Helpful Materials and Tools

  • Foam rubber or batting from a stuffed toy may be used to give some fill to a symbol. For example, to make a 3-dimensional symbol for an inflated balloon, insert some of the batting into the balloon.
  • Never throw away a broken toy. The part you can salvage may become your next symbol for a yet unimagined object or activity.
  • To find materials for symbols, try shopping at second hand stores and garage sales or buy two toys at a time and reserve one for parts.
  • A hacksaw, utility knife, and hot glue gun are invaluable tools.
  • Shrink wrapping a 3-dimensional symbol is a good way to increase the longevity of certain symbols, as long as the plastic film does not block the users' access to some necessary tactile information.
  • Vacuum Forming Machines by Orbit use heat and vacuum to seal an object in a thin plastic film. For more information write or call:

Northwest Packaging
7705 S.W. Cirrus Dr.
Beaverton, OR 97005503-644-5127

Thermoform is the name of a process used for reproducing brailled text. A thin but durable plastic sheet is shaped into the pages of brailled tactile configurations through heat and vacuum. This process can also be used to replicate shallow 3-dimensional partial object symbols in some instances. Entire pages of light-weight tactual symbols can be bound in a book for the communicator who can make the association between this type of symbol, which depicts the size and shape of the referent, but neither the color nor the texture. The book is neither bulky nor heavy, increasing its portability, and thus its accessibility. For more information on the thermoform material and machine write or call:

American Thermoform Corporation
2311 Travers Ave.
City of Commerce, CA 90040
1 800 331-3676