How to Use Safety Eyes in Amigurumi (and My Favorite Sizes!)

Safety eyes are the most common and easiest way to add eyes to your amigurumi. They are inexpensive and easy to use, so if you’ve been wondering how everyone adds perfect eyes to their toys, this article is for you!

To use safety eyes, decide where it should go by reading the pattern, push the post through the stitches, and secure the washer on the back. Make sure that the location of the safety eye has been finalized before putting the washer on, because afterwards it is extremely difficult to remove.

Using safety eyes with your crocheted pieces is an easy way to give the character life. If you still spend your time constructing eyes from other materials, this article will be really helpful. Start improving your crocheting game today by learning how to use safety eyes below!

1. Decide where the safety eye should go

This is the most important part of using safety eyes, because once you secure it in place, that safety eye will. not. move. (I’m telling you from some hard earned experience that you will regret it if you don’t decide carefully!).

To make the right decision, push the top part of the eye (the smooth black part with the head and shaft) through the crochet stitches to see how it will look.

If you run into trouble getting the safety eye to go through the crochet stitches, I recommend using a crochet hook (tapered ones like the Furls Odyssey are perfect) to widen the hole between stitches first. This usually works like a charm for me and if you decide that you want to change the positioning, the hole will go away easily as well.

After you insert the safety eye, you should be able to see the shaft of the piece through the back of the crochet stitches. Make sure the the smooth front part of the safety eye is exposed on the outside of your amigurumi.

If you’re more of a visual learner, check out my video tutorial of the whole process here!

2. Secure the washer on the back

Lay a book or a soft cloth onto the table and press down on the washer until it clicks into place. The cloth or book will protect both the safety eye and the table from damage.

It might be a bit tough to get the washer on, especially if the head of your amigurumi is small, but persist and try to make sure that the washer is snug and tight against the back of the crochet stitches. You might have to push a couple of times to make sure that it gets past the outer few threads of the “screw”, but it’s worth it so that the safety eye sits on the top of the amigurumi.

And that’s it! Great job, now you can have perfect eyes on your crochet toys too 🙂

Advanced note for designers: If your amigurumi toys are not meant for playing with, meaning they will not be handled roughly (and never by children) and mostly used as decorative soft toys, you can skip fastening the washer on the back to make it easier for you to figure out what the ideal place to put the eyes are. Since it’s often hard to visualize what the final face will look like, I usually reserve adding safety eyes until I’m sewing all the component parts together to identify the ideal spot for the eyes. This means that I add the safety eyes after I’ve finished closing all the seams, meaning that it’s impossible to add the washer back in. To me it’s worth it because not being able to move eyes around is a huge pain, but also my amigurumi toys are never played with or handled roughly, so the eyes don’t fall out.

What are safety eyes?

Safety eyes are plastic screws that are an easy way to add eyes to your amigurumi. Safety eyes are attached with a simple washer, but are difficult to remove. They come in various shapes and sizes, and are measured in millimeters, which represent the diameter of the eye.

Safety eyes are the simple solution to complicated eye patterns and other methods of crocheting parts of the face. Additionally, safety eyes are less likely to fall off compared to other solutions. Safety eyes are the perfect choice for beginner crocheters looking to give their patterns some personality. However, it is not recommended to use safety eyes on projects that will be given to babies or small children, because they pose a choking hazard.

Once the threading on the post of the eye passes through the backing of the washer, it is very difficult to remove.

Remember, safety eyes are difficult to remove, but it’s not impossible. If you exert enough force on the eye, it may break free. However, the key word there is break. Once a safety eye has locked into place, it likely won’t disconnect in one piece.

If you need to remove the safety eye, you can use wire cutters. I’ve had some success in the past with prying them apart, but honestly it really isn’t worth the trouble. Just make sure to double and triple check that the safety eye is exactly where you want it before securing the washer on the back. I often will move the location of the safety eye around several times until it’s exactly where I want it to be.

Examples of safety eyes!

What are the best sizes for safety eyes?

The best sizes for safety eyes are 6.0mm and 4.0mm. These work best for palm sized amigurumi, while large or jumbo sized amigurumi will require 8.0mm or 10.0mm safety eyes. Safety eyes come in various sizes, and are measured in millimeters, which represent the diameter of the eye.

As you have learned, there are a variety of safety eye sizes you can choose from. In general, the size of the safety eyes you use will depend on the size of the project and its head. However, there is a rule of thumb to follow when choosing safety eye sizes.

Before we discuss the best size, let’s look at how many different sizes of safety eyes there are.

Safety eyes can get quite small. The smallest safety eyes are about 1.8mm. These can be purchased from the Etsy link above.

Safety eyes can also get quite large. For example, this Colored Safety Eye set on Etsy sells a 40mm safety eye. As you can imagine, eyes of this size are best for extremely large projects. I generally work with size 4.0mm safety eyes, like I did with this Pumpkin Bear pattern.

Now that you know the extensive range of safety eyes, let’s move on to the rule of thumb. If your final Amigurumi project will be palm-sized, use a 4.0 mm to 6.0 mm safety eye.

For jumbo amigurumi, especially those made of blanket yarn or velvet yarn, 8.0mm or 10.0mm safety eyes are what I use most often.

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Just like you can compare eye placements, you can also compare safety eye sizes. If you have a variety pack of safety eyes, try a few different sizes before securing the eye with a washer. Even if the pattern calls for a certain eye size, you might like a slightly different look. Do not be afraid to experiment with your amigurumi projects, but do not attach any pieces until you are certain of your decision.

Where do I get safety eyes?

Safety eyes can be found on Amazon and Etsy, as well as all big box craft stores. Amazon tends to sell variety packs that ship quickly, but Etsy will have large amounts of specific sizes, especially sizes that can be hard to find elsewhere.

When I first started out, I bought a large variety pack of safety eyes from Amazon (I believe it was this one). Variety packs are great when you first start out because it’s hard to know which sizes of safety eyes that you’ll gravitate towards more. I tend to make mostly smaller amigurumi, so actually nowadays I mostly use 4.0mm and 5.0mm safety eyes, but I know that others have their own favorite sizes too.

Variety packs are also great because even if you don’t like using really small or really large safety eyes, there will always come a day when you make a giant or mini amigurumi, and you’ll need a few — so having that one variety pack can keep you covered for a while.

After you use up all of your favorite size(s), I would recommend just buying more packs of one particular size. Large amounts of one size of safety eyes are harder to find, and I tend to find mine on Etsy (you can find my personal recommendations for safety eyes here!).

They are still fairly inexpensive, and often can be better quality than the ones that you find on Amazon. I pretty much only order from Etsy now since I know what I like, and the Etsy store that I recommended in the link above has been really reliable and good quality.

What are alternatives to safety eyes?

While safety eyes are a simple solution to giving a project some personality, there are plenty of other options that might work better for that specific pattern.

So what other options do you have? Well, you can choose from embroidered eyes, crocheted eyes, felt circles, and glass beads. Take a look at how to make each of these Amigurumi eye styles below!

Embroidered Eyes

Embroidered eyes are the perfect choice for small children since there do not stick off the project’s face. Instead, they are a part of the design and are impossible to break.

If you are not familiar with embroidering, this is a crafting technique that allows you to create a design on fabric using a needle and thread. While embroidery is its own craft, it can also be used to enhance your crochet projects.

Even if you use safety eyes, chances are you will be embroidering other designs onto your project. For example, this cute Bread and Butter pattern features two embroidered smiles.

Want to learn how to embroider eyes onto your next crochet project? Follow the video below.

Embroidering eyes onto your Amigurumi dolls allows you lots of flexibility in the type of yes you use. While you could do a simple circle like the one in the video, there are plenty of other designs available as well.

Try the embroidery pattern on the Spring Bunny and Bear from Tiny Curl here.

Crocheted Eyes

Another foolproof way to ensure the eyes on your Amigurumi never fall off is to crochet them on as part of the project. These types of eyes are also the ideal choice for small children who have the potential to break safety eyes.

Once again, you should not feel limited by this choice of eye. There are plenty of eye patterns you can incorporate into your Amigurumi.

Watch the following video to learn how to make several different types of crocheted eyes.

Before taking this approach, plan out how you will add the eyes to the pattern. Unless they are a part of the original pattern, you will need to rework it to fit this element.

Learn how to make crochet eyes with this adorable Amigurumi Cow Pattern from Grace and Yarn. Crocheting eyes might take more time than using safety eyes would, but I guarantee you will love the finished project.

Glass (or Plastic) Beads

Beads are by far one of the simplest ways to bring your Amigurumi creations to life. However, this option should not be selected for pieces that will be gifted to small children.

When using glass or plastic beads for eyes on your Amigurumi piece, you simply attach them with embroidery thread. Like safety eyes, you need to locate the correct round and stitch before placing the bead.

Watch the video below to learn how to attach bead eyes to your Amigurumi.

Because beads are simply “tied” onto the Amigurumi, they can easily break off. This creates a choking hazard–hence why glass or plastic bead eyes should not be used for children’s projects. However, bead eyes bring a unique look to adult patterns.

This beautiful Bumble Bee Craft Kit from Mohu Mohu exemplifies a perfect use of beads for the eyes.

Felt Circles

When using yarn or crochet to make Amigurumi eyes, you are limited with the designs you can do. With felt circles, you can create any type of design you want and still feel safe giving the Amigurumi to children.

Felt Amigurumi eyes are generally glued on. If they fall off or are damaged they can be fixed easily. Additionally, if they fall off they present a minimal choking hazard.

When making felt eyes for your Amigurumi eyes, use a template. If you freehand the eyes, they might end up being different sizes.

Check out these Amigurumi felt eyes from Shiny Happy World. Need some more felt eye inspiration? Check out this video to see just how creative you can get when using felt for Amigurumi’s eyes!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfZBFAn5EW4

If you do not want to make your own felt eyes, you can purchase them premade on Etsy. Get this cute felt eyes set from Etsy here.

Button Eyes

Since they were created, buttons have been used in a variety of craft projects around the world, especially on plush dolls. While using buttons for eyes is the least realistic option, they are easy to use with Amigurumi.

Buttons can be purchased in a variety of colors and shapes. Get some button eyes from Amazon here.

Attaching buttons to a crocheted piece might seem difficult to beginners. Watch the following video to learn how to attach them correctly!