Sighted people take tens of pictures and browse through hundreds in one single day. For the blind, on the other hand, tactile graphics – which are embossed simplified drawings – are a real scarcity. And that is because embossing is very expensive. The regular blind child only has access to tactile graphics at school, without having the chance to continue studying at home. He can explore tactile drawings only in some classrooms and with a specialized teacher near. One must always be present to give the blind information about the graphics.
Because we want to offer the blind access to as much visual information as possible, we thought about a DIY technique that any sighted person could use to emboss tactile graphics. This technique is 100 times cheaper than any other embossing method.
What do you need?
- A tactile graphic
- A syringe
- Some adhesive
Steps to follow:
1.Buy a syringe with a needle and some adhesive
The syringe and adhesive are your main tools. They are both very cheap and can be bought easily. You can order a syringe with a needle online or buy one at the closest drugstore. You can use any type of needle you want. We recommend that you use one with a blunt tip, generally used for food and oils.
If you just want to emboss one or two drawings, you can find adhesive at the closest bookstore. But if you’re going to emboss a lot of tactile graphics, you should buy adhesive per kilogram – it is way cheaper than smaller bottles. You can order adhesive buckets up of about 4 kilos online or buy locally, at the closest hardware store.
2. Download and print the tactile graphic
On the educational platform tactileimages.org, we created an online LIBRARY with about 800 tactile graphics. The subjects range from animals to maps, Romanian personalities, and even paintings. Start browsing through the LIBRARY right here!
Once you found your favourite drawing, all you have to do is download and print it at a standard printer.
3. Fill the syringe with adhesive
Now that you have everything you need, you are ready to begin embossing 100 times cheaper than with traditional methods. For starters, you must fill your syringe with adhesive.
4. Start drawing adhesive lines
I know this sounds complicated, but it’s a straightforward process. Tactile drawings are simplified lines, so all you have to do is follow them. You do not have to be an artist to succeed but you must be patient. The first tactile graphic you emboss might not be perfect. You will learn this skill in time. You will have to figure out how much adhesive you have to use and how to connect lines.
TIP 1: Apply adhesive from left to right, so you do not get your sleeve dirty as you progress.
TIP 2: If you accidentally get adhesive on your sleeve, you can clean it with warm water.
TIP 3: Please handle the syringe and the needle carefully and make sure that you put it away afterwards so nobody gets hurt.
If you feel like you need more time and drawings to practice, do not worry. Eight hundred tactile graphics are waiting for you in our LIBRARY, remember?
5. Dry the tactile graphic
Did you finish drawing all the adhesive lines? Excellent, your tactile graphic is almost ready to be explored by a blind person. You have just one more little step to follow. For your work to be finished, you have to dry the adhesive.
All you need now is heat or time. More precisely, you need to put the tactile graphic in the oven for 5 minutes (at no more than 40° Celsius) or let it dry in the sun.
Is the tactile drawing dry? If so, it’s ready to be used. See how easy it was? With just a syringe, some adhesive, and heat, you embossed your first tactile graphic.
We encourage you to keep embossing with this inexpensive technique. The embossed tactile graphics will make all the blind people in your life extremely happy. 🙂
Do you have any questinos related to DIY techniques for embossing tactile graphics 100 times cheaper than with traditional methods? Leave us you suggestions in the comment section below!