Introduction: Customized Spoon

Hello, we are students from Ghent University and Howest (Belgium) and this is one of our school projects we worked on. The project is called: Design for (Every)One, also reffered to as D4E1. This program is focussed on helping a person with a specific problem, and try to solve it in a easy way. This in combination with low-end prototyping and design by hacking.

Our goal was to make a customized spoon for our client, a 16 years old girl with cerebral palsy, who has a mental age of two. When she eats, she often loses her spoon when scooping up due to some spastic movements. There are a lot of existing spoons trying to solve this problem, but our client also doesn't like the feeling of plastic or something that is too tightly strong.

The product we made for her also needed to be an easy DIY. Therefore, we made this Instructable to show in some easy steps how the customized spoon is/can be made.

Enjoy!
Joyce, Julie, Mathieu, Tamara

Step 1: Buying the Right Materials

The first step in making our customized spoon is buying the good materials.

> For the handle, we bought a wooden handle in the Euroshop (Picture 1).

> The spoon that we're going to put inside of it is from the Casa (Picture 2). You can choose another type of spoon too, but because it will be cut in half in a next step, it's better to choose a plastic one. Another reason we chose to work with plastic, is because our client bites on her spoon when she eats. If the spoon would be made of metal, it would harm her teeth.

> The materials we need for making the textile band for the handle are all bought in the Action (picture 3). We bought some coloured socks for a nice pattern (blue, yellow, orange, red and white), some buttons, a pillow (from which we need the stuffing) and nylon cord.

> We also need some cardboard (just a piece out of a cardboard box) on which we first draw the right measurements of the spoon.

> We bought some waterproof glue (Pattex) in the Gamma (Picture 4).

> In order to make the textile band, a sewing machine and a little bit of sewing experience is needed. If you don't have a sewing machine at home, it's also possible to do it with needle and thread (but might have a less good finish).

It's preferable to have a bandsaw at the disposal (for a better finish), but it can also be done with a small handsaw.

Step 2: Removing the Metal and Barcode

We're gonna start with making the spoon itself first (wooden handle and plastic spoon), and then focus on making the textile band.

The first step in making the wooden handle is removing the metal part (otherwise the spoon can't be sawed in half) and removing the barcode. We removed the metal part with a simple handsaw and gave it a finished look with some sandpaper. The barcode can be removed with the sandpaper too.

Step 3: Cutting the Wood in Half

The next step is to cut the wood in half with a bandsaw (or with a handsaw). We have done this by holding a wooden plate next to bandsaw and pushing the spoon into the bandsaw. Thanks to this wooden plate, the cutting line will be as straight as possible.

(This spoon from the Euroshop has a drilling hole inside, but this is not needed. If you bought a handle that doesn't have this hole, you don't have to make it)

Step 4: Drilling Holes for the Button

On both sides of the spoon, we first draw 4 little dots, more or less where the threads of the button will need to go. We drilled with a drill of 1,5 mm, but this can be different depending on the tickness of the thread you will use. Try to make the holes as straight as possible so you can attach the buttons with the tread easily. If it's not 100% straight, it's not a problem though, you won't see the holes because they will be on the inside of the handle.

Attach the wooden buttons to both sides with a nylon cord. Make a knot on the inside of the spoon with the cord (which will be glued onto the wood in a later step).

Step 5: Drilling the Inside of the Handle

Because our client has celebral palsy, the spoon has to be put in an angle into the handle (then she will need less complex movements to bring the spoon towards her mouth). We used a Dremel Tool to make a hole to hold the spoon

The spoon is cut with the bandsaw (but can also be done with a handsaw) and is then glued (with waterproof glue) into the wood. The glue really has to be waterproof so the spoon can be washed.

Step 6: Gluing Everything Together

The last step of making the handle is gluing everything together. Make sure the long ends of the nylon are inside the spoon when gluing it together. Fill the gaps between the two halfs also a little bit with glue, so the spoon is really one piece.

Step 7: Defining the Size of the Textile Band

Cut out a piece of the cardboard and try putting it around your hand to know if it's the right size. It's better that it is a little bit too small instead of too big, because the textile of the socks will stretch a little bit. After you have found the right size of the cardboard, you should draw it on the white socks. Make sure you draw it a little bit bigger on the socks, so it can be stitched easily with the sewing machine. Cut the pattern out with a pair of scissors.

After doing the white sock we also needed to do the coloured ones. The intention of these socks is to make the pattern of the famous K3 rainbow dress because our client is a huge fan of K3. If you prefer another pattern for the textile, it is also possible.
First of all they need to have the same size as the white one. Than, we also draw it with a pencil first and cut it out. Remember that all 4 colours need to have more or less the same size in width of the white.

Step 8: Making the Inside of the Textile Band

For this part we used some stuffing of a pillow and the fabric around it. We closed two borders with a sewing machine and before sewing the last one we first put the stuffing inside. This part is not finished very pretty, but it doesn't have to be better because it will be on the inside and you won't see it anyway.

Step 9: Sewing the Rainbow Pattern

Here we needed to stitch all the colours on the white sock to make the rainbow pattern. We did this too with the sewing machine. Each colour is attached to the white sock with 2 sewing threads. The textile is then closed with the stuffing from step 8 on the inside. We also finished the ends with the sewing machine, but this doesn't look so nice yet. In the next step, we finished it better with a needle and thread.

Step 10: Finishing Touch

Because we were not happy with the finishing touch of the ends, we tried doing it a little bit better with just a needle and thread. Picture 1 is the result of this. This looks a lot prettier if we do it around the buttons of the spoon (Picture 2).

We were also not happy that you could still see the white sock between the different colours, so we also stitched these together with the needle (Picture 3).

Step 11: Result!

This is the result after adding the textile to the wooden handle. Because we used these buttons, the textile can be easily removed and put into the washing machine. At the same time, the wooden spoon can be dishwashed. In this way the spoon can be considered very hygienic.

Comments

author
GabriellaC7 (author)2016-06-05

I volunteer at a LTC facility. I am thinking of many people that would benefit from this design!

author
Bigredd51 (author)2016-06-01

Being a Special Education teacher for 40 years, this is one of the many devices we used to help our students be more independent and have a better quality of life.

author
watchmeflyy (author)2016-06-01

Great project! Your tutorial had great explanations at each step for the reasons behind your design.

author
DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-05-31

Nice design. This would help a lot of people with different mobility issues. Also I like the colorful handle strap. You should enter this into the Rainbow contest.

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