DIY Conker Eyeballs!

Quick and easy autumn craft that’s perfect for Halloween.

These DIY conker eyeballs are a great way to use up those slowly-wrinkling conkers that the kids collect in the autumn.

A simple and fun autumn craft, it’s easy enough for preschoolers to do and gruesomely creative enough for big kids to enjoy too, which makes it a marvellous Halloween activity for siblings.

So whether they want to make zombie eyeballs or monster eyes, read on to get our top tips and tricks for this Halloween!

DIY conker eyeballs - perfect for an easy Halloween craft!
Use up their old conkers to make these spooky Halloween eyeballs with your kids!

Not got much time or just want the bullet points on how to make these? Click here for the Quick Read Instructions.

By the time October rolls around, my kids are in danger of being buried in an avalanche of all the conkers they’ve collected.

To avoid this fate, we’ve found all sorts of ways to make use of them, but at the end of October this simple autumn activity goes to the top of the pile, as it makes a wonderfully easy Halloween craft for kids to enjoy.

What’s more, we’ve found ways to make this a learning activity too, without spoiling any of the fun!

Cauldron full of DIY conker eyeballs for a fun kids Halloween activity.
A cauldron full of monster eyes makes the perfect Halloween decoration!

The eyes have it…

I love using this Halloween activity as an opportunity to sneak in a little learning along the way! So before we started making our monster eyeballs, we had a quick chat about the different parts of the eye.

We looked into each others eyes, naming the pupil, iris and sclera (the whites of your eye). We also described their shape and the colours we could see.

This is a great way to help develop observation skills as well as adding to their knowledge and understanding. All by simply looking at an eye and describing what they see, then using that in their art.

DIY conker eyeballs with wand and potion bottles.
A witches brew of eyeballs – perfect Halloween decor.

You could leave it at that, but when you’re making conker eyeballs, you might want to show the kids’ different kinds of eyes too. A quick internet image search will bring up loads of fantastic eye pictures to look at.

Our favourites were cuttlefish, goats, geckoes, frogs, mantis shrimp, horses, reptiles, cats, stingray, insects and owls as these all have amazing eyes which should give the kids plenty of inspiration.

Mine were fascinated to learn that cuttlefish have W-shaped pupils, for example.

Make a cauldron full of DIY conker eyeballs for a fun kids Halloween craft.
Colourful eyeballs make for great Halloween play resources.

I also found some great eye educational resources to help us look deeper into the sense of sight.

Check out my resources list at the bottom of the post for our favourite webpages, videos, books and apps for kids on the wonderful world of eyeballs. Who says Halloween can’t be educational?!

Instructions

These conker eyeballs are ridiculously simple to make. However, there are a few tricks to getting the most out of this spooky craft. This is how we made ours!

1. Paint the sclera (the whites of the eye!)

DIY conker eyeballs craft for kids - great for a bit of Halloween crafting!
The whites of the eye…

Start by painting white the rough part of a horse chestnut only. This white base coat will be the sclera or white part of their eyeballs.

DIY conker eyeball craft for kids -  autumn craft activity that's perfect for Halloween.
Appropriately enough for this craft, paint will stick best on the rough ‘eye’ of the conker.

If the kids want the whole of their conker eyeballs white, they will need to prep the conker with a coat of PVA glue first. This is because paint doesn’t stick very well to the shiny surface so will just flake off without the base coat.

Painting conkers to make DIY conker eyeballs - a quick and easy Halloween craft activity for kids!
This craft is a fine motor skill challenge for little ones!

To get a really thick and bright layer of white paint, the kids may need to do two coats. However it only took about ten minutes for the paint to dry enough for a second coat to be done.

So by the time we’d finished painting all of ours, the first ones were ready for painting again!

Autumn craft making DIY conker eyeballs - great for Halloween!
Smooth, white, paint just begging to be drawn on!

2. Paint the iris

Simple DIY conker eyeballs -  a great autumn and Halloween craft for kids.
Painting on the irises for our Halloween eyeballs!

Once the white paint is dry, get the kids to choose their conker eyeball iris colours.

Painting conkers to make DIY conker eyeballs. A spooky Halloween nature craft!
A Halloween eyeball rainbow…

We used paint for these, or alternatively the kids could do the iris with felt-tip pens, since they’ve got a nice, bright white background to draw on.

Kids autumn craft, DIY conker eyeballs that are perfect for Halloween!
Just like pupils, irises can be different shapes.

We made the irises of our DIY conker eyeballs all different shapes and colours. Some were oval, others round, or even square.

Autumn kids craft making DIY conker eyeballs for Halloween decorations.
Monster eyeballs, dragon eyes or zombie peepers – what will your kids make?

As with the white paint, we did a couple of coats to make sure that the irises had a solid, even, colour.

Once the last coat had been done, though, we gave our conker eyeballs a good, long time to dry fully before we added the final touches.

3. Add the pupil and details…

Make DIY conker eyeballs with the kids' autumn treasures
The final stage! Use felt tip pens to add the pupils and fine details.

Once the paint is completely dry, it’s time to add the final features. So use felt tip pens to draw in the eyeball pupil and any fine extra details the kids want to include.

Just as with our irises, we made the pupils of our conker eyeballs all different shapes.

Making DIY conker eyeballs - simple Halloween fun!
Use similar colours to add patterns to your irises.

We looked at pictures of cuttlefish, geckoes, goats and alligators for some real-life examples of pupils in nature that are particularly strange!

Colourful diy conker eyeballs for a fun autumn craft.
Studying pictures of real eyes will help kids find details they can add to their own Halloween eyeballs.

Felt tips work wonderfully for this final stage, as they allow the kids to add delicate details. We drew lines and rings of colour as well as adding our pupils to our conker eyeballs.

DIY conker eyeballs for Halloween decorations.
Eyeball soup, anyone?

And that’s it! All done – their wrinkly old conkers have been transformed into spooky conker eyeballs, perfect for Halloween!


What to do with your conker eyeballs…

We’ve made bowlfuls of these conker eyeballs to use as Halloween decorations, ingredients in a bit of witchy caldron pretend play, or to thread together to make a ghoulish DIY conker eyeball necklace.

If you want to thread yours on string too, it’s easier if you make the holes BEFORE you decorate them, to avoid damaging the eye art.

We used our (affiliate link alert!) kids conker drills and holder to make the holes. These are great little hand tools that allow kids to make holes in the horse chestnuts safely, all by themselves.

We bought our set for playing conkers, but have ended up using for all sorts of crafts and makes!

Bowl of conkers and hand drill to bore holes for a necklace of conker eyeballs.
We LOVE our conker drills! Makes making a hole a cinch.

The fascinating world of eyeballs…

There are some great resources around that will help you and your kids delve further into all that’s weird and wonderful about eyes. Here are our favourites:

Pin for later!

Want to bookmark this DIY conker eyeballs project for later? Save this post to Pinterest!

Autumn craft for kids making DIY conker eyeballs - a plastic-free Halloween activity!
Go plastic-free this Halloween and get the kids using up their old conkers to make all-natural spooky monster eyeballs!
Easy autumn craft making DIY conker eyeballs for a fantastic Halloween activity.
A witches broth… eyeball soup!
DIY conker eyeballs - quick and easy, and perfect for Halloween!
Hubble, bubble, Eyeball Trouble!

More autumn activities

Looking for more fun things to make and do with the kids? Check out these great activities!

Paper fireworks craft for kids - making hand kites
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Quick read instructions!

Conker Eyeballs
A quick and easy autumn craft for kids that’s perfect for halloween. 

  1. Research what eyes look like…

    Look at pictures of geckoes, crocodiles, goats, cuttlefish, and people to see what shapes, colours, and patterns eyes can be. Identify the sclera (whites), iris and pupil of the eye.

    Time to make your own!

  2. Drill holes

    If you are planning to make a necklace of your conker eyeballs, drill holes before you start decorating the conkers. Otherwise, go straight to the next step!

  3. Paint the sclera

    Use white paint to cover the rough part of the conker to look like the whites of an eye – you may need to do a couple of coats.

  4. Colour the irises

    Use colour paint to add the iris of the eye. Remember these can be different shapes and sizes as well as different colours!

  5. Add the pupils

    Use felt tip pens to add in a pupil at the centre of each eye. Just like the iris, pupils can be different shapes, colours and sizes.

  6. Draw in the final details

    Use fine felt tip pens to draw in lines and patterns on the iris, just like those seen in your eye research.

    And you’re done!

DIY conker eyeballs - a great preschool Halloween art activity.
Painting conkers to make conker eyeballs.
DIY conker eyeballs for Halloween!
Whites of the eyes all painted up, ready for irises and pupils…
DIY conker eyeballs make fabulous Halloween decorations, and are easy enough for preschoolers to make!
Any colour, as long as it’s spooky…
DIY conker eyeballs - perfect for Halloween
All done… DIY conker eyeballs!

14 Comments

  1. What an absolutely brilliant idea, we had a whole jar full of conkers! I love your photos, the flat lay looks fab. Very effective!

  2. omg those look so amazing! At first, I was wondering what there were! And it seems so fun to do too!

  3. Well done you guys! These are brilliant. They are so colourful yet creepy. A fantastic idea for all those conkers.

  4. These are amazing! We have so many conkers the kids have collected so this would be perfect!

  5. I love it!! We have so many bags of conkers, and not just from this years crop!! This would be perfect to do with my three

  6. This is cool! And looks like so much fun. We have bags full of confers. Going to try this out with my 7yo

  7. Amazing craft for Halloween. This would be wonderful for the doorstep when trick or treaters arrive!

  8. Oh this is a great idea!! And they look so effective! we’re home educators so Im going to remember this when we start to learn about the human body, great learning prompt.

  9. What a great activity to do with children – and thank you for the resources/links too. I’ve learnt something knew today as I didn’t know sclera was the proper name for the white part of my eye.

  10. These are brilliant! I would never have thought to do something like this with conkers! Awesome!

  11. Oh my gosh… what a fantastic idea! I wish I had seen this sooner. We have a whole heap of conkers and I’ve been trying to work out what to do with them 🙂

  12. These have come out so well I’m so impressed! I’m so glad the little ones really get their hands into! Please exploit their imagination to their maximum! I’d love to see where it takes them as grown ups!

  13. Oh wow! This one is a winner. I would love to try making this. My boys would probably dig this.

  14. I absolutely love this idea and the results are so impressive. I’ll definitely try these next year. Your pictures are beautiful x

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