For painting eyes on my flies I use fabric paint. It can be found in most arts or crafts stores or ordered online. Tulip is my favorite brand but other brands will serve you equally well. The most common colors for eyes are yellow (and sometimes red) for the iris and black for the pupil. (The instructions below use yellow and black.) Applying fabric paint eyes is a simple process. Here’s how I go about it:
1. With at least five or six flies ready (I never do just one fly—it’s too time-consuming), squeeze out some yellow fabric paint onto an index card or some other piece of paper.
2. Dip the striking end of a wooden kitchen match head into your yellow paint and apply a circle of paint directly to each side of the head. Let dry. This takes about half an hour, depending on how thickly the paint is applied.
3. When the yellow paint has dried, squeeze out a small amount of black paint onto your index card and dip the thin (non-striking) end of the match stick into the paint and apply a small black circle of paint in the middle of the yellow circle. Let dry for about fifteen minutes or so (since less paint is used to form this pupil, it will dry more quickly).
Sometimes, if the paint is too thick, you will notice that your painted circles are not rounded and smooth but have little “horns” or points to them. If this is the case, press them between your thumb and forefinger and squeeze them flat.
4. When the paint is completely dry, apply another coat of head cement over the eyes and the head area to increase sheen, hardness and durability. Let dry and fish.