Squeezable Paint Brushes (Howard University)

Gabrielle Styles

Abstract

The squeezable paint brush is a device that allows individuals with upper extremities deficits to partake in painting. This adapted paintbrush places the paint in the handle, allowing the individual use their mouth to squeeze the paint out of the brush and onto the desired surface.

Problem Statement

There are currently no devices that allow people with upper extremity deficits to independently paint using a mouth paint brush. This product will help expand the abilities of creative outlets that these clients can have.

Introduction/ Background

  Most people that paint using a paint brush in their mouths, have to continuously dip the brush in paint and/or water to keep painting.  This device eliminates the excessive bobbing and dipping of the person’s head rotating and bobbing to dip the brush, which could cause head and neck pain with excessive use.  The first prototype was geared for the pediatric community.  There are no other devices like this on the market. There are however, mouth paint brush holders, but none that have the paint in the brush handle in flexible plastic tubing.

Gabrielle Styles (Howard University) designed the Squeezable Paint Brushes to be used as mouth paint brushes for individuals that have upper extremity deficits.

Design and Development

At first, I thought of creating a headband device that had could have markers, crayons, and paintbrushes attached to it interchangeably depending on what media the client wanted to use. Upon further planning, I realized that clients would need to dip the paintbrush into water every few strokes. I decided to build on the idea of fabricating a paint brush that they could use independently. Upon further research, I found the concept of mouth painting.  Clients use their mouths as the control of the paintbrush.  They put the handle of the brush in their mouths and are able to move their mouth and heads to create art on paper and canvas. 

The same concept for squeezing lip gloss from a tube was used in creating this device.  By replacing the handle of the brush with a squeezable tube of paint that is attached to the brush tip.  The brush can be used at any angle because the client is controlling how the paint is getting to the brush tip through squeezing with their mouths.

There currently is no item that is like the product I have created but there are similar products including the Crayola No Drip Paint Brush Pens, which have a marker like quality with a brush tip. It comes in a set of 5 colored brushes and costs about ten dollars before tax. The handle of the Crayola product however, is a hard plastic which makes it difficult for a client that uses it in their mouth to comfortable hold the brush handles.  It also only can be used when the brush is pointed down; if it is angled any other way, the ink would not reach the brush tip. 

The cost of producing the device I created was about eight dollars for all of the supplies.  I purchased paint brushes and squeezable tubes (the same ones that 3D glitter glue comes in). I disassembled the paintbrushes in order to use the brush tips, drilled holes in the brush tips in order to allow the paint to come out of the handle I created, mix the paint colors and filling the tubes, and finally glued the brush tip to the handle.

Results and Conclusions

By replacing the handle of the brush with a squeezable tube of paint that is attached to the brush tip, individuals can put the tube handle of the brush in her mouth and squeeze the tube and paint.  The brush can be used at any angle because the client is controlling how the paint is getting to the brush tip through squeezing with their mouths.  They would not need aid every few seconds to help re-dip the brush into the paint because it is already in the tube, which increase their level of independence.

Acknowledgements

Special thanks to Dr. Linda Hill, Dr. Felecia Banks, Howard University, and the continued encouragement and support from the occupational therapy department and cohort. 

References

American Occupational Therapy Association. (2008). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (2nd ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 62.

Paint brush pens, classic 5 ct. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.crayola.com/products/5-ct-paint-brush-pens-classic-product/

Song, Peng et als. Design of Human-Worn Assistive Devices For People With Disabilities. ICORR’99 International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics, Stanford, CA

Designer Team Photo-Gabrielle Styles, OTS; Dr. Lynda Hill, OTR/L

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