With such an elegant interface that begs to be touched, you might wonder why anyone would bother using a stylus with an iPhone, but there are times when such an implement comes in handy. When you find yourself in such a situation don’t bother grabbing your old PDA stylus. You’ll need something that works with the iPhone’s capacitive touch screen like this handy DIY iPhone/iPod touch stylus pen.

Adam Flaherty

Adam Flaherty

I make cool stuff and write about other people making cool stuff on makezine.com. If you have something you think I should see, send me a tip.

  • hurf durf

    Scraping your iphone screen, or scraping the bottom of the barrel?

    • Adam Flaherty

      At least spike took the time to test the hack out before leaving a comment. I’ll assume the scope of your analysis is directly proportional to the degree with which you leave pithy aphorisms.

  • spike

    not quite any pen either. it has o be conductive, so a biro wont do it (just tested it with a coin and my wacom stylus) – works with the finger but not when you just push the coin around.

    this is a pretty useless hack.

    • Adam Flaherty

      Thanks for taking the time to test this hack. I concur with your findings. I tested it using the blunt end of an x-acto gripster. It wouldn’t work at first because the implement is insulated by a thin rubber grip. Touch the conductive tip at the opposite end of the stylus point and it works.

      My girlfriend has commercial iPhone stylus. It’s small like a PDA stylus and has a conductive foam tip. When she first got it at a trade show I questioned the practicality of it myself. That’s because we live in California where the weather usually isn’t bone-chilling during the winter months. Apparently people tend to wear gloves when it gets really cold out, and for some it can be a real pain-in-the-ass to have to take the gloves off just to use the phone.

      I agree with you that you can’t use just any pen as the video suggests. It has to be conductive. However I don’t agree with you that it’s a useless hack.

  • selfSilent

    looks good, seems to be well thought out and works well. A hell of a lot better than the rubbish rubber tipped pens they sell on Ebay.
    The problem is, even with a screen protector I just wouldn’t be happy using something higher on the mohs scale than the screen itself.

  • Infostyx

    I was excited to try this hack since I had the right sized button fasteners hiding out at the bottom of my closet. But I followed the directions to a T, and it didn’t work, not even a little bit. I was hoping to use this for the brushes app since my fingers are clumsy but I guess its back to the drawing board (or not, har de har).

    • Adam Flaherty

      If you followed the video ‘to a T’ chances are you could wind up with a non-functioning stylus. The presenter says you can use any pen, but further testing shows (as noted in previous comments) that you need to use a pen that is conductive and make sure there is a connection between the pen and the snap tip. And now that I think about it you’d have to make contact with the pen as well in order for this to work. I have tested the need for conductivity using an x-acto gripster stylus. Hope this helps.

  • Mozbius

    I gave it a little tought about how this home made stylus and figured that using AA battery (used the bottom) could work. So I gave this idea a try and VOILA ! Energizer mini stylus! lol!

    Admittedly it’s far from perfect but it gives food for thoughts!


  • mkp

    Another necessity: use the right size of snap. Snaps come in a number of sizes, and the small size (size 0, about 1/4 inch across) does not work. The next larger size (size 1, about 3/8 inches across) does work.

  • Anonymous

    step 1: soak sponge in salt
    step 2: get metal x-acto knife and remove blade and blade holder
    step 3: take sponge and jam into end of x-acto knife
    step 4: draw

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Catherine-Alexander/1495456521 Catherine Alexander

    Clever. Thanks a lot, since I’ve been desperate to find something that works. I much prefer a stylus to a fingertip. I would be curious to know, however, if this device scratches the screen.

  • http://twitter.com/Minemi Chami

    I like this very much.  It works well and hasn’t scratched the screen protector that came with the Otter case for our Iphone.  Thank you.