Googly eyes

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Two googly eyes
A googly eye attached to a hammer

Googly eyes, or wiggle eyes, are small plastic crafting items used to imitate eyeballs. Googly eyes traditionally are composed of a white plastic or card backing covered by a clear, hard-plastic shell, encapsulating a black plastic disk. The combination of a black circle over a white disk mimics the appearance of the sclera and pupil of the eye to humorous effect. The inner black disk is allowed to move freely within the larger clear plastic shell, which makes the eyes appear to move when the googly eyes are tilted or shaken.

The plastic shells come in a variety of sizes ranging from 316 inch (4.8 mm) to over 24 inches (610 mm) diameter. The inner disks come in a variety of colors including pink, blue, yellow, red and green. Googly eyes are used for a variety of arts and crafts projects including pipe cleaner farm animals, silly sock puppets, mischievous pranks, and other creations. Googly eyes may also be attached to inanimate objects in order to give the objects a "silly" or "cute" appearance. This use often personifies the objects for a humorous effect, or to make an object less threatening and more appealing.[1][2][3]

History[edit]

Five Weepuls in various colors

The name "googly eyes" may refer back to the early 20th century comic strip Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, in which Barney Google had characteristically exaggerated eyes that inspired a hit 1923 song "Barney Google (with the Goo-Goo-Googly Eyes)".[1]

They were prominently used in the Weepul promotional toys, invented by someone at a toy company who stuck googly eyes to a small pom-pom out of boredom. The inventor claimed that 400 million were sold between 1971 and 2012, and a similar toy called "Wuppies" was popular in the Netherlands in the 1980s.[4]

Beginning in the 2000s, a trend called "eyebombing" emerged of sticking googly eyes to objects in the urban environment.[5] The inspiration for the movement has been claimed by French artist Do Benracassa, in his 1980s project "Ça Vous Regarde".[6] It was then developed by two unnamed Danish artists, and a group called the Googly Eyes Foundation emerged to spread the phenomenon.[7][8]

The Guinness World Records recognises a pair of googly eyes measuring 12 feet (3.7 m) in diameter made in 2019 as the largest ever.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gotthardt, Alexxa (2 October 2018). "How Googly Eyes Became an Essential Part of Crafts". Artsy.net. Retrieved 21 April 2021.
  2. ^ Corkery, Michael (26 February 2020). "Should Robots Have a Face?". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 April 2021.
  3. ^ Tarantola, Andrew (22 May 2019). "Why putting googly eyes on robots makes them inherently less threatening". Engadget. Retrieved 21 April 2021.
  4. ^ Grundhauser, Eric (13 January 2017). "Rediscovering the Wonderful World of Weepuls". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 21 April 2021.
  5. ^ "Eyebombing: Using goggly eyes to bring objects to life". 20 December 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2021.
  6. ^ Nixie P, "The Origins of Eyebombing", Medium.com, 1 April 2020. Retrieved 6 May 2021
  7. ^ Martinez-Conde, Susana; Macknik, Stephen L. (1 May 2020). "Eyebomb Your Brain". Scientific American. Retrieved 21 April 2021.
  8. ^ Barnes, Sara (3 June 2017). "People Are Sticking Googly Eyes on Ordinary Street Objects Around the World". My Modern Met.
  9. ^ "Largest pair of googly eyes". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 21 April 2021.