Topic outline

  • Back to Craft, Design, Engineering and Graphics

    CDT is a subject considered to be one of the most difficult (if not impossible) to teach to blind and partially sighted pupils. Understandably, safety issues are a major concern alongside the perceived value attached to the activity.

    For a child with little or no vision, tactile and creative activities provide a chance to express themselves without needing to read and write something. It also gives them an opportunity to discover more information about the world around them by touch.

    Children with vision impairment need far more hands on experiences to make up for the things they don’t see in order to build understanding. If they can’t actually feel something they have to create a version of it in their mind which may or may not match the reality.

    The sense of achievement and inclusion for pupils when they participate in the same task as their peers cannot be overestimated. There is no doubt that CDT requires a level of support and supervision that is often considered impossible in the mainstream setting, but often more on safety grounds, and not knowing what the pupil is able to do, rather than wanting to stop a child from participating.

    The following film clips offer a strategy for supporting the learning of some woodwork skills to create a frame.

    It is important to remember that you should communicate with the pupil what is going to happen in advance and not just pick up their hand unannounced. The level of support shown is dependent on the difficulty of the task, this particular pupil can hold the hammer himself and be guided but the saw needs more pressure and so his hand is on top of the teachers to experience the movement. Adjust the guidance depending on the level of vision, tactile and cognitive ability of the pupil.


    Adjust the guidance depending on the level of vision, tactile and cognitive ability of the pupil.



    Making a Craftwork Item (National 2)
    Project: Picture/Mirror Frame

    This Unit is a mandatory Unit of the Scottish National 2 Practical Craft Skills course: Making a Craftwork Item.

    A pupil at the Royal Blind School made a mirror frame with mitre joints, fulfilling such learning outcomes as:

    1.1 Choosing tools, equipment, media or technology appropriate to the craftwork item
    2.1 Following given instructions and procedures for the production process
    2.2 Using tools and/or equipment and materials correctly

    Watch the video for each step in the production process below and see how the CDT Teacher made a number of adaptations so a pupil with vision impairment could have an opportunity to complete this unit.

  • Prepare Materials for Rebate Joint

    The goal of the first step of the production process is to form a rebate joint. This is done by gluing a thin piece of wood to the thicker length of wood that will form the picture frame. This step is done before cutting the wood to the correct length. The mirror, or picture, will sit in the groove created by the rebate joint and be held in place.

    After the two pieces of wood are glued together, the teacher and pupil use panel pins to hold them in place until the glue dries. The pins are knocked in with a hammer.


    • Mark Position of the Cuts

      The pupil is given the try square and is able to recognise and name the tool. The teacher uses the hand over technique with the pupil and they work together to mark the cuts on the piece of wood using a pencil and ruler.


      • Sawing the Wood to Length

        The teacher has made some adaptations in the workshop that let blind or partially sighted pupils use a Tenon saw to cut materials, which you will see in use in the video below.

        There are three sawing boards with pre-cut slots at different angles. These help a pupil with vision impairment by giving them a guide to insert the blade of the saw. The teacher can then assist the pupil with the hand over technique (if needed) to saw the pieces of wood to length, and to cut the wood at an angle for the mitre joints.


        • Using the Sanding Machine

          The pupil can assist the teacher as he uses the sanding machine to sand the mitre joints.


          • Gluing the Frame Together

            The teacher uses the hand over technique with the pupil as they glue the pieces of the frame together.

            The teacher makes an adaptation by clamping a piece of wood to the workbench to act as a guide and hold the pieces firmly for the pupil. This gives the pupil something hard to push against when pressing the pieces together so the glue sticks.


            • Final Sanding by Hand

              Once the glue has dried the pupil explores the frame with his finger tips to feel if there are any rough patches that need sanding by hand.

              The teacher can use the hand over technique with the pupil in this step, but the pupil can also sand the wood unaided. The teacher makes an adaptation by putting the frame in a vice, which holds the frame securely making it easier for the pupil.


              • Applying a Coat of Varnish to the Frame

                The pupil first identifies which brush they would prefer to use.

                The teacher then uses the hand over technique with the pupil to apply the varnish to the frame.


                • The Final Craftwork Item

                  In the final step the pupil helps the teacher fit a piece of mirror paper into the frame, and then glue two stands to the back to complete the piece.