Being fascinated by braille, I really wanted to make something for visually impaired children. I came up with braille shapes. Items with a clear, distinctive shape that are easy to explain, understand and “visualize by touch”.
For the shapes I used cardboard, and for the raised braille dots I made my own gesso. Gesso is usually used as a primer to stiffen a surface before painting, however it can be used to make a raised surface too (modeling). Here are two recipes to make your own gesso to create firm raised dots. (Or you can find the real deal here) I used recipe no. 2 ^^ (I gesso I should insert a joke in here somewhere..)
Gesso Recipe 1:
4 tablespoons corn flour/baby powder
2 tablespoons white acrylic paint
1 tablespoon of mod podge matte
(or elmers/PVA glue)
Gesso Recipe 2:
4 tbsp baking soda
1 or 2 tablespoons of white acrylic paint
1,5 tablespoon of mod podge matte
Using this braille translator I translated the words that I needed and applied the dots. I wish I had some sort of syringe to do this neatly (highly recommend that!) or else the dots might look a bit messy (not perfectly round). Like mine. But that’s okay! As long as the dots are placed in a somewhat straight line, and they feel like dots, it should be fine.
That’s it! You could easily turn this into a lesson/project about braille, vision and shapes.
Lastly, I would love to share two things with you. 1. How was braille invented? And 2. I stumbled upon this great project by Yahoo Japan: Hands On Search. They created an amazing machine/3D printer for visually impaired children, just watching the video makes me feel so happy! (It made me cry) The children say out loud what they would like to have, and with the push of a button the machine prints it for them there and then. Such a brilliant idea, and well executed! More shapes for visually impaired children.. just not as flat as the ones above! (Coincidentally… the colour scheme is exact the same!)