How to Construct a Model Eye

Written by jeremy cato
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How to Construct a Model Eye
There is more to this eye than meets the eye. (eye image by Pali A from

You probably never think about your eyes, accept for those times when they are dry or watery and become irritated. The human eye is a very complex biological structure. The science behind sight is truly fascinating and worth the time to investigate and understand. If reading articles about the eye are not stimulating enough for you, you can do something far more hands-on. You can make a model of the human eye. This engaging project is a great way for adults and kids to learn about this amazing organ.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 1 container each of pink, red, blue, black and white clay
  • Wooden dowel, 1/2-inch in diameter
  • Large styrofoam cube
  • Large kitchen knife
  • 1 sheet of white, lineless paper
  • Pen or fine-tip marker
  • Package of toothpicks
  • Invisible tape

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  1. 1

    Roll the container of pink clay dough into a fist-sized ball. Take a small egg-sized lump of white clay and mash it up with a walnut-sized piece of blue clay to make a light blue lump. Roll this into a ball and flatten it slightly into a 1-inch-thick disk. Using your finger, make a large dent in top of the pink ball and fit this disk inside it.

  2. 2

    Roll up a walnut-sized lump of black clay and press it into the light blue disk. Next, pull off an egg-sized lump of blue clay and mash it up with a walnut-sized ball of white to make a slightly lighter blue. Flatten this ball into a 1/2-inch-thick disk and cover the black clay and the light blue clay with this disk. Lastly, roll out all of the remaining white clay and cover the entire pink ball with it covering every part of the ball.

  3. 3

    Cut the large ball of clay in half very carefully with the large knife. You should be able to see all of the colours inside. Turn the halves so that the blue and black areas are pointing to the left. Cut or break off two 6-inch-long pieces of the wooden dowel and insert one into the bottom of each eye half. Insert the model eyes into the styrofoam, separated by at least 6 inches and facing opposite direction (one looking west, or left and one looking east, or right.)

  4. 4

    Roll out several very thin ropes of blue and red clay. Arrange these ropes inside of the pink area of each model eye. These are the blood vessels inside of the eye.

  5. 5

    Grab the sheet of paper and write the following words in small, but readable print: Iris, Pupil, Lens, Cornea, Vitreous Humor and Blood Vessels. Cut these words out of the paper in small rectangular boxes. Tape these boxes to the end of six toothpicks, one to each toothpick.

  6. 6

    Insert the toothpick labelled "Iris" into the blue clay in front of the black clay of one eye. Insert the toothpick labelled "Pupil" into the black clay of the other eye. Insert the one labelled "Lens" into the light blue area behind the black clay of the first eye. Insert the "Cornea" toothpick into the front blue layer of the second eye. Insert the "Vitreous Humor" toothpick into the pink area of the first eye. Lastly, insert the "Blood Vessels" toothpick into a clay vessel in the second eye.

Tips and warnings

  • Styrofoam cubes can be purchased at craft stores or in the crafts section of big box stores.
  • You will need a lot of clay for this project. Consider something like a Play-Doh multipack with the four required colours.
  • There are many other parts of the eye and you can include these in your model. Just add more labelled toothpicks. Use the pictures provided in the Resources as a guide.

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