iPad Artists: Avoiding Accidental Gestures

The iPad is an empowering device and just so happens to be a great tool for artists. I draw with my iPad all the time, but I found that I often drag my hand across the iPad’s surface and accidentally add unwanted lines and shapes. With a little ingenuity, however, I hand-crafted a solution.

After trying a surprisingly long list of materials — and crowd sourcing for answers on Twitter — I found that the most reliable material for keeping accidental hand movements from registering as iPad gestures was felt. With a piece of felt between my hand and iPad surface I could rest my hand on my drawing while I was working, and the felt slid with my hand without any resistance.

My swatch of felt didn’t feel substantial enough to hold up under long-term use, so I added a layer of 2mm art foam to the back of the felt. Here’s how:

  • Start by cutting your art foam to the finished size that’s comfortable for you. I used a juice glass as a stencil so that my finished hand rest would be round.
  • Next, cut a piece of felt that’s a little bigger than your art foam.

Use spray adhesive to attach the felt to the art foam.

  • Once I had my art foam and felt, I coated one side of the art foam with spray adhesive. That gave me an even adhesive layer and left my foam disc flexible.
  • Press the felt to the art foam, and apply even pressure for about 30 minutes to let the spray adhesive properly set. A couple of heavy books and my coffee table worked great for keeping the pressure even while the adhesive did its magic.

Use a heavy book to apply pressure to the freshly-glued parts.

  • Once the spray adhesive is dry, trim the felt to the shape of the art foam. By trimming the felt afterwards instead of starting with a piece that’s the same size as the art foam, you’ll have better luck at keeping spray-on glue from oozing out and getting on the surface that’ll eventually rub against your iPad display.

Trim the felt to the shape of the art foam after the glue dries.

  • Your new hand protector is ready to use. The felt side goes against the iPad display, and you rest your hand on the art foam.

Gesture-free drawing thanks to my home-made pad.

I was able to find all the materials I needed at my local Hobby Lobby arts and crafts store:

  • 2mm art foam. The brand at my art store is Funky Foam.
  • Felt square.
  • Spray adhesive. I used Elmer’s Multi-Purpose Spray Adhesive.

With my foam and felt drawing puck in place, I can draw with my finger or Pogo Sketch stylus with my hand in a more natural position. In addition to keeping my hand from accidentally touching my iPad display while I’m drawing, my hand protector disc is small and light weight enough that I can toss it into my iPad bag without adding any bulk.