An Overview Of Adaptive Painting: for limited grip strength, dexterity, and hand control

Paint Brushes

Brush Modification 

-Add a foam roll

-Mold model magic for a personalized grip

  • Add a tennis ball shape to the end of the brush for people who don’t want to grip the brush strongly
  • Add a notch at the top and bottom of the drip for people who have trouble with the brush slipping out of the hand

Ways To Increase Grip Strength

-Throw away plastic gloves make it easier for some people to grip the smooth surface of the brush

-Sports tape, tape brush to hand

Brush Choice 

-Round tipped brushes are often best because they don’t have an element of directionality for people without that much control

-Harder and shorter tipped brushes work well for people who press hard

-Rolling brush (normally used for house painting)

Painting Without Brushes 

Paint with objects that are easier to grip

  • Sponges
  • Scrubbing Brushes (normally used for cleaning)
  • Bubble wrap
  • Stamps
  • Fingers
  • Squeeze tubes- add flow medium or water

Setting Up The Canvas

It’s important to set up the canvas s at the appropriate height and angle.

  • Often getting the canvas as close to the individual as possible is the way to go
  • Consider postural issues and sidedness when choosing the angle of the canvas
  • Make sure the canvas is set up in a stable position! Use a large stable easel or if using a small easel places a wet wash clothe underneath to reduce slippage. It is common for people with loss of dexterity and control to push very hard into the canvas.

Other Logistical Suggestions

Use water cups that are difficult to knock over

-Consider using cups with suction on the body (found in the baby section) or dog bowls

It can be hard for people with limited hand use to rinse brushes between colors. You can set up a system were you give the person multiple brushes of the same size and when they are done they can stick each one in the water and have someone wash the brushes when they are done. This eliminates lots of possible spills and frustration.

Advanced Techniques and Addressing Specific Barriers 

On Drawing Straight Lines 

  • Painters tape
  • White strips