Have you lost your stylus? Do you crave more precise paths while drawing on your tablet or find it difficult to use your touchscreen with gloves on? There's no need to spend money on buying yourself a new stylus when you can make one yourself from items you already have at home.
Method 1 of 5: Recognize the type of touchscreen
Step 1. Know the type of touchscreen your device has
There are different kinds of displays, and your homemade stylus won't work with all of them.
- IPhones, iPads, Android devices, Kindle, and other cell phones or tablets have a capacitive touchscreen that needs an electrical conductor (like the human body) to detect contacts.
- The Nintendo DS, Nook, and other cell phones and e-readers use a resistance or infrared touchscreen that requires pressure to operate. You can then use almost anything to make a stylus, just be careful not to scratch the screen.
Step 2. Test your screen if you are unsure
Touch the screen with the tip of a pen cap. If the device responds to contact, it has a resistance or infrared display. If nothing happens, the screen is capacitive.
Method 2 of 5: Use a sponge (for capacitive screens)
Step 1. Obtain the materials
Find a clean dish sponge (not a scouring sponge) and a ballpoint pen that you can remove the tip of.
- Your best bet would be to find an inexpensive plastic pen, as long as you can easily remove the lead and ink tube.
- A clear pen might help you see what you're doing while you're doing it.
Step 2. Cut a piece of sponge the width of the pen
You can get a rough idea by holding the pen against the sponge and making a mark the diameter of the pen with a marker. You can also do this at a glance.
Step 3. If the sponge has an abrasive scouring side (usually green), remove it by cutting or pulling it off
Any abrasive object will scratch the screen of your device. You only need the sponge.
Step 4. Wash and dry the sponge
Some sponges are sold soaked in soap, so you might want to rinse them with hot water. Wring it out well to empty it of its water and let it dry.
Step 5. Remove the plastic end and the inside of the pencil
These are the lead, ink tank, and spring if it's a retractable lead pen. You should only end up with the empty body of the pen.
You should be able to remove the lead from the pen using only your hands. If you have difficulty, you can use a pair of pliers
Step 6. Insert the sponge into the pen
Pinch the sponge to make it smaller and push it into the pen.
Step 7. Leave between three and six millimeters of the sponge from the pen
Use your fingers to thin out and break the fibers of the sponge.
Step 8. Hold the stylus near the end to operate it
Your fingers should touch the base of the stylus in contact with the sponge. If you keep the empty part of the pen, the electromagnetic current will not pass through the sponge and the touch screen will not register the contact.
Method 3 of 5: Use aluminum foil (for capacitive screens)
Step 1. Obtain the materials
You will need 12 inches of aluminum foil, masking tape, and a pencil that has not yet been sharpened. You are also going to need a knife to sharpen the pencil.
If you don't have a pencil, you can replace it with a wooden pen, chopstick or dowel, or other pencil-shaped object. Pencils and other wooden objects work best because you need to sharpen the stylus to give it a sharper tip
Step 2. Use a sharp knife to sharpen the tip of the pencil
Give it a light, flat angle. You don't have to sharpen it like you want to use it for writing. The end with the slight angle should always have an area of about four millimeters, about the size of an eraser or the tip of your finger. Many capacitive screens will not detect contact with smaller objects.
- The stylus will work even if you skip this step, but you will need to hold it perpendicular to the screen. This step makes it more comfortable to use.
- Always be very careful while using a knife. Always remember to trim in the opposite direction to your body. Never pull the knife back towards you.
Step 3. Wrap the entire pencil in at least two layers of aluminum foil
Fold the aluminum foil flat on the ends.
If you're using a pen, keep the cap on while you wrap the foil around it
Step 4. Smooth the aluminum foil over the end where you just cut an angle
It should be smooth and flat. You must not leave any folds or bumps in it.
If the end is not flat, your stylus may not work
Step 5. Wrap a piece of masking tape around the middle of the pencil
This will help hold the aluminum foil in place.
Step 6. Wrap the end of the stylus in duct tape
This will prevent the aluminum foil from scratching the screen.
Step 7. Test your stylus to see if it works
If it doesn't work, try flattening the end even better. Remember that the tip must be at least the size of an eraser or your stylus may not be recognized by your device.
Method 4 of 5: Use a wooden wand (resistance or infrared screens)
Step 1. Obtain the materials
You are going to need a wooden chopstick, sandpaper, and something for carving the wood. A manual pencil sharpener is the ideal solution, but you can also trim the tip with a sharp knife if you don't have a pencil sharpener.
Do not use an electric pencil sharpener or the wand may break
Step 2. Sharpen the end of the chopstick (the part in contact with the food) with a sharpener
Sharpen it less than if it were a pencil, the end should remain relatively flat.
Step 3. Smooth the end with sandpaper
The sharp end of the wand could damage the touchscreen (you could even injure yourself). Rub the end with sandpaper until it is smooth. It shouldn't hurt when you press it with your finger.
Sand the sharp edges of the wand so you don't get splinters into your fingers
Step 4. Decorate your stylus with tape or paint
Your stylus will be more comfortable to hold if you wrap a few layers of tape around it.
Remember, this stylus will not work on iPhones, Android phones, Kindle Fire, or other devices that have a capacitive screen
Method 5 of 5: Make a water pen
Step 1. Gather the necessary items
They are easy to obtain, you will need a sharpened or unsharp pencil, cotton swab, scissors, tape, aluminum foil and water.
Step 2. Take the scissors
Cut the cotton swab in half and secure one half next to the lead with tape, the cotton should be on the lead side.
Step 3. Make a triangle of aluminum foil
Wrap it around the lead and cotton swab, then wrap duct tape around the pencil at the edge of the aluminum foil to hold it in place.
Step 4. Take some water
Moisten the tip of the stylus, it only takes a drop or two of water, if there is too much it will not work, so have a light hand!