The peppers have eyes
July 9, 2012 8:48 AM   Subscribe

1) Big, round, colorful vegetables are starting to grow in my wife's garden. 2) She'll be gone for the next two weekends. 3) I've got a bag of 1000 googly eyes. Question: How can I make this prank work without ruining her harvest?

I need the eyes to stick to the veggies in a way that they'll stay on but that can also be easily removed without damaging the fruit/veggies. It should leave no residue once removed.

What sorts of adhesives are there that would work? Googling for "Food safe adhesive" seems to turn up stuff to be used on cooking tools rather than the food itself.

The eyes in question are peel-and-stick, but I'm worried that the adhesive will be too sticky and also maybe not food safe.

Also, whatever I use can't attracts pests. So something like corn syrup would be a bad thing.

#1 priority is not destroying the fruit. #2 is hilarity.

Unless there's no possible safe way to pull this off please don't tell me it's a bad idea. I know my wife. This is a great idea. Possibly the greatest idea.
posted by bondcliff to Food & Drink (95 answers total) 93 users marked this as a favorite
Could you pin or tack them to the veggies? Maybe if you glue the eyes to thumbtacks and then stick those in the veggies? I'm no gardener but the small hole from the tack might not spoil or ruin the fruit and that way you don't have to worry about any adhesive.
posted by Aizkolari at 8:51 AM on July 9, 2012

So the greatest idea. Can you limit the eyes to veggies that would be peeled before eating? Even if not, and you have to slice off the bit that the eyes were stuck to before preparing, I'm sure that it is worth it for the sake of hilarity.

We did this to my daughter's bedroom while she slept one April Fool's Day, and it was the hardest I've ever heard her laugh.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:53 AM on July 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Don't tack them into the veggies themselves! Maybe, maybe, into a stem/vine, but not the veggie.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:54 AM on July 9, 2012 [9 favorites]

I have used the self-adhesive googly eyes on food items and no one died from eating the ungooglyed food items later on. Are these not the peel n stick googly eyes?

Egg whites are pretty sticky when they dry but idk what kind of hideous creatures that might attract.
posted by elizardbits at 8:54 AM on July 9, 2012 [5 favorites]

Wheat paste might hold the eyes on for a bit, it's just flour and water. Buy an eggplant or something to experiment on.
posted by glip at 8:55 AM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh! Or just stick them to the leaves or stem immediately adjacent to the veg. This would be more in keeping with the Christopher Walken approach anyway.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:58 AM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Could you stick the googly eyes to a dark piece of gardening twine and tie it around the vegetables? It probably won't show up from a distance, and you could pass it off as "correctional vegetable eyewear".
posted by fight or flight at 8:58 AM on July 9, 2012 [5 favorites]

I wouldn't worry about it. The adhesive would wash off easily in water, and lots of what you'd glue them to would be peeled, or have the outside removed.

Must see pictures when you are done!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:59 AM on July 9, 2012 [27 favorites]

How to make glue with flour and water

Plain old Elmer's Glue is pretty much non-toxic, and is water-soluble. It might not be great for tomatoes or other fruits/veggies with soft skin, but it would work fine for melons or squash.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:00 AM on July 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

Don't puncture the skin, the fruit starts going bad at that spot and will result in at minimum a blemish.
posted by Mitheral at 9:00 AM on July 9, 2012 [8 favorites]

Please, no thumbtacks or pins on the veggies themselves! I am a backyard gardener myself and if I came home to my various fruits and vegetables with thumbtacks on them I would be so horrified I absolutely would not notice any hilarity with respect to the googly eyes. I'd also be wary of piercing the vines or stems in any way.

I am wondering if food grade paraffin wax might work, but I would only do that for vegetables with hard rinds or with peels that will be peeled off before eating.
posted by needled at 9:00 AM on July 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

buy a bunch of black pipe cleaners. Glue googly eyes to pipe cleaners. Arrange resulting googly glasses on tomatoes as desired.
posted by xbonesgt at 9:02 AM on July 9, 2012 [13 favorites]

Superglue: it's non-toxic when it dries, you can use an insanely tiny amount of it, it'll definitely help them stick, and it shouldn't attract any hungry critters.
posted by julthumbscrew at 9:02 AM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I see fight or flight beat me to it. Seconding that answer, then!
posted by xbonesgt at 9:03 AM on July 9, 2012

Response by poster: Yeah, not gonna puncture the skin. Veggies are mostly tomatoes (still green), peppers, snow peas, lettuce and some other stuff. Lots of fragile stuff.

Hadn't thought about twine. Might be a bit too much work though.

I'd rather not use the adhesive already on the eyes. They're meant to be permanent and I really don't want them to be difficult to remove. You know how they put stickers on fruit and veggies at the supermarket now? I want them to be less sticky than that.

I want them to stick as long as I need them to stick, yet come off effortlessly. Like Lego.

Flour/water might work but won't the starch attract various bugs?

Seriously, she'll appreciate this only if there are no negative effects.

Worst case I only do a few sacrificial veggies, but I'm really enjoying the idea of her walking into the Garden to find everything in it staring at her.
posted by bondcliff at 9:07 AM on July 9, 2012

The self-adhesive googly eyes will be fine. All the fruit and veggies will be washed before eating, right? When I buy fruit and veggies from the market they have stickers on them.
posted by Joh at 9:07 AM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Just chiming in to say YES, it is the greatest idea. And to second Elmers glue. Please post pics!
posted by paindemie at 9:08 AM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

I just saw your update. OK, how about wrapping the fruit/veggies in some kind of saran wrap and sticking the eyes to that?
posted by Joh at 9:08 AM on July 9, 2012

OOOOH! How about... get two Post-It Notes. Stick 'em together (non-sticky side to non-stick side) with double-sided tape. Cut out teeny squares/circles from the sticky part of them - basically, you'd be making double-sided dots of Post-It adhesive, which comes off VERY easily!
posted by julthumbscrew at 9:08 AM on July 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

Glue Dots might work for this. You can find them at craft stores (Joann Fabrics, Michael's, Hobby Lobby), and you might be able to snag some from Target. They're used to temporarily affix things to other things without damaging either of said things.

The consistency is weird... kind of like a silicone-y booger. They should be somewhat water-resistant, as long as you put them on when the veggies are dry. Seriously, I think this is your best option.

Also: amazing idea. I have a huge vegetable garden, and I would be so happy/excited/surprised if my husband did this.
posted by shiggins at 9:11 AM on July 9, 2012 [14 favorites]

They're meant to be permanent and I really don't want them to be difficult to remove.


I have just stuck one to my face in order to cover up a huge zit. (Please do not demand photos.) I then peeled it off with less skin irritation than removing a band-aid.

I am now scared of your brand of googly eyes.
posted by elizardbits at 9:12 AM on July 9, 2012 [25 favorites]

Seconding that anything that pierces a hole through the veggie skin is a terrible idea. That lets bacteria into the fruit, lets moisture out, speeds up rot, and is in general awful.

If these veggies were basically ripe, I'd just use the peel-n-stick of the eyes themselves. It doesn't matter if the glue is food-safe, it's really just a half-inch area that gets trimmed off, and if her garden is anything like my garden, *nothing* is so perfect you don't have to trim an occasional spot off it.

If these are greener veggies, maybe I can see that you'd be attaching eyes this weekend for effect, and then she may unstil them and let the veggies ripen and maybe you'll harvest them in a month or so. So then I can see why you'd want something removable (else the eyes will stay on for a month while things ripen) and non-toxic (since in a month you'll have no idea what was in contact with the glue). Maybe beeswax, warmed just enough that it's sticky? Maybe produce stickers rolled up to make a double-stick loop?

Oh, just saw the mention of post-it notes. Go to the store and look for a temporary adhesive glue stick. Most things in the school section are non-toxic on the assumption that kids will eat it. I know they make a Post-it brand glue stick.
posted by aimedwander at 9:12 AM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Nthing Elmer's. Harmless stuff that most cootie-ridden American boys* have eaten plenty of by the time they finish third grade, and it will soften and wash off without harming tender tomato skins.

*I'm looking at you, Eric Lewis.
posted by headnsouth at 9:13 AM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

If they are mostly soft fruit, then I'd put them on pipe cleaners, wrap pipe cleaner around the stem, so it looks like eyes on stalks.
posted by tilde at 9:13 AM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Scotch tape. Little tiny rolls of Scotch tape. Do it the night before.
posted by amtho at 9:31 AM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is hilarious! Tacky-wax might work.
posted by marimeko at 9:33 AM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

I was going to suggest fondant icing, but just a glue stick sounds plausible to me.
posted by daisystomper at 9:34 AM on July 9, 2012

How about using googly eye stickers instead? As a bonus, you'd also have an entire bag of googly eyes to use on the kitchen appliances the following weekend.
posted by susanvance at 9:36 AM on July 9, 2012 [7 favorites]

i wonder if xanthan or guar gum could make a mildly sticky paste? i am pretty sure they wouldn't attract pests and i know they are sticky enough to thicken sauces or hold gluten-free baked goods together.
posted by nevers at 9:36 AM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Can you test Elmer's glue, the googly eye adhesive, etc etc today, on one veggie (of each type?) and try to remove in a few days? A sacrificial veggie, for the greater good.
posted by teragram at 9:40 AM on July 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: I am now scared of your brand of googly eyes.

I admit I'm probably over-thinking this, but I am a believer in the "do no harm" school of pranks. My wife puts a TON of effort into her garden every year so I am trying to be very cautious about damage*. I also want her, once she has a big laugh, to see that the eyes will come off without any trouble.

I can see it now, it's gonna go like this:

"Ha ha! I do declare this to be the most whimsical gag of the season! Wait... if that knucklehead ruined my veggies I will murder him tonight when he sleeps."

Anything more than a simple flick to remove them and I'm gonna get murdered when I sleep. Or at the very least a few dozen live scorpions left in my underwear drawer.

*but not so cautious that I'm gonna pass up an opportunity to pull this off.
posted by bondcliff at 9:44 AM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Your resolved tag had better come accompanied by photographs of the Cross Eyed Garden.

Can you stick the eyes on the green leafy bits on tops of tomatoes?
posted by infini at 9:50 AM on July 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

Poster tack!

Denture adhesive? It's made for your mouth, so it's non-toxic, but I don't know how well it would come off, having never used it.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:51 AM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

How about Blu-Tack? Should be sticky enough for temporary stickage, and leaves no reside.
posted by The otter lady at 9:52 AM on July 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

This is an absolutely amazing prank. I may have to partially steal your idea and do this with the stuff in the fridge sometime.

I would also suggest Elmer's glue. Leave the paper backing on the googly eyes, put a tiny drop of glue on your fingertip, roll it around some, and smear just a thin film of it on the paper, then stick to the veggie. It won't flick right off, but the next time she waters them or it rains they'll come off easily. Just don't mash them on; use as little surface area as possible.

This may not work with the lettuce though. Maybe the lettuce needs pipe-cleaner glasses? Lettuce heads are known for their poor distance vision, don't you know.

Alternately, sticky tack, of the variety used in elementary schools. It may not hold up to two weeks of overnight dew and/or watering/rain though. But as long as whatever it's trying to stick to is dry, you can't do much better.
posted by Urban Winter at 9:53 AM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Sorry for the double-post... Just had an interesting idea that would work even better - Vaseline. Wipes right off when you're done. It's non-porous of course, so you may need to go about with napkins quickly wiping the leftover oil off, but it won't damage the veggies at all. No need to slather it on either.
posted by Urban Winter at 9:56 AM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Vaseline would melt away really fast in the summer heat, though, wouldn't it? Or at least become unacceptably liquidy.
posted by elizardbits at 9:57 AM on July 9, 2012

Eyelash glue might work pretty well. It peels off harmlessly into little balls of goo not unlike eye boogers, and it obvsly non-toxic because eyeballs.
posted by elizardbits at 9:59 AM on July 9, 2012 [17 favorites]

Double-sided tape, specifically the removable type. Though when we used this accidentally for a poster board science project, all the little pieces started falling off as it was carried into school. So maybe get a roll of regular, and a spare tomato from the grocery store and experiment a bit.
posted by CathyG at 9:59 AM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Go to the supermarket. Buy a pound of tomatoes. Stick on some googly eyes. Wait an hour and then see how hard they are to remove. If they are too destructive, try sticking them to your produce with olive oil (or, yes, Vaseline - great idea.)
posted by DarlingBri at 9:59 AM on July 9, 2012 [12 favorites]

I can see it now, it's gonna go like this:

"Ha ha! I do declare this to be the most whimsical gag of the season! Wait... if that knucklehead ruined my veggies I will murder him tonight when he sleeps."

If you are concerned about risking certain death at the hands of your beloved gardener, then maybe randomly placed googly-eyed vegetables would be a better option than the full crop. Choose less-than-perfect fruits and leaves to adorn, and have them surprise her as she goes out to harvest.
posted by headnsouth at 10:21 AM on July 9, 2012

I like the pipe cleaner idea, but instead of glasses I'm thinking stalk-eyes... like this terrible illustration I just made.
posted by yarrow at 10:40 AM on July 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

I recommend corn syrup as an adhesive, a thin coat applied with a cotton swab.
posted by mskyle at 10:42 AM on July 9, 2012

Stick the googly eyes to the back of your hand first, then to the vegetables. It'll take some of the bite off the adhesive. You can always buy a test tomato and make sure first. (I use the same technique when I'm doing nail art - if I'm using tape or stickers as masks I stick them to the back of my hand to get them a little oily before touching it to my base polish.)

As a gardener, I would rather you went low-intervention like that then added an extra layer of pest-drawing glue or corn syrup.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:46 AM on July 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

Jello is a excellent adhesive and washes off.

Regular Elmer's white glue is also entirely food safe and will also wash off.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 10:51 AM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Specifically removable glue dots (the package says what kind you're getting, but watch for it). If you apply it firmly to the eyes first and then more gently to the veg it should work nicely. The texture of glue dots is similar to the stretchy adhesive you get on a mailer which has something (a card or similar) that's meant to be removed. Since they're preformed dots, it will be significantly easier than trying to work with a liquid glue.
posted by anaelith at 10:54 AM on July 9, 2012

I would use frosting. It won't last forever, but it's edible. Biggest problem would be rain. But frosting or some kind of sticky syrup made of sugar and water.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 11:20 AM on July 9, 2012

You can make paste from corn starch and water. It will just rinse off. I know this because my mother in law used it to glue bows to my bald newborn's head. Would have been way cooler if she had glued on a bunch of googly eyes!
posted by Nickel Pickle at 11:20 AM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

There's a type of tape called drafting tape. Back in Ye Olde Days of Graphic Design Pasteup, you used it to tack stuff down temporarily. When you were out of drafting tape, you used regular tape that you'd stuck to your clothes, then peeled off. The tiny bits of lint on the tape kept it from being too sticky.

Sounds (to me) like the easiest thing to do do would be to use the adhesive that's already on the back of your peel-n-stick googly eyes. Just stick them to your t-shirt or whatever before you stick 'em on the veggies. Yes, test first (on store-bought veg), if you're worried.

Nthing this is the most hilarious thing ever, and please! post photos.
posted by mon-ma-tron at 11:21 AM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hey, every fruit and veg. at every supermarket has a little sticker on it !
I guess it's just a regular sticker ? Probably the same kind that your google eyes have on the back for sticking these eyes to the right places .
.... and I love your idea !
posted by Oli D. at 11:32 AM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Painters tape? Use a hole punch to punch out little circles of it, then stick the googly sticky side to the back of the tape, then stick the easily removed tape dot onto the fruit. The stickiest stuff won't touch the fruit.
posted by cecic at 11:49 AM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

corn syrup
posted by rhizome at 12:10 PM on July 9, 2012

posted by The corpse in the library at 12:31 PM on July 9, 2012

I'd use the adhesive on the eyes -- but stick them to your shirt, first. The fuzz will make them less tacky, but they should still have enough "umph" to them to stay on.
posted by chowflap at 12:56 PM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Make sure that you do the test run with the vegetable in the sun. Some things will melt right away and others might get glued on there for good.
posted by barnone at 1:07 PM on July 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Elmers school paste is clearly edible (why else would they attach a serving utensil to the cap?)
posted by vespabelle at 1:10 PM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

There is also the restickable glue -- basically it's a glue stick that can make any piece of paper into a sticky note. No clue if it's foodsafe. Poster putty is also an option.

Would love to see the finished garden of eyes!
posted by barnone at 1:13 PM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

People, sugar outside in a garden - "that's how we get ants!" Plus the OP specifically forbade this (as he is wise.)

Best prank ever. I can't wait to see the outcome. Have your minion ready with the camera when she walks outside for the first time.
posted by canine epigram at 1:21 PM on July 9, 2012

I am here to second food safe wax. It's on most vegetables we get at the store anyway, and the adhesive will stick to it and then be able to be removed. I believe this is why fruit stickers are so easily removed.
posted by gjc at 1:34 PM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Apparently you can get paper eye stickers, should be okay like store food stickers. I understand your reluctance to use googly eye glue. If you can't find specific paper eye stickers, a stationary shop should have dots, various colours, and you can draw a variety of eyes on.
posted by b33j at 1:44 PM on July 9, 2012

Y'all are making this too complicated...I love the pipe cleaner suggestions. That way you're gluing inorganic things to other inorganic things. And you won't be checking (i.e., trampling) the garden looking for fallen eyes. AND THE BEST PART??? You'll have tons of reusable pipe cleaner glasses of various sizes!!

I also don't like the thought of little critters running off with the plastic eyes in the night. But if they're attached to glass frames and some little creature decides it MUST have 'em, well, power to the coolest critter in the yard!
posted by iamkimiam at 2:03 PM on July 9, 2012

I'm passionate about my vegies and wouldn't have a qualm at all about you sticking googlies on them with the original stickum on the backs of the eyes.

Roundish and elongated stuff is going to look best with eyes--tomatoes, peppers, eggplant--Please, please, don't forget the zucchini! (Surely you have some zucchini?) Any of those things won't have a problem with the stickum, as you can just slip a knife under the eyes and peel off two little pieces of the outer skin. I wouldn't think you'd do ALL the vegies anyway--for me it would be funnier to occasionally see eyes peering out from the vines, etc. I wouldn't do the peas--but you could find little rocks, decorate, and hid them among the pea vines.

I must decorate the zucchini Friday, then ask DH and the neighbor to pick for me while I'm gone next week--hehe.
posted by BlueHorse at 2:34 PM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Sugar will attract all sorts of pests. Toothpaste is a mild abrasive. The suggestion of tacks is utterly horrifying, it's outright damage to the vegetable and is like a "enter" sign for pests and disease for the plant. Oh my god.

I think that if you stick the googly eye to yourself before sticking it to the veg, you'll probably be fine. Wax would also be a good choice. Nthing to just do some test veggies from the supermarket.
posted by desuetude at 2:39 PM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Denture adhesive? It's made for your mouth, so it's non-toxic,

FDA page on denture adhesives, in particular the potential risks of adhesives containing zinc.
posted by radwolf76 at 3:18 PM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd go with Elmer's glue in a heartbeat- it dries brittle and can be cracked off or peeled with a fingernail or knife-- not too much labor at 2 glue-spots per veg.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:39 PM on July 9, 2012

Test your googly eyes on some bought-veges.

I too can testify that I have stuck googly-eyes on all sorts of things, and they have peeled off with absolutely no problems. Because they are raised, they peel off things far easier than fruit stickers do.

Again, if they stick to your bought-veges with unusual strength, then get different googly eyes. The adhesive is just plain sticker-adhesive generally.

Stick them on no earlier than the day before she gets back. The only possible damage I can think of stickers causing, is if you stick them on for say, a *week* or more, then you may get little dots of reverse-sunburn on the fruit. E.g. greenish dots on red tomatoes. And even that is not certain.
posted by Elysum at 4:16 PM on July 9, 2012

If you'd be sticking the day before she sees the garden, do your test so that it encompasses an overnight. Moisture condensation may affect sticking.
posted by lakeroon at 4:47 PM on July 9, 2012

Like Needled, I also thought of paraffin wax. (I did an internship in the late '90s where my boss still had a wax melting-and-applying gadget from Ye Olde Days of Graphic Design Pasteup. Apparently hot wax was another alternative to drafting tape.) You can find blocks of paraffin in the grocery store or in old-fashioned hardware stores, near the other home canning supplies. It releases from most surfaces with gentle sideways pressure from a thumbnail. But test it first on the skins of non-precious tomatoes.
posted by Orinda at 5:25 PM on July 9, 2012

Restickable Glue Stick, aka Post-It in a tube.

I've used this for years with my collage source material, and it's very versatile. It takes a tiny amount to keep lightweight material in place, yet has great staying power. I've used it to catalog extremely fragile ephemera and even years after the fact I can remove the pieces with no damage; I think it would work just as well with soft-skinned veggies.

Also, this is the greatest idea ever. If your plan backfires horribly I will marry you.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:40 PM on July 9, 2012 [6 favorites]

Googly eyes fall off all the time. I don't think you need to worry. If you're really concerned, do a test run.

Also... best thing ever!
posted by windykites at 11:27 PM on July 9, 2012

Make sure you especially get the potatoes!
posted by windykites at 11:28 PM on July 9, 2012

Response by poster: Wow. This thread really blew up!

I did a quick recon last night. There are actually fewer large ripe things than I thought. Some peppers, a few green tomatoes. There is no zucchini this year because every year we end up with 18 tons of zucchini and we don't have enough friends without their own zucchini or neighbors with zucchini and we can't get rid of it all so we end up like Johnny Depp in Blow only instead of stacks of cash in every closet we have zucchini and you can only make so much Disappearing Zucchini Orzo or Zucchini cookies or Zucchini Pasta or Zucchini ala Zucchini. So no zucchini this year.

Do you know if you write "zuccini" enough times it stops looking like a real word?

I'm leaning towards doing a long term guerrilla approach rather than a full scale assault. I think she's gone until Tuesday so weather permitting I'll have a chance to attack Monday evening. I'll try to post some pictures.

So far I think reducing the stickiness of the eyes might be the easiest thing to do. I like the wax idea but that seems like too much effort. Elmers glue sounds pretty harmless but there might be a momentary panic when she finds out they're glued on. I want to avoid that. I'll be able to test some things out this weekend.

Did I just get a marriage proposal in this thread?
posted by bondcliff at 6:27 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Here's a plan. Don't do it to her veggies at all. Go to the market and buy whatever you like: peppers, squash, coconuts, etc. Put the eyes on those and put the now sighted commercial veggies in the garden.

My guess is the adhesive is non-toxic. Goggly eyes are something we give to kids and kids eat things. We generally design things that kids eat to not kill them.

I've never heard of a single person even being made sick by goggly eye consumption and you know it's happened.
posted by chairface at 10:16 AM on July 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

I have stuck a googly eye directly to my tongue. For science.

I will report back with any adverse reactions.
posted by elizardbits at 10:45 AM on July 10, 2012 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: Pictures, please!

I'm not concerned that the googly eyes will be toxic. I'm concerned that the glue will damage the sensitive skin of the ripe vegetables when the eye is removed. Even removing stickers from tomatoes purchased at the grocery store has proven difficult in my experience.

Seriously, folks, my wife knows where to buy scorpions!
posted by bondcliff at 10:56 AM on July 10, 2012

Last fall I had an enormous sweet potato vine that had climbed all over my front porch. So naturally, at Halloween I did the only sensible thing. I got a couple of styrofoam balls, drew pupils on them with a sharpie, and stuck them in the middle of the plant with floral wire. Et voila - Potato Monster. Tragically, we were hit by a tremendous hailstorm that very night, and we were left with this poor sad creature. That was more upsetting to me than the roof damage.

Anyway - this might be an easy, non-destructive option for you for any big green leafy plants that don't have ripe veggies on them. Just check the weather forecast first.
posted by Dojie at 11:38 AM on July 10, 2012 [9 favorites]

Dojie that potato monster is awesome!
posted by headnsouth at 11:41 AM on July 10, 2012

Did I just get a marriage proposal in this thread?

Seriously, folks, my wife knows where to buy scorpions!

Get in line folks, no shoving.
posted by infini at 11:43 AM on July 10, 2012

It tastes like old envelopes.
posted by elizardbits at 11:54 AM on July 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

If you really want to play it safe, you could:
1. Buy veggies from store
2. Attach googly eyes to store-bought veggies
3. Profit! Place googly-eyed, store-bought veggies prominently throughout garden

Might not have the same impact as putting googly eyes right on the garden veggies, but this will prevent damage.

(Although I prefer the idea mentioned a couple of times of wearing down the stickiness of the googly eyes and putting them right on the garden veggies.)

Have fun! Hope you share photos!

(BTW, if your wife is on metafilter, you might want to start checking your sock drawer for those scorpions...)

Gah! On preview: What chairface said!
posted by agog at 1:43 PM on July 10, 2012

Recommended soundtrack while you work: Caspar Babypants.
posted by anthill at 3:35 PM on July 10, 2012

I can now confirm I stuck some googly eyes to a tomato, and they were picked off easily both immediately, and a few hours later.
They were the kind with little raised plastic domes, smaller than a pencil diameter, and they flicked off really easily.
I empathise with the Fruit sticker issue. They are so flat, you have to slide a nail under. These were no problem.

So, as I said above, unless you have some really odd googly eyes, just do a trial run with them.

If for some reason, googly eyes is actually code for something else which does not already have sticker adhesive, use low-grade double sided sticky tape, with a corner tucked up on the googly-eye/other object, so you can peel it off again.

Pictures! Damn. Just occured to me I should have taken pictures (seemed a bit superfluous, honestly). If you want, I could repeat the experiment tonight.
posted by Elysum at 4:21 PM on July 10, 2012

I'm sure someoneneeds to post googly eye pictures!
posted by BlueHorse at 4:50 PM on July 10, 2012

bondcliff: "Did I just get a marriage proposal in this thread"

Just to be clear, I was not proposing, merely suggesting a Plan B. Please do not release the scorpions.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:30 PM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

There is an entire blog of googly eyes attached to things, including food:
Pictures galore

Google images can confirm that many, many people have got to "putting googly eyes on tomatoes" before me. :)
posted by Elysum at 8:14 PM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by elizardbits at 8:34 AM on July 11, 2012 [4 favorites]

Well it's probably too late, but the answer seems obvious.

Cut circles of sticky parts of post-it notes the size of the eyes, stick the eye to the paper, and use the post-it gum on the vegetable. That gum was boiling right before it was put on the paper, and it's famous for sticking to the note and not the stuck surface.
posted by SlyBevel at 12:43 PM on July 12, 2012

doublestick tape. It's about as sticky as veggie stickers.
posted by theora55 at 6:05 PM on July 14, 2012

Edible eyes!
posted by illenion at 9:34 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Just an update: Last Thursday I was picking some veggies, with every intention of installing the eyes when I was done. Unfortunately, my wife's army or trained yellow jackets was on alert and I got stung on the ear. I attempted another penetration later on, to pick some basil, but I was somewhat shellshocked and the buzzing of more bees drove me away.

It will be a couple of weeks before I get another chance to attack but I'll post an update when I do.
posted by bondcliff at 7:05 AM on July 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

Updates, please!
posted by ocherdraco at 3:08 AM on November 6, 2012

Response by poster: Sadly, no update. The garden is done for the winter. There is always next year, and it's possibly some of the Christmas ornaments will end up with googly eyes, but the tomatoes will have to wait.

This feels like a much bigger failure than it really is.
posted by bondcliff at 7:50 AM on November 28, 2012 [4 favorites]

You have already brought amusement to so many. It is not a failure at all.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:41 AM on November 28, 2012 [7 favorites]

You also received a marriage proposal and now have a surplus of googly eyes.
posted by infini at 3:52 AM on November 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Sufficiency, surely. I refuse to believe there's such a thing as a surplus of googly eyes.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:40 AM on November 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

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