Craft Activities for Visually Impaired Adults

Craft Activities for Visually Impaired Adults

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Even if your vision declines as you age, there is no need to limit your options for artistic pursuits. What’s great about these terrific and enjoyable activities is that anyone of any age or ability may participate in them, regardless of mobility restrictions, visual impairment, or simply having poor vision. Here we prepared a list of craft activities for visually impaired adults.

Now is a fantastic time to start a new pastime or rekindle your enthusiasm for something you previously liked doing.  You may discover activities on this blog for the elderly who are blind or have low vision, whether they are at home or at a senior care facility. 

Picking the right art activity

Almost everyone has a preference for one kind or style of art over another. Learning new skills is always beneficial, whether you are the one who is visually impaired and wants to find an intriguing craft or are trying to help someone who is. Some of the most pleasurable and individually satisfying crafts are weaving, sculpting, and producing pottery. These types of art are especially pleasurable since all the “seeing” may be done with the hands.

Pottery

Pottery - craft activities for visually impaired adults

Making pottery with clay, salt dough, or any comparable substance is a terrific method to express your creativity. In addition to providing physical stimulation by requiring you to press your thumbs and fingers into the clay, it also promotes cognitive health as you choose what to shape from the clay. 

Try to reproduce the picture of an object or sculpture in your mind by utilizing your visual recall as a starting point. Use this mental picture as inspiration while you use your hands to create your artwork. Enjoy working with clay to create intriguing shapes that remind you of your thoughts and ideas. 

Making jewelry using beads 

Making jewelry using beads - craft activities for visually impaired adults

There is jewelry to suit every taste due to the great variety of patterns, sizes, colors, and materials that beads come in. For people with low vision, threading the beads can be challenging. To make it simpler for you to thread your needle, try buying a beading needle (found at most craft stores), which is often longer than standard sewing needles (up to 10 cm long). 

Find some bigger beads with larger holes to aid in threading as an additional tip for your jewelry-making. Even beads with braille printed on them are available, allowing you to design stunning jewelry that also has a meaningful message. 

It’s wonderful to have a finished product that you can wear or give as a present to loved ones. You feel more pride in your work as a result. 

Painting

Painting - craft activities for visually impaired adults

Painting is a wonderful and therapeutic method to express your emotions. With time and practice, this calming activity will get better. To begin, you only need some paper and basic paints. Later, when you are more proficient and inspired by your painting successes, you could try using other paint media, such as oil paints, acrylic, or watercolors. You can even begin painting on canvas so that you can exhibit your creations. 

Don’t let your impaired vision discourage you—respected, well-known painters like Claude Monet and Edgar Degas also struggled with visual issues and produced fantastic works of art. This type of art is ideal for people who are blind or have visual impairments. 

Knitting 

Knitting - craft activities for visually impaired adults

Another excellent handicraft project to keep your hands and mind busy is knitting. Knitting just only a few supplies: needles, yarn or wool, and scissors. 

Several pointers for beginning knitters: 

To make it simpler for you to feel and see the needles, make sure they are medium to big in size. Even LED needles are available to assist you to see what you’re doing. (The needle tips of these feature tiny LED lights.) 

Choose a tightly woven yarn or wool so that it will be simpler to see and feel the stitches as you make them and the pattern as it develops. 

To make it simpler to see what you are doing, try to use a bright color. 

Finishing a knitting project gives you a great sense of success, especially if it’s something you can proudly wear, like a scarf or sweater, which makes the labor worthwhile. 

Weaving

If you’re interested in weaving, adding diverse things with varying textures, such as leaves or wicker, can make the experience extremely gratifying for those who are visually impaired. Applying “liquid fabric” on leaves may help them survive longer than they otherwise would. Because of the additional textures, the project will stand out from more conventional weaving styles.

Soap Carving

Soap Carving

Soap carving may become your newest addiction if you’re seeking for some pure enjoyment. Author and carving instructor Janet Bolyard teaches the fundamentals of carving in a less daunting approach than conventional ways by using cheap soap and some hand-made tools. With a new book called “Complete Guide to Soap Carving,” which will be released in September, Janet has made it her mission to promote soap carving and foster creativity in both young and old. 

Why? If someone wants to try their hand at carving, soap makes a great starting point. It’s a fantastic entrance point, she remarked. Starting with cheap soap and making your own carving tools from recycled items is an affordable method to see whether you enjoy carving enough to go on to knives, gouges, and wood. She teaches her pupils how to manufacture wooden carving tools out of popsicle sticks since they are less expensive and safer than metal carving tools. This is a great activity for those with low vision because it isn’t required to use of sharp tools.

Additional Helpful Advice for People With Poor Vision 

Have proper lighting – It is crucial to have the appropriate job lighting for the art or craft you want to accomplish. 

Magnify your job – There are several excellent task magnifiers available that can assist in allowing your eyes to view the task you are working on in greater detail. 

The beautiful thing about the internet today is that you can access information in large print or use accessibility features like OCR (optical character recognition) which will read the text to you.. Check the internet for advice and suggestions. 

Attend a local art and craft organization to learn some tips and tricks for getting started in your new pastime and to meet new people. Try some of the workshops that are particularly designed to teach art to those who are visually impaired. 

Book an appointment for a routine/annual eye exam or checkup.   Any vision problems that can be fixed by your optometrist can be handled if you get routine eye exams and eye health checks.

Other Art Resources 

Resources pertaining to the arts are included in this section. These cover topics including accessibility, cultural events, visiting museums or other locations, and how blind or visually impaired persons produce and distribute their works of art. 

More Art ideas from TSBVI

For pupils who are blind or visually impaired, there are several materials like paper, metal, string, yarn, beads, wood, carving soap, and more that may be used in hands-on art projects. 

Paths to Literacy

Ideas for practical craft projects to improve fine motor function and tactile discernment.  Look up Christmas themes and crafting advice. 

Source:  Paths to Literacy 

Vision Aware has Arts and crafts after vision loss

Your imagination probably hasn’t altered, even if your vision has. Any product or experience may serve as an inspiration for simple, daily arts and crafts at any moment. If you’re blind or have impaired eyesight, consider some of these suggestions. 

Drawing in Braille 

Browse through our collection of braille designs, some of which include step-by-step directions for making your own braille drawing and some of which are embossing-ready files. includes instructions for producing your own original braille design. 

Source: Paths to Literacy website

Dance for Visually Impaired 

Instructional methods for teaching dance to blind or visually impaired pupils, with a list of movement techniques 

Source: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments

The book Dance without Sight: New Steps to Freedom 

Mana Hashimoto, the author, is passionate about expanding the opportunities for those who are blind or have impaired vision to participate in dance performances and get dance instruction. 

Source: NFB

Dancing Dots

For those who are blind or visually challenged, Dancing Dots provides technology, educational materials, and training to help them read, write, and record music.

Gil’s Woodworking Handbook 

Advice on safety and woodworking.

Music 

This website’s “Music Adaptations for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired” and “Music & Movement for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired” sites both provide methods and materials for teaching music to students with visual impairments.

“Learn by Ear, Play by Ear!”

For more than a dozen instruments, Music for the Blind provides downloaded (or tape/CD) lessons that are completely taught by ear. Several of the classes are accessible via the National Library Service initiative. 

Source: Music for the Blind

Music Resources 

Recorded instructional resources, music-related recordings, large-print, and braille musical scores, and recordings about musicians and music are all included in the NLS music collection. Every item is distributed postage-free, and certain digital audio and eBraille items can be downloaded from the Internet. 

The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Impaired is the source (NLS)

Arts Performances Featuring Audio Description 

A list of American theaters that provide audio description 

Source: Audio Description Project of the American Council of the Blind

Theater arts as Visual Art for the Visually Impaired 

The ongoing series of webinars on making art accessible to children with visual impairments includes the one we’re hosting right now. Robert Pierson, a theater arts instructor at TSBVI, discusses techniques for effectively including students with vision impairments in theatrical plays in this session. He also discusses the benefits that may arise from their involvement. 

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired as Source (TSBVI)

Low Vision Aids to use with crafting projects

Telescope glasses

One good device that will keep your hands free for doing arts and crafts is a low vision pair of glasses called telescope glasses.  These glasses come in several different strengths and designs. Some can be made similar to a bifocal with the telescope/microscope lenses being mounted in the bottom of a carrier lens. The top can still be used for looking across the room.

Stand Magnifiers

Some stand magnifiers could be used if they are tall enough to put your projects and hands underneath them.

CCTVs or Electronic Magnifiers 

These have video cameras on a stand that you could place your crafts underneath and view on the screen as you worked. 

High Powered Prismatic Reading Glasses

These are like normal reading glasses only with very strong lenses that require you to hold things pretty close to your eyes.  They also have a prism in them to shift the image outward so that your eyes don’t have to converge so much due to the close distance.  These would be great for sewing and knitting.

Conclusion

Having a condition or visual handicap can be frustrating, but there are still many fun and creative things that you can do to keep your mind sharp and give you a sense of accomplishment. Art is very subjective and it only has to be as good as you deem it to be.

About the Author:
Dr Shaun Larsen

Dr Shaun Larsen

Dr. Shaun Larsen is an optometrist who specializes in low vision services and enhancing vision with contact lenses. He has a passion for making people's lives better by helping them see well enough to read, write, or drive again. He always keeps up with the latest technology so he can help people regain their independence.

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