Ever wonder how some of your favorite swimbaits are made? Or maybe just small parts of them?
I am going to start a new series of articles on in depth how-tos for some of these techniques. The first is one that involves a lot of processes, but I'm sure a lot you have pondered. Ever wonder how those eyes on a Hudd are made? It took about a minute of thinking for me to figure out, but wouldn't that be cool if you could put them on any swimbait? The answer is Hell yeah it would, I thought about manufacturing them, but screw it - here you go:
I devised an easy way to make soft plastic eyes that can be permanently glued on your favorite soft baits. The bait I will be modifying is one of my favorites: the Rising Sun by 3:16 Bait co.
You're gonna need a set of quality glass taxidermy eyes from a supplier such as Van Dyke's. Most baits take 8mm or 10mm. You are going to be casting them upside down to capture the paint pockets on the back. Here is a set of 8mm taxidermy eyes:
You're gonna need a bit of modeling clay from a hobby or craft store. Flatten it on a work surface - I just use my bench but it can be done on a piece of cardboard or plexi. You can flatten it out with just about anything, really. I used a small piece of acrylic I had sitting on my workbench. After flattening the clay, carefully push the eyes face down. Push the eyes to the tip of the convex of the lens. Put them at least a inch apart.
Now you are ready to pour the silicon in the mold. There are endless suppliers of silicon out there. Most hobby stores will have it in stock or you can get it on-line from suppliers such as Smooth On. Smooth On's OOMOO 30 is about the easiest to use silicone on the market. This is a consumer grade silicone that does not need to be vacuumed to release the trapped air. Most of the silicones I use in my shop are are a pain in the ass and very time consuming to use.
Mix up a small amount and fill the mold. Pour into one spot on the mold and let the silicon settle itself around the eyes. Some bubbles will rise, but should settle out. This is a really small mold - just be sure to follow the manufacturers directions very carefully.