DIY: Use Sticky Gems As Braille Letters To Make Objects Accessible For Blind People

If you are thinking of making objects around your house accessible for your blind family member or friend, there is a very easy and cost effective way to do it. Every art supplies store has sticky gems – a decorative art accessory that can be used in many art projects. These gems are raised, and have a sticky back, so you can just place them on any surface, and they will stick to it. They are typically round, and can be easily felt when touched. As an example project, I thought of making playing cards accessible by using sticky gems to add braille characters to them, so a blind person could tell what cards they had.

I stuck sticky gems in the formation of Braille letters in the upper middle area of the card. The first alphabet is the number (denomination) of the card, and the second is the first letter of the face: 3H (3 of Hearts), 2C (2 of Clubs), etc I also placed a sticky gem on the top left corner of the card so the blind person could understand the orientation of the card. If a single sticky gem was at the bottom right, they were holding the card wrong.

The cards could be arranged easily in one hand. The person holding them can easily feel the Braille letters of each card with the other hand by thumbing through each card and feeling the raised sticky gems. 

Now, your blind family member or friend can join you for a game of cards!

Obviously, these sticky gems can be used on several other objects around you to make them accessible. Can you think of anything else that these would be useful for? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Some Notes:

  • Initially, I had the single sticky gem for orientation on the bottom left. I quickly realized that that location won’t work because that corner is used to hold the arrangement of cards. I then switched the orientation gems to top left corner.
  • The adhesive on the sticky hems was not very strong. So I used Elmer’s glue to make them stick better.
  • I was worried a bit about shuffling cards but they shuffled just fine even with the sticky gems on. The gems do make the stack of cards quite thick, so you may have to shuffle all cards in multiple, smaller batches.
  • You can also use Braillable labels for this purpose. However, they are quite expensive. You can get hundred of those for $13. These sticky gems were $1.50 for 150 from Michael’s. (something like this)

Image Gallery


  1. Do they not come off quickly? I want to mark the piano keyboard for the visually impaired and want to use those adhesive gems for that purpose.

    • That’s a great idea! I used Elmer’s glue because the adhesive on the back of the gems wasn’t very strong, and the gems kept falling off the cards. You may want to start with Elmer’s glue, and see how well it works. If the gems will be on the keyboard permanently, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to use super glue.

      Please let us know how it worked out for you!

  2. Hello! I have been thinking about this idea but wasn’t sure about the stickiness, which I thought about gluing them too. Also, I was wondering if the gleam would be too distracting if they had some vision?? I’m making a tactile calendar with a black background and was wondering if finding black gems would be better??

2 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Assignment 2: DIY Culture – Crystal Flores AT Portfolio
  2. DIY: Use Sticky Gems As Braille Letters To Make Objects Accessible For Blind People | Cadan Assistive Technologies

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.