What are Googly Eyes?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Googly eyes are plastic replicas of eyes which are designed to be used in crafting. Googly eyes are stylized, rather than strictly accurate, and they have a very distinctive appearance which has made them rather famous. Classically, a googly eye consists of a black disc trapped inside a clear plastic bubble mounted on a flat backing. The black disc can move freely around in the plastic bubble, making it look like a rolling eyeball.

Babies are sometimes said to be googly-eyed.
Babies are sometimes said to be googly-eyed.

There are all sorts of uses for googly eyes. Many puppet makers use these eyes to add some character to their creations, for example, and such eyes can also be used on dolls and various model animals. Some people like to add googly eyes to unexpected surfaces, making it look like a pair of eyes is peeping out of a bookcase or peering out of the toilet bowl, for example. The backing for googly eyes is often covered with an adhesive, making it easy to attach the eyes where desired.

Something about googly eyes seems to evoke a smile from a lot of people. The eyes do look rather silly, as they are usually cartoonishly large and so obviously fake that they are kind of endearing. The fact that the discs in the eyes can be made to move gives them a sense of dynamic action, and the faint rattling of googly eyes in their sockets is familiar to many crafters. The bulging look of a set of googly eyes is also reminiscent of cartoons and toys, so the eyes may also evoke nostalgia in viewers.

Most craft stores stock googly eyes, classically in the basic white backing, black disc variety, although googly eyes can also be found in other colors. They come in a range of sizes, and sometimes they may be shaped into ovals, rather than circles, for variety. Googly eyes typically come in a large package which includes several sets of eyes.

Sometimes, people are said to have “googly eyes,” most commonly when they are in love. People may also be said to be “making googly eyes” at each other, a reference to the wide-eyed gaze of someone who is enraptured by someone else. Babies are also sometimes said to be googly-eyed, because their eyes are naturally very wide, and their eyes tend to look extremely large, as well.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


Arts and crafts make such a great outlet. I love to use googly eyes in crafts. I have used them in projects for every holiday. My kids really get a kick out of the pieces we come up with. You can make construction paper bats with googly eyes for Halloween. Christmas elves just seem to add extra cheer with big silly eyes on their smiling faces.

One of my favorite non-holiday projects only requires a photograph of someone and the desired size of eyes for the picture. Just glue the googly eyes over the person’s eyes in the photo for instant laughs. Pretty much anything that could have eyes is funnier with googly eyes.

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