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The term embossing is vital for the study of the blind. For the unsighted, any graphic material must be highlighted to be “visualized” by touch. No exception. In the past, this was an expensive process, attributed to thermoforming techniques. Now you can manually emboss tactile graphics yourself, using whatever you find in the household: string, glue, or even food. Easy, fast, and at a minimum price! 

 

Read the article below and discover all the steps you need to take! 

 

Steps to DIY embossing:

  1. Download a tactile graphic
  2. Print the tactile graphic 
  3. Choose your materials

a) Embossing with a syringe and adhesive

b) Embossing with textile material

c) Embossing with food

  1. Download the Tactile Images READER App

1. Download a tactile graphic

 

We have created an online LIBRARY where you can download any tactile graphic you want for free. There are hundreds of tactile graphics waiting for you and suitable for blind people of all ages. Find animals, means of transport, paintings, maps, and more. Everything on the e-learning platform tactileimages.org.

2. Print the desired sheet

You need a standard printer, to print the downloaded tactile graphics.

3. Choose the materials you need

You can manually emboss tactile graphics by using whatever you can find at home or a nearby store. We used T-shirts, rice, coarse salt, ginger, and pepper.

a) Embossing with a syringe and adhesive

Did you print your favorite tactile graphic? To manually emboss it, you need a syringe, stationery adhesive, and minimum skills. Put the glue in the syringe and start the fun! You can emboss any tactile graphic with this technique – whether it is the portrait of a personality, the map of Romania, or a famous painting.

 

After you have drawn all the lines of the drawing with adhesive, you have to let the tactile graphic dry. If it’s summer, you can leave it in the sun, but if not, you can put it in the oven at 40 degrees. It will be ready in 10 minutes! 

b) Embossing on textile material

For this type of embossing, you need a tactile board printed on plain paper, a pen, and a thin piece of material, maybe a shirt. And little sunlight, so you’ll have to emboss during the day. Approach a window, place the tactile board on it and cover it with a piece of material. Now use force to draw lines with the pen – the technique required here is not writing but scratching. Your goal is to highlight the content. 

c) Embossing with food

Let’s say that the downloaded tactile graphic depicts the map of Romania. You can use different spices to emboss each section separately. You need glue and foods of different consistency.

 

Apply the glue and start playing with the spices of your choice! To begin with, you need to establish a legend to know what section each ingredient represents. For example, you can highlight the mountains with peppercorns. For hills, choose something coarse, like salt, and eventually highlight the plains with something finer, like flour.

4. Download the Tactile Images READER Application

 

Where can you download the App? AppStore! The Tactile Images READER application is the specialist who speaks directly to the blind through voice-over.

Forget everything about expensive embossing techniques and supplies! You can manually emboss tactile graphics for the blind – easily, quickly, and cheaply. You just need a little skill.

Do you have questions about manual embossing? Leave us your suggestions or concerns in the comment section below!

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