One of my friends and I were having a conversation about ways to display information in a tactile way. Since coming to college, I have been learning more and more about creating materials without using any fancy technology or expensive items. Here are ten items that can help create tactile images or labels, most of which can be found in the house.
Tracing lines and images with white glue is a quick and easy way to create a tactile image. It also is practically invisible, which works well when color is important.
Like the idea of using glue, but need something with higher contrast and a sandy texture? Glitter glue to the rescue! You can also shake glitter over white glue and let it dry. Be extremely cautious when doing this so glitter doesn’t go everywhere.
A Magnatab is a drawing board that uses magnets and a magnetic pen. As the pen is moved across the board, the magnetic dots raise. This can be used to create lines, basic drawings, and even Braille. Fair warning, you have to be very gentle when using it, or else the magnets will retract back into the board. Get it here.
I use tactile dots to help with object identification and for finding the center of an image. I use the clear dots around my apartment and use the colored dots for everything else. Get the dots here.
My friend’s mom told me about how she would show maps or layouts of buildings by attaching Lego bricks to the Lego boards and would show how areas were spaced out. She also would create models of events such as baseball games. Just make sure no Legos fall on the floor- no one wants to step on one!
Using foam letters and shapes on paper is a great way to display information. I especially like them because they have a smooth, soft texture compared to the rest of these options.
Thumbtacks and cork
Similar to the Magnatab, attaching thumbtacks to corkboard can be a great way to show lines, graphs, simple images, and Braille. It is a bit time consuming, though it’s especially helpful for math and plotting points.
For showing lines on graphs or similar, wrapping rubber bands around thumbtacks on cork or similar is a 3D way to display information, and is much easier than having to make an entire line with thumbtacks. There are also mini rubber band peg boards available.
Washi tape is paper tape that can be easily removed from most surfaces. It comes in a variety of colors and can be textured as well. I prefer to use this for outlining an area or for displaying basic images. Other types of tape also work but are more difficult to remove.
Another great way to display information in 3D, pipe cleaners can be twisted into all sorts of shapes. One of my friends mentioned that this helped them get through geometry and graphs in math, and they liked the soft texture.
While this list is not all-encompassing, I hope that this is helpful for creating tactile images using everyday items.