Eye Contact Owl

I don’t post as much handicraft on this blog as I used to (it’s mostly on my instagram account with fewer words now), but I wanted to share my new handmade owl. He solves a genuine problem: how to make eye contact with your webcam.


The Idea

I see a lot of people looking at another screen or some space below the webcam and for a built-in laptop webcam, it’s genuinely difficult to look up at the webcam rather than at the video of a person you are talking to, and I don’t think anyone minds.

Where it really matters though is when you are presenting slides to a meeting or online conference. There’s nothing to look at and so you … don’t. It’s weird for the audience and I wanted to make myself somethin gthat could help.

I’ve seen some excellent hacks (I think this with the post-it notes is my favourite and it’s a great article too) and I wanted something. So I thought about it and ended up quite quickly at “owl”. They have big eyes to make eye contact with and they’re not a complicated shape to create!

Ingredients and method

Using PVA glue, I stuck a piece of leftover fabric from another project to a bit of amazon box (I’d already traced an owl so I knew what size I was aiming for). Apply heavy book, wait for that to dry.

Then I cut out two sizes of felt circles for eyes (they’re not very circular, I don’t think the owl minds) and also made a beak. I found two matching buttons but I’m sure that more felt would have also looked fine here. More glue! Assemble face, and put cardboard on top (to protect the buttons) and put the heavy book back. Wait for that to dry; luckily it was a long weekend and I had time for waiting for things to dry.

Finally, glue two tufts and an ordinary wooden clothes peg to the back of the cardboard at an angle that amuses you. I was worried about the heavy book bending the cardboard since it no longer had a flat side so I put a couple more pegs (without glue) alongside the glued peg and stood the glue pot on top to give it some weight without crushing it.

And there you have it, the secret to video calls, online presentations, and the obligatory lockdown family zoom calls! Let me know if you make your own? Mine is pretty lonely by himself.

Also published on Medium.

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