaks both the thread and the hairs and creates a nice bond.
I add it to the side that will go into the eyesocket.
5. Leave your eyelashes to dry out thoroughly, for at least 1 hour.
6. Gently peel the eyelash off the plastic or glass base. I use knife so no hairs are pulled out of the glue.
7. Cut the edges of the thread and the excess eyelash part.
You can see that I left about 1 mm of extra length behind the thread: those will go inside the eyesocket and make sure each hair stays in place.
Hint: you can alter any human eyelashes this way, i.e. make them shorter to fit your doll. Just pick the eyelashes which have a more even edges with aligned tips of hairs.
Now it's a time to apply the eyelashes onto a doll.
Adding eyelashes to doll's eyes can be a bit tricky and require patience.
I prefer to apply the glue directly to the eyelid.
Dip a toothpick into the glue and cover the edge of the eyelid.
Wait a few minutes for the glue to set up. Then take your eyelash and attach to the outer corner of the eye. Help yourself with a toothpick or any tool you find suitable.
It may take a while until you stuff the eyelash inside the eyelid. A softer doll eyelashes on the band or the altered eyelashes on the thread are applied easily, a more rigid human eyelashes are harder to tuck in. But eventually your glue dries out and becomes more creamy and allows to press the eyelash in.
I also prefer to add another layer of glue on the inside of the eyelid, just to make sure the eyelash holds nicely.
How to remove the old eyelashes
Most companies and responsible faceup artists use water soluble glues like PVA glue I mentioned above. If you want to remove the eyelashes it can be softened with water: just apply a lot of water around the eyelash, wait for an hour, and the glue should soften so you can peel the eyelash off.
Toothpick with a bit of a cotton wool or a cotton swab will help you to remove the leftovers. Cotton wool protects the faceup from scratching.
Repeat wetting the glue until all of it gets softer and is easily removable.
CAUTION: I highly advice against any instant glues for applying eyelashes! Faceups get damaged, fade over time, so you may want to repaint your doll, and any instant glue is extremely hard to remove.
I also tried silicone glue and human eyelash glue, but PVA based glue is the best one so far.