How to Create a Stylus in Just Se7en Steps…

So we live with an inventor, Hood #2 has been inventing things since the beginning of time. He is mad about electronics and has been exploring how to make his own stylus. The other day I posted this photograph on instagram:

I asked Hood #2 what his plan was for school today… “I’m making a stylus.” My job is done!!!

So many folks asked: “How did he do that!!!” We decided to share a quick tutorial on how to make a stylus… and for my mom, his granny, a stylus is a special “pen” used to write on a touch screen like an iPhone or iPad…

Let’s Meet the Players


  • An old Pen that you can dismantle
  • Masking tape
  • Wire
  • A thumb tack
  • A square of tin foil, large enough to cover your pen.
  • Wire strippers

Let’s Play the Game:


  1. Dismantle the pen, you are going to need the shell of the pen to form the frame for your stylus.
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  3. Strip the ends of your wire, remove the insulation on the ends in order to create contacts.
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  5. Tape one end of the wire to your foil.
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  7. Thread the other end of the wire through the pen casing.
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  9. Wrap the free end of the wire around the sharp point of the thumbtack and use a tiny piece of tape to keep that connection in place.
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  11. Gently fit the thumbtack into the pen casing…
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    Wrap the other end of the wire and foil around your pen casing…


  13. Tape the foil down to prevent skidding about… and you are good to go…


How Does it Work?

You have created an open circuit with a tiny flow of charge from the screen to your thumbtack, through the wire into the foil and essentially into your hand. You are essentially the earth leakage. The screen recognises this point of “loss of charge” and marks it black… and so your stylus can be used to create pictures and patterns on your screen.

For myself I was far more concerned that the metal of the thumb tack would scratch my screen… I was told, sigh, “the sharp, scratchy” part of the thumb tack is inside the pen… and with trepidation I tried it and it didn’t scratch the screen. So it worked and we all got to enjoy a fun little bit of applied science.

Go on, give it a try… we now have a roaring stylus trade going on in our house… and their is only one currency around here… LEGO is being traded for stylus’… Yes, our domestic economy is indeed based on LEGO!!!

10 Replies to “How to Create a Stylus in Just Se7en Steps…”

  1. Great Job!
    question for Hood #2 Ok I understand the concept of the open circuit – so How do the Rubber tipped stylus’ work if there is no “open circuit” for them to flow through? The stylus I have on my desk right now is a “pen/light/stylus” combo and the little rubber tip is nothing more than a rounded hollow rubber shell that “squishes” and there is no circuit involved…… : >)

  2. Hi Cindy, I asked about that and it turns out he would have used something like that if he had had it…that little rubber tip is made from conductive foam. It is a special fabric that makes for a smooth contact with the ipad surface. You can take a peak at this e-How article if you would like to know more. Thanks for the question, hope you have a great day!!!

  3. I’m just realising that many of your posts are not coming through on Google Friend Connect. Not sure why this is or whether it is affecting other blogs that I read but thought that you hadn’t been posting much so checked and found that I had missed several. The last post that has come through on GFC is September and the free calendar and the one before was about David Murray’s book. I know there have been mutterings about GFC disappearing but didn’t realise that some posts weren’t showing up before.

  4. Hi Sarah… I know there is a problem, I am just not too sure how to address it… So I am leaving it to my husband to tackle!!! Thanks so much for stopping by and letting me know, I really really appreciate readers letting me know. Apart from that I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!!

  5. Lego. Yes that would be a popular choice for our household too.

    Catching up with your posts. Your updates haven’t been showing up in Feedly for the last month. I think I have a lot of reading to do!

  6. Oh Cheryl, LEGO… the international trade and currency and the ins-and-outs of economics has nothing on what my kids can do with LEGO!!! And yes we have been blogging away as usual… just our feeds aren’t getting out there to our followers… sob!!! Anyway have a good day and lots of love from Cape Town!!!

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