How to Make a Model Eyeball Using a Styrofoam Ball

Attach a ping pong ball as the cornea in your model.
Attach a ping pong ball as the cornea in your model. (Image: Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Investigate the anatomy of vertebrate animal vision by making a model eyeball using a Styrofoam ball. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the eyeball is the round structure that houses the retina, which is made up of millions of light receptors that humans use to focus and see objects. The spherical piece of Styrofoam forms the entire eyeball and a model cornea is inserted into its center. The project is simple enough for beginner crafters or children.

Things You'll Need

  • White ping pong ball
  • Black and dark blue markers
  • Pencil
  • 6-inch wide Styrofoam ball
  • Knife
  • Fine artist paintbrush
  • Red acrylic paint

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Draw a pupil in the center of your white ping pong ball that is approximately one-half-inch wide using black marker. Draw a black circle as the pupil and then color it in.

Add lines for the iris extending all around the pupil roughly 2 inches long using a dark blue marker. The lines are roughly one-sixteenth-inch apart and are all around the pupil.

The pupil and iris make up the cornea.
The pupil and iris make up the cornea. (Image: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Draw a 1 1/2-inch circle in the center of your Styrofoam ball. Carve out the circle approximately 1-inch deep using a sharp knife. An adult needs to perform this task.

Insert your drawn ping pong ball into the hole. Face the pupil and iris outwards. Cut out more Styrofoam if needed to fit the ping pong ball into place. It needs to be almost flush to the surface of the Styrofoam ball.

Dip your fine artist paintbrush into red acrylic paint. Paint a group of red lines side-by-side 2 inches wide and 2 inches long for the medial rectus muscle. Form the lines so they are almost touching. Add similar grouping of lines on each side of the Styrofoam ball.

Tips & Warnings

  • Insert the model onto a 1/2-inch diameter dowel that is approximately 4 inches long to create a stand. Then glue the end of the dowel onto a square piece of wood roughly 4-by-4-by-1-inch.
  • Play-Doh can be added onto the Styrofoam ball to form the cornea and the red medial rectus muscles.


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