Hairbrush: Reimagined

Made by Paula Zubiri

A functional and aesthetically pleasing improvement on a narrow, cramp-inducing hairbrush grip.

Created: March 18th, 2019



Although I brush my hair with a rectangular brush daily, I sometimes indulge myself in using my boar bristle round brush, which allows me to dry my hair while styling it. In order to utilize this brush, I have to grip it and rotate it with one hand while I use my other hand to hold my hairdryer. Before this project, I noticed that this complex and cumbersome rotation was causing some strain to my palm and my wrist, and I analyzed my brush further to find that the small diameter was the cause of most of these issues. In addition, I really disliked how boring the handle was, and so I wanted to design a more ergonomic grip that would also be aesthetically pleasing.


The image above shows a brush similar to the one I used to model my clay grip. 

Initially, I wasn't sure how to approach the grip issue. I knew I wanted to make it wider, but I wasn't sure if I wanted small indentations for my fingers or some other form of grip. Since the primary function for this hairbrush involves rotation, I wanted to design a grip that would feature a way for my fingers to grip correctly all the way around the circumference of the handle, not just one face of the brush. 


Above are some of the more compelling designs I came up with. I decided to pursue the more "leafy" design since it satisfied my design requirements and it features plants, which I really love (see my sunflower coffee mug coaster). 


Using techniques learned in class, I was able to better visualize my design by sketching it in two dimensions and three dimensions. Seeing the design on paper helped me validate my grip idea and it helped me plan my approach to the clay model. 


Bringing the Design to Life

Once I rendered my design on paper, it was time to model it in clay. The first steps I took were to make sure I had a smooth and even base layer to work on. Without a solid foundation, I would not be able to add features to my design. Once the foundation was satisfactory, I added the main "vine", which is the main "grip" feature of the project. The next steps involved heavy decoration and detail work using various clay tools. These details include the little vine "offshoots", the leaves, and the texturizing of the main "vine".

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24-672 Special Topics in DIY Design and Fabrication

· 22 members

Offers students hands-on experience in DIY product design and fabrication processes. Students work individually or in small groups to design customized and personalized products of their own and bu...more


A functional and aesthetically pleasing improvement on a narrow, cramp-inducing hairbrush grip.