Making eye mechanisms

Once I had scrimmed the surface completely I started testing ways to make pendulum eye mechanisms. I found some old springs and a big bundle of wire while on a walk around Cardiff So I started out experimenting with these. In this first design I wanted to use the spring as a dock attached to the inside of  mask to then put the pin in when needed.

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<—– pin at the top to move side to side

<—— spring acts as doc to hold pin in place onto inside of mask

<—- anchor to attach elastic band too to keep tension on pin.


My aim was to make the eye mechanism detachable, to make the mask as easy to transport as possible but the spring was too narrow to fit a looped wire through that would have an elastic band attached.

I decided having the mechanism be sturdy with solid and clear movement was more important than making it detachable so I tried a new design using the same pin with a cage to stop the pin falling too far. The tape would be where the wire would be paper mached inside the mask.


This basic design was write now I just needed to perfect the dimensions for the optimum motion. The pin didn’t have enough momentum so i made it longer the loop at the top would be to attach the eye to.

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I added a piece of card to this design to see how it would move with the eye attached.


It worked well but i felt needed a lot of force behind it to move the way it needed which was fine when operated on a small scale moving my wrist, but on a large scale this movement would translate to be far more drastic and i want the it to be almost effortless for the wearer. To tackle this I taped a penny to eye loop to counter weight it.

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I also changed the wire to loop all the way around the pendulum to make extra sure it would stay in place.

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I was really happy with this design, it takes very little effort to operate and the movement is smooth and constant. The overall design is idea is honed now but the whole mechanism is too big to fit inside the mask. Some I remade it but shorter and wider to fit the space by making a different type of anchor to paper mache into the mask.

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I especially love this design because after making it I realised it looks like a strange face itself… masks within masks?

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Once the mechanism was complete I made another to fit the other eye. After this I started making the eye itself, by paper macheing the wire loop and penny to a piece of cardboard.

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Once I was happy with their shape and size I covered them pink and purple tent fabric to colour / weather proof them.

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Here are the finished eye mechanisms before installing. To make them extra smooth and secure I glued a circle of fabric over each side and on the flat side I glued a grey circle of fabric for the pupil.

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Once these were finished and drying I paper mached the 2 pieces of cardboard they were taped on before to the inside of the mask and let this dry overnight to give them a solid foundation to be attached too.  Here they are once paper mached into place.

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Turns out it works well as a jack-o-lantern as well! I just put it there as it was convenient and the lamp underneath really brought it to life! If I put lights inside it could open up the possibilities for night time performances possibly?




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