Casey Smartt's Fly Fishing, Photography, & Outdoor Stuff

Tulip Fabric Paint Eyes

Here is an easy way to make multi-colored 3D eyes for your flies. You can make them any size and any color including fluorescent and glow-in-the-dark. Get the paints at Hobby Lobby or Walmart. The key to making the eyes is to give them a light tap from underneath (see video). This smooths and rounds the paint dollop before it dries.

7 Responses to “Tulip Fabric Paint Eyes”

  1. Joe French

    Good review. I saw you make this at the Fly Tying Festival in Houston in ’08. It helped me to have seen you actually make them in person. Thanks for sharing.

    • caseysmartt

      Hello Joe.

      Yes, I made these at the 08 fly gig in Houston. There was a lot of interest in them and I still get a lot of questions about how to make them. Tulip Paints have many uses in fly tying. Durable… non-toxic… cheap… they are a great product.


    • caseysmartt

      Thanks Bud!

      You can also use the Tulip paint as a glue for regular 3D adhesive-backed eyes. Very strong as a glue.

      Take care,

  2. Jeff Mills

    I met you at Roy’s Bait and Tackle Fly Fling in Corpus Christi. After watching you make these eyes I had to try them at home. Great idea you have here. I tied up some flies and attached the tulip eyes. My problem with the process is that I flattened the paint too much but was happy with the outcome anyway. Quite by accident I found a process to turn the tulip eyes into 3D eyes. I added a little thin tufffleye to the top of the eyes and let it work just into the edge of the fabric. After hitting it with the light I had a 3D eye that looks awesome. The best part is that by using your tulip eye process I can make them any color I want. Just wanted to share my “Ureka Moment” with you. I hope to get you back to Corpus Christi soon to speak at one of our club meetings.
    Tight loops,

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