Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tutorial: Customizing eyes on Bratzillaz

My husband saw this photo and practically had a heart attack.
Two of the dolls with their original eyes: Meygana, left, and Cloetta, right.
Since last year's line of Bratzillaz are still only $10 (at several different stores, apparently), I got a few more and decided to try my hand at customizing them.  I got three and took it upon myself to see if I could switch out their eyes.  I bought two "Cloetta" dolls and one "Meygana."  The Cloettas came with odd-eyes, as you can see ... one brown and one blue.  Meygana came with lovely side-glancing blue eyes and curly red hair.  I wanted to take Meygana's eyes and put them in one of the Cloetta dolls, and give my Meygana brown eyes harvested from the two Cloettas. 

Views of the neck plug and the eyes, front and back.
I didn't invent this procedure.  I'd seen some pictures on Flickr of other people who'd done it to their Bratzillaz, and I wanted to try it. ... So they get all the credit for the idea, although I wrote this tutorial.  I learned Bratzillaz's eyes are not glued in, and can be taken out pretty easily.  It's getting them back in again that's difficult.  Here's what I did:

View inside the eye sockets.
1.)  I put a heating pad on "high" and warmed up the doll's head for several minutes to soften the vinyl, to get the head off the body.  Getting the head off was very easy.  After each step on this list, I kept the head inside a folded heating pad to keep it warm and pliable. 

2.)  While the head was still warm, I took a pencil and stuck it into the neck hole, eraser-end first.  I pressed it firmly against the eyewells from the inside of the head.  This pushed the eyes out of the eye sockets.  They came out of the sockets fairly easily so long as the vinyl was softened with heat. It was interesting to note that the eyes were fitted with two pegs on the backsides of each eye.  They were made to fit into matching peg-holes on the insides of each eye socket, which you can see in the photo to the left. I repeated the steps with my two other dolls so I could play mix-and-match with the eyes. 

IMPORTANT:  I discovered you can tell the right eye from the left, and the top from the bottom, by looking very closely at the backs of the eyes once they're out.  If you look closely, each eye should have a very tiny "R" on it for "right" or an "L" for "left."  If you pay attention to these markings, it's a lot easier to figure out how the eyes are supposed to go in so you won't wind up with wonky eyes. 

3)  Now the hard part:  Putting the eyes back in.  I had trouble with this, and came to the conclusion that the heating pad I was using just simply was not hot enough to keep the vinyl as soft as I needed.  I switched to using a different, hotter heating pad and the process was easier after that. The eyes need to be pushed back into the sockets from the outside of the head, the same way they came out.  You'll need to use some sort of tool to help you.  I used one end of a pen to help me push the eyes back in.  The eyes are glass, so they won't be scratched very easily, but of course you have to be careful not to chip the paint around the eye.  Squeezing the head a bit makes it easier to get the eyes in.

My finished Meygana with her new brown eyes.
4.)  Voila!  New eyes!  I couldn't finish all three dolls (yet) because I stupidly managed to drop one of Meygana's gorgeous original blue eyes into an inaccessible place deep within my couch.  Sigh.  I can't get to it.  I skinned my knuckles trying to reach it.  (Literally.  Ouch!)  I might have to buy another $10 Meygana just to get another one of those eyes.  In the meantime, I'll show you pictures of my new brown-eyed Meygana Broomstix.  I wanted her to look different from "Magic Night Out" Meygana, another doll I got recently.  (In my photos, she's the blue-eyed girl with the straight red hair, bottom photo.) 

I lost the matching blue eye, so this doll's makeover will have to wait.

I was comparing Bratzillaz's default eyes with some 12mm and 14mm doll eyes I have.  Size 12mm's might work in Bratzillaz, but the irises are a little smaller than the Bratzillaz's default irises.  If you don't mind the slightly smaller iris, though, then they'd probably work fine.  14mms look too big, both in size of the iris and the size of the eye.  If there is such a thing as a size 13mm, that might work. Also, it looks like the eyes that would fit their eyewells the best would be flat-backed.  I haven't tried putting a full-round eye in there. ... I don't think it would work. 

EDIT:  Upon further experimentation with the eye sizes, it seems 12mm *IS* the perfect size for Bratzillaz.  I tried a half-round 12mm in one of my Bratzillaz, and the eye fit perfectly (no picture, sorry).  The half-round 12mm was perfect, and the iris size even looked quite good, except that I really needed a low-dome eye.  The eyes I used had domes that were a little too high for the doll, and it made her eyes look buggy.   If you use low-dome eyes in 12mm they'll work so long as they aren't full rounds.  It looks like both half-rounds and flatback oval eyes will work. There were no gaps in the corners with the half-round eyes.


My two Bratzillaz Meygana Broomstix dolls.


  1. I've actually done this with my Moxie Teens Bijou dolls :-) . I love Meygana's new look. I may switch some eyes on one of mine

  2. Thanks. I think she'd be even nicer with gold or bronze eyeshadow, since the blue eyeshadow doesn't really go with her brown eyes very well. I'm still deciding whether I'm going to attempt to change her eyeshadow color or not. I'm not terribly good with a paintbrush.

  3. There are 13mm eyes, Masterpiece makes them. They're silicone, so they're a odd size and fit oddly shaped eyewells.

    I like how different your two Meyganas are.

  4. Squishy silicone eyes would probably be easy to get into the eye sockets. The Masterpiece 13mms might be worth checking out. :)

  5. Not sure if you know this website:

    She has some good tutorials for the kind of work you are interested in doing. One interesting tutorial involves the use of spray paint! I couldn't/wouldn't with an IT doll, but maybe these ones...

    Good luck and HAVE FUN!


  6. I didn't know about that web site. Thanks so much! I'll take a look at it. I've done customizing before. I've done several full re-roots on several different kinds of dolls (Momoko, Fashion Royalty and more recently on one of my I Love Minnie clones), and I've done custom face painting on BJDs. I appreciate your reply.

    By the way, I discovered that 12mms really are the best size for the Bratzillaz, so I edited my text in my post to reflect that.


  7. Thanks, I exactly looked for these information!! :)