Plastic Bead Chain Eyes
By Casey Smartt
One of the things that has always frustrated me about applying eyes to flies is glueing them on. About half the time, the glue smears, or the eyes end up mashing the fly’s fibers down and changing it’s profile. Glued on eyes also have a tendancy to fall off.
But there is an alternative to glued on eyes…. plastic bead chain. Plastic bead chain, also called “Fused Pearls,” or “Fused Beads,” is available in craft stores and also in the sewing section of dept. stores. Plastic bead chain is sold either by the foot or by the roll, in 3mm, 4mm, and 6mm diameters. The bead chain shown below is 4mm.
What you’ll need:
1. Plastic bead chain (sold by the foot or roll as fabric trim at craft or dept. stores)
2. Black permanent marker, or black model paint, or black nail polish
3. Aleene’s Fabric Fusion (sold with fabric glues at craft or dept. store)
Begin by cutting off a 3-bead section with sharp scissors. Smash the center bead with pliers and remove it.
Place the new 2-bead section in alligator clips and carefully dip, brush, or color a black pupil on the outside edge of each bead. You can use model paint, nail polish, or a permanent marker for this.
Allow the pupil to adequately dry, and then carefully dip each end in a wide-mouth jar (the kind sold in the model department at craft stores) filled with Aleene’s Fabric Fusion (AFF). Make sure the AFF completely coats each eye and try not to get it on the clips or the center string.
Place the eyes in a turner or other safe place to dry. AFF requires a few hours to dry to the touch, and 3 days before it is ready to seriously dunk.
Once the eyes are dry to the touch, you may use them on your baitfish patterns. There will be a large gap between the eyes when you tie them on to the hook shank. This allows ample room for wide baitfish heads.