How to Make Gripped Utensils




About: I am a 23 year old grad student studying to become a physical therapist. I have always loved crafting. I find it so hard to get a gift as special as the person I am getting it for so I often make my own gif...

Someone whose hand has been affected by a stroke may have difficulty with a strong grip or moving his or her fingers in a precise way to manipulate a small object like a fork. The same may be true for certain people with cerebral palsy, brain injury or spinal cord injuries. In trying to hold a small object in the affected hand it may slip out or they may not be able to grip it tightly enough.

If a person has a strong hand, they may rely on it only. However there is extensive research on increasing the use of the affected arm and making various functional progress. Although no one can tell how much recovery a person can gain, using an affected hand in daily activities can also build self-esteem and confidence despite deficits.

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Step 1: Gather Materials

To make an object easier to use you will need the following materials

The object- in the project we will use a fork

Grip/shelf liner- this is found in the kitchen/housewares section of most stores. It is used to line shelves so that items do not slide, but it works well for bulking up an object and making sure it doesn’t slip out of the hand. It also comes it a variety of colors and designs and is pretty cheap. I bought this roll for $2.

Masking tape


Step 2: Cut and Tape Liner to Object

Decide how much liner you will need and cut the appropriate amount in a long strip. Wrap the liner around the object until it has reach desired thickness and use masking tape to secure it.

Step 3: The Possibilities Are Endless!

By having the liner on, you can use many different ways to hold the object that you couldn’t before.

Similar products sell for a lot. I have seen a set of 4 utensils with bulked up grips sell for $50.  Now you can easily make any object easier to hold and use in your affected hand.

**BONUS** The shelf liner also works as a great placemat to make objects not slide around as you are trying to use them, such as a plate or bowl. Similar products like dycem sell for a lot as well ($50 for a placemat), now you can have the same benefits for $2.

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    6 Discussions


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    As much as I love Sugru for many other hacks, this costs $2 for enough for many items and a non-slip placemat vs $16.50 for 3 packets. Also it's not just about the added grip, but also about the non-slip properties of the material. Because of this these utensils require very little grip to use.
    Thanks for the idea though!


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Another option for this is the foam polyethylene pipe insulation tubing you can buy at your hardware store. It sells for $1.50 to 5.50 for a six-foot length. The price varies depending on the inside and outside diameters of the tubing. All you have to do is cut the length you need and place it on the handle you need to build up. My husband figured this out when I was going through PT after breaking my elbow, and the devices the PT department sold were too expensive (he had been laid off from work--no money). After building up the handles, he covered them with electrical tape. so they could be wiped clean. The only drawback is that the tool must be hand washed, but no big.

    Becky Jane

    8 years ago on Introduction

    You Instructable looks very helpful. I would like to post it on my blog at:
    My readers would enjoy the information.
    Let me know what you think.
    Thanks, Becky Jane


    8 years ago on Introduction

    A more permanent (but heavier) material is modeling clay capable of being hardened in a regular cooking oven. My mother is an occupational therapist and has used this for her patients.

    Clever use of "Light Expanded Clay Aggregate" balls in the modeling clay should cut down on weight.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice! Simple, easily repaired or modified.

    Would you consider reclassifying this in the "assistive technology" category?