Vertical Alignment of Hard Plastic Doll Eyes

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This procedure is only for eyes that don't open and close evenly, like when one eye rolls up to show white below the iris or one eye is open while the other is closed.

Horizontal alignment problems where the eyes are crossed or both looking out is much more difficult to fix because the eyes themselves are warped and no longer round. In this case, they must be removed from the head and may be reshaped under hot water and reinstalled, but more likely will have to be replaced with eyes in better condition. Horizontal alignment is not shown here.

Here's the vertical alignment problem. This is truly a case where an ounce of prevention is worth this pound of cure. The most common cause of this problem is tightly wrapping a head for shipping. After you see how these eyes work, you'll be better able to understand the suggestions for shipping at the end of this article.

And here's the goal.

First let's see what we're dealing with.
This is a set of rocker eyes.
The T bar holds the eyes and the weight.
The clamp attaches the mechanism to the doll and holds the bar just loosly enough to let the bar with the eyes rock.

In order for the eyes to open and close the same amount at the same time, the eyes have to be evenly placed on the bar.
They need to be firmly placed on the bar so they don't move once they're lined up, but they're not so tight that they can't be moved by pushing on them with a finger inside the head.

Let's look at the eye mechanism inside a Saucy Walker's head
If the doll's head can be tilted for posing, it is strung onto the body with an elastic band. Hold the body and lift the head and you can look inside.

Here's what the eyes should look like from the inside when they are in the open and closed position.
When the weight moves to the center of the head, it rocks the eyes into the closed position. Gravity pulls the weight into the position when the doll is on its back.

When the weight is resting on the face, as it would be when the doll is in the upright position, the eyes are rocked to the open position.

So to adjust an eye, it has to be turned on the T bar so that when the weight is against the face, the eye is open. So hold the eye on the outside with your thumb -

while moving the weight with your finger.

This may be tedious because the eyes have to be firmly on the bar but with a little persistence, it should move.

If you can't get your finger into the neck to reach the weight, using a butter knife or flat head screw driver will give you the leverage to move the weight while holding the eye immobile.
Keep trying until both eyes line up. The open and closed positions of the eyes shouldn't crimp the lashes on the eye socket.

If it feels like you're going to push the eye into the head and put too much stress on the clamp where it holds the bar, hold the eye on the inside with one screwdriver while pushing or pulling on the weight with either your finger or another istrument.

While age causes warping that yields horizonal misalignment, the most common way eyes get turned on the bar is in shipping. People wrap the eyes on the outside so they won't move. Then savage handlers drop kick a box from one destination to another and the weight inside the head flops around while the immobile eyes get twisted on the bar.

The best way to be sure eyes won't be damaged like this in shipping is to put something inside the head to keep the weight from moving. If this is not going to be done, don't immobilize the eyes on the outside of the head. Instead, just ship the doll face down in the box so the weight is resting on the face and not hanging in mid air where a jolt or jar will put stress on the clamp.
If you found this information useful, a donation would be greatly appreciated!
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