This is an inspiration from two sources. So you might get the general idea of the effect the inspiration came from the eyes at the end of Pirates of the Caribbean that glowed out as if watching you. The other inspiration was from Disney's own animation of animals in the forestwatching from the dark recesses. All you see are the eyes of all sorts, sizes and heights blinking in wonderment of you. It would be a good effect for the Disney parks at night. Picture your own jungle Cruise, or Tom Sawyer Island somewhere beside your pool area and imagine....

Note: Since this project uses electricity, young children should be monitored by adults when building this project.

Difficulty: Intermediate hobbiest

Parts List


Building Instructions


Always keep bare wires apart from each other so the will not short and always unplug the AC when connecting wires so you will not short circuit or shock yourself.

  1. Decide how many and what kind of eyes you would like to have peering out from the darkness.
  2. Take a cigar box and a pencil and draw a couple of eyes making sure to keep them roughly the same size and kind on the center of the lid top.
  3. Carefully cut out the eyes.
  4. Drill a hole on the edge of the box large enough to get a christmas tree light socket in.
  5. Spray the entire outside area, not the inside, with the flat black paint and set aside to dry.
  6. Make sure the christmas tree cord is unplugged.
  7. Cut the plugs off the ends of the christmas tree cord to prevent possible accidental use in the future.
  8. Cut a socket out from the christmas tree cord leaving six inches of wire to connect to power cord.
  9. Insert socket into hole on end of box carefully affixing the wires with a few staples. Be sure not to short the wires or put a staple end into the copper part of the wire.
  10. Carefully staple or screww a stake onto the back of the cigar box to the height you would like the eyes to be peering at you and your guests.
  11. Should you want the eyes to be of the bulbs purest color:
    1. Cut a piece of white plastic to cover the eye holes from the inside.
    2. Glue in place over the eye holes on the inside.
  12. After you have designed your show and know where the darkest recesses are and exactly how many and what kind of creature eyes you need and how they are to be arranged and where, and they are finished, gently stake them into the ground, or, better still, dig a hole and bury stake end, or, for that matter, set them on what ever would work for your illusion.
  13. Insert socket wires into clamp on plug and clamp on. What you end up with are the eye boxes on stakes arranged in the ground with plugs dangling below.
  14. Bring extention cords out, plug your eyes in.
  15. You've now imagineered your eyes in the darkness scene.


Splicing 110 volt electric cords is fairly dangerous so we have suggested the power plugs. If you specialize in wiring you could bring your power in direct instead.

Goes great with fireflies. Get those party invitations out!
Backyard Imagineer: Tim Carter

In 1976 I leaned over the railing just before the Pirates exit and, using a micrometer, measured the wire running up the tree branch to the firefly that used to hang there. It was a thin gauge of magnet wire, commonly available in hobby stores. I also photographed, using a flash, the fan on the ground below it that blew that firefly. It wasn't a regular fan but a centrifugal blower (squirrel cage type) of the type that is used in air conditioning units. In May 2002 I saw one of the firefly fans clearly silhouetted in side view against the blue sky of the Blue Bayou. This time it looked like a regular shrouded fan, and was no longer carefully hidden among plastic ferns as the blowers used to be. The wire attached to the fireflies used to be bent to make the light bounce more (this could be clearly seen at the top of the up-waterfall, when the fireflies became silhouetted against the brighter lights behind them), but recently I noticed that the fireflies don't bounce as much as they used to, and the NightShot option on my camera showed that at least one of the hanging wires was straighter than before.
NOTE: Mark Atkins 31 MAY 02

The wire used for the Blue Bayou fireflies in the 1970s was insulated copper magnet wire that was .011 inches in diameter.
NOTE: Mark Atkins 31 MAY 02

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