Teddy Bear Anatomy: Eyes


They say that the eyes are the window of the soul and that also applies to teddy bears. The eyes more than anything determine the nature of the bear.

For the first teddy bears, there was little usable material for the eyes. Most bears had shoe buttons as eyes. This worked so well that they are still popular. From 1910 people made glass eyes in amber or simply transparent. In the late 1950-early 1960 the manufacturers recognised the danger of small parts and began with making toy teddy bears with plastic joints and plastic safety eyes.
Today glass eyes again are used for collectors bears. These glass eyes are available in various sizes: small black ones of 6 millimetre through to 3 centimeters eyes for very large bears.

Glass Eyes

Glass eyes are sold in two ways: they are sold separately with a kind of ring on the back as a knot or as a pair with a wire in between. These last ones you have to cut the wire and make the ring yourself.

The glass eyes of the collectors bears are attached to the bear in the following way. Use a strong wire, you put through the ring. With a needle you stick the eye in its place on the front. You insert the needle through the head until it comes out at the rear, at the height of the ear. Do this with the other side of the wire, one centimetre next to the other wire. Pull the wire in a tight knot, as closely as possible against the head. Cut the ends off and hide the knot in the mohair.

Safety Eyes

Safety eyes are put in place before the teddy bear is filled.

Eye size

Although we highly recommend looking at your bear and choosing the eye size to suit that particular face, here is a very general average range of bear sizes to eye sizes to get you started:

  • 1″-2.5″ bear – 1mm eyes
  • 2.5″-3.5″ bear – 2mm eyes
  • 3″-4″ bear – 3 or 4mm eyes
  • 5″ bear – 4-6mm eyes
  • 6″ bear – 5-7mm eyes
  • 7″ bear – 6-8mm eyes
  • 8″ bear – 7-9mm eyes
  • 9″ bear – 8-10mm eyes
  • 10″ bear – 8-11mm eyes
  • 11-12″ bear – 9-11mm eyes
  • 13-15″ bear – 10-12mm eyes
  • 16″-20″ bear – 12-14mm eyes
  • 21″-27″ bear – 14-16mm eyes