iPod Middle/High School Primary Elementary Science Secondary Elementary

Make your own iPad Stylus for less than 10 cents!

We had an incredible first week at Anastasis Academy.  It was amazing to see all of our hard work come together in the form of a student body.  Walking through the classrooms this week it was obvious: this is a place of learning.

One of our first-week of school activities was creating our own iPad stylus.  Since we are a one-to-one iPad environment, this seemed like a good beginning for everyone.

We learned that to make a stylus, we first had to find some soft, conductive material.  A Google search informed us that we could use conductive foam (the kind that is used to pack electronics), conductive thread, conductive yarn (we thought this would be PERFECT for our pens but couldn’t get any delivered fast enough), or a Scotch Brite sponge.  I was a little skeptical of the Scotch Brite (it just seemed TOO easy) but it worked like a champ!

The kids had fun exploring how the yellow, soft part of the sponge would draw on the iPad when they held it in their hands.  Some of the kiddos were a little baffled when they put the sponge into the plastic pen body and they found out that it no longer worked.  Students added a little wire and soon the pens were working again!  It was a great way for all of the kids to experiment with conductors and insulators.

Below are the steps for making your very own $0.10 or less iPad stylus.

*I bought a pack of Scotch Brite sponges, cheap, penny pens from a local office store, and a small roll of craft wire.  We made about 50 pens for $6.00!

1.  Separate the Scotch Brite sponge from the abrasive green backing.  Cut the yellow sponge remaining into small wedges.

2.  Take the ink out of some cheap plastic pen casing.  Drill a hole near the head of the pen with a small drill bit.

3.  Cut 6 inches of wire.

4. Tightly wrap the wire around the small end of the sponge wedge.

5. Thread the sponge through the head of the pen (our pen head separated from the pen body).

6. Bend the end of the wire farthest from the sponge into a 90* angle.  Thread this into the pen body and through the pre-drilled hole.

7.  Pull the wire through the drilled hole and wrap it several times around the pen body.

8.  Cut the exposed end of the sponge into desired pen-nub shape. 

9.  To use the pen, make sure that your hand is touching the wire at some point. Draw or write with your stylus!

The kids loved making their own stylus.  There was a lot of talk about perseverance (when we tried to thread the wire through the small drilled hole), conductivity and exclamations of “I did it!”.

It was a wonderful exercise in frustration and success.  Every student was proud of their finished product that actually worked!  Students learned about conductivity, perseverance, insulation, and building with every-day materials.

One of our students, Benton, made a short stop motion animation with his pen…you can see it below:

 

Now for our next trick- working with @ianchia to figure out how we can construct conductive manipulatives that work with the iPad.  Should be fun!

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24 Comments

  1. This is great! Are you worried at all about the sponge slipping up into the pen leaving a hard edge that might scratch the surfaces of the iPads? Thanks for sharing your activity and instructions. Sounds like the students enjoyed it. I think I’ll give it a try!

  2. Not worried about the sponge slipping up because of the way you wrap the wire around the sponge it really isn’t possible for that to happen.

  3. Great tutorial guys, we were doing some research into how stylus’ are made for the iPad and found this enlightening article. Definitely going to have a play around with this.

  4. It it is. Super cool but I tryed it a different way I used pen wire and sponge then I took the sponge hooked it on to the pointy part wrapped a wire around and then it was finished way better than anything you should try this. Thanks. Bye

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