Adding Eye Color

Nymph-Head® tungsten beads are very versatile and provide the fly tier with the option to add color to the 3D “nymph eyes” on the finished fly. Adding color typically enhances the realistic effect of the eyes, but this is purely a personal choice and often depends on the pattern being tied and the end result that the tier is trying achieve.

Eye color can be added in a number of ways, but the most common method is by using a good quality, permanent, water-proof marker or an oil-based, fine tip paint marker or vinyl jig paint. Our personal preference is the DecoColor™ extra fine tip paint marker which is oil-based and leaves a realistic, glossy finish to the nymph eyes.

SallyHansenIn addition, we strongly recommend after completing the fly, to simply add a quick spot of Sally Hansen Hard-As-Nails to each eye to “seal-in” the color. As you know, Hard-As-Nails is very thin, transparent and will provide an extra layer of protection against abrasion during fishing.




In this example, we will be coloring the eyes of this Copper John in black

Adding Eye Color

Turn the fly in the vise, so the eye is facing upwards.

Carefully touch the paint market to the middle of the eye and hold in position for a split second.

Carefully touch the paint market to the middle of the eye and hold in position for a split second. Just barely touch (“dab”) the eye; do not try and “paint it.”


A paint bubble will immediately form over the molded eye, and nothing else is required. Turn the fly over and repeat on the other eye. Allow some time to dry and complete the fly by adding a spot of Sally Hansen Hard-As-Nails.

Notes on drying time:

When using a paint marker, best results are achieved if you leave the eyes to dry for a full 24 hrs as the oil-based enamel paint can take time to dry properly. The same goes for vinyl jig paint. When using a permanent, waterproof marker, the eyes will typically dry within a minute; however, the finish may not be as durable as a paint marker or jib paint.