I got inspired by the digital artworks on Instagram. Most were done on computers and laptops, while some of them were created using smartphones and tablets. I have been wanting to explore creating digital art on my smartphone, but my stubby fingers get in the way.

A stylus ad has been popping in my newsfeed. How timely. The pen looks fancy! The price, too — PHP 1000!

Less expensive mini stylus pens (with rubber sponge tips) are being sold at a nearby store. Sadly, the store is closed because of the enhanced community quarantine. 

Stylus #1

I then searched for YouTube videos on how to make stylus pens (for capacitive screens). I found a two-minute DIY tutorial that worked! The tutorial made use of aluminum foil, cotton bud tip, pen/pencil, tape, and water.

The instructions are as follows:

  1. Attach the cotton bud top to the tip of the pen/pencil.
  2. Wrap the aluminum foil around the wand, overlapping the cotton tip, leaving enough cotton area as the contact surface (to the screen).
  3. Use an adhesive tape to secure the wrap further.  

To use it, you just dip the cotton bud tip to the water. Make sure that your fingers have contact to the foil, then start drawing on the screen.

The water component serves as a conductor between the cotton tip and the screen. Make sure that the tip is damp enough and not dry. You might need to dip the stylus again later. 

As this was easy to do, it was tedious to keep replacing worn-out tips. The foil gets ripped along the process, too. While it works, I don’t think this setup would be convenient for a fussy doodler like me.

Stylus #1: Aluminum foil and cotton bud tip.

Stylus essentials

I did some further research on how styluses work. I am fortunate to find a video that experimented on several materials for the same pursuit. The stylus needs to:

  • be conductive
  • have enough contact surface, and
  • make contact with your hand (or have enough capacitance on its own).

Stylus #2

Looking through my stuff, I found a long metal alligator hair clip. Wow, this wand can conduct! I easily snapped a cotton bud — the rod was instantly secured in place! With the cotton tip, it still needed water for it to work. I enjoyed this wand! I am sure girls will find this stylish, too!

Stylus #2 : Alligator hair clip and cottonbud.

Stylus #3

As I was drawing with my pencil one day, I realized that graphite is a conductor, too! For artists who keep their leads long, they could just press on the lead and start drawing on the phone! Another trick that works is carving the edge of the pencil, near enough for that normal pen hold, and deep enough to expose a graphite surface for that finger contact. This setup gives the most precise stroke. This, however, leaves pencil marks on your phone. If you don’t mind wiping your screen clean afterward, just make sure you keep the pencil from breaking. 

Sylus #3 : Carved Pencil

I hope you enjoy these DIY wands like I do! I have three now!

Enjoy drawing with your stylus! Do share your masterpieces with us, too!