Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Making Cards for Blind People - Hints and Tips

My sister-in-law was born blind and I've had many years of practice making cards for her and her family (I like to make my brother & niece's cards with her in mind too). I want to share some hints and tips with you that I've learnt along the way.

So what makes a great card for someone who can't see it? Basically the card making process is the same, with the focus on tactile rather than visual structure. And yes, it does still need to look wonderful where it is proudly displayed on the mantelpiece.

Remember - a successful card will be so well loved that it will be handled repeatedly. So make sure you use really strong adhesive and the thickest card stock you can get your hands on. When using brads, make sure the prongs are well covered to prevent cuts etc (and obviously - no pins). Check any metal embellishments to ensure the edges etc are not sharp.

Here's some tips on making great cards for the blind.

A shaped card makes it much more interesting, but is not esential. A fancy cut edge works well too.

(For the example card above I used templates from My Time Made Easy)

Embellishments and haberdashery items are obvious choices for a tactile card. But resist the temptation to cover the card with them or make large clusters. If you are unsure, close your eyes and feel them - can you tell the different embellishments or is it one big undefined mass?
Careful combining of embellishments together can create wonderful designs.

Keep the number of layers to a minimum, and try to use different textures with each layer. When layering up consider doing so using 3D foam pads between the layers. And use at least twice as many pads as you would normally, and add them in the middle of the layers, not just at the edges - remember it's going to be handled. Alternatively use really thick card stock or chip board etc.

There are so many wonderful tools available now for creating patterns on card stock using texture, from embossing plates to die cuts and punches etc.

One of my favourite tactile patterns is dots. I turn the card upside-down and draw a grid on the back, then using the grid as a guide I punch a pattern of holes using my big-bite. (See the apron card above)

Focal Image
You can still have a focal image. Just make it 3D/textural and keep it simple. Examples are:
* Paper piecing styles with thick card stock or chipboard, or using 3D foam pads.
* chipboard shapes
* large flowers
* teabag folding
* Quilling
* embossing (use a simple bold image on smooth card stock)
* die cuts
* using embellishments to form an image (eg bunch of flowers) or shape

Unless embellishments form part of the image (eg brads as eyes) keep them at a distance from the image so as not to clutter and confuse it.

To make a card extra special, add a little sound. Maybe a small bell attached to a bow, or even a shaker made with beads/small stones etc that will make noise when shook.

Fancy Workings
Generally avoid pockets and hidden items

Keep flaps obvious with ribbon or tabs where they open and if making moving items make an obvious tab that sticks out from the sides of the card.

Pop-ups and mechanicals, if done with care can be amazing, particularly for a child.

If the blind person lives with a sighted person (or you are making for a partially sighted person) written sentiments can still be used, but only if it adds to the overall design

Some charities will Braille a sentiment or even the message for the inside of the card for you. (I had this done for my brother's wedding card). Be sure to let them know your card dimensions to ensure a proper fit, and note that Braille is larger than standard handwriting.

If a person is partially sighted, use strong contrasting colours with a mixture of dark and light.

If you are crafting for someone who is colour-blind, check out my hints and tips here.


  1. Wow your cards are amazing and so much thought goes into them! Thanks for visiting my blog, I'm new to link parties and it's nice to know people visit and exchange comments :-) x

  2. This is really awesome !!!!!!!!!!


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