Introduction: DIY Touchpad Stylus

Picture of DIY Touchpad Stylus
Here's how to make a touchpad stylus to help you draw on your computer using the touchpad.
See the horrible but functional video:

Step 1: Steps 1-5

Picture of Steps 1-5

you'll need
= a standard dishwashing sponge (others might not work as well, I tried).
= a bic pen (or another pen with a somewhat bendy/soft plastic shaft)
= a metal rod (I got mine from a broken umbrella of which there are plenty in nyc)
= a cigarette lighter or maybe matches.

pull off the tip of the pen (unscrew it, yank it, torque it, whatever)
take out its insides so that all you have left is the tube and the tip

using the lighter heat up the end of your metal rod (maybe hold the rod with paper or something so you don't get burnt)

shove the hot tip of your metal rod through the plastic near where the tip goes on.
shove it in so that the metal rod sticks into the area that the pen tip will cover when you put it back on.

put the pen tip back on (it should have a hole instead of an ink thingy at the tip at this point)

shove as big a piece of sponge as you can into the tip. If a lot hangs out, snip it off with scissors.

Step 2: Steps 6-8

Picture of Steps 6-8

if you want you can tape the metal rod to the pen shaft to make it flush, but don't cover the metal, your hand will have to make contact with it for this to work.

dip the sponge tipped pen into water.

commence drawing on your touchpad:

your hand has to be touching the metal rod, and the metal rod tip has to be touching the wet sponge.


cassandra.a.cole.3 (author)2015-03-09

Seems a bit risky to use water on a electrical device, but I suppose it'd do if you had... literally no money...

I discovered (by accident) that the soft tip stylus for iphone, ipad, etc, work great. At least on my dell

cassandra.a.cole.3 (author)2015-03-09

Seems a bit risky to use water on a electrical device, but I suppose it'd do if you had... literally no money...

I discovered (by accident) that the soft tip stylus for iphone, ipad, etc, work great. At least on my dell

SeventhWord (author)2008-07-11

You all seem to be blowing this "Conducting Electricity" thing far out of proportion. What conducts elecrtricity? Metal does. Does metal need to be wet to conduct electricity? No it does not. Do what I do and simply wrap a bit of aluminium foil around the base and the hold-area of the pen. This gives you the connection between electricity from fingers -- aluminium foil -- base aluminium foil -- laptop touchpad. It works and I have been doing it ever since I figured it. I only figured it out when I got a tunnocks tea cake cover (which is also foil) stuck to the top of my finger. I never noticed and was still managing to move the pointer around. There is absolutely no need to introduce water to an electrical-based item. That would be stupidity.

hamgravy (author)SeventhWord2008-09-04

i tried simply wrapping foil around the pen and it dodnt work!!! what am i doing wrong??

did you touch the aluminum and make sure the aluminum touches the computer

hamgravy (author)hamgravy2008-09-04

wait nvm i got it

hamgravy (author)hamgravy2008-09-04

pppsssttttt.... just spit on it...u dont have to have a cup of water by ur keyboard all da time

blodefood (author)2013-09-07


ConnieDep (author)2012-04-12

Easiest way I've found to make a stylus is to take a q-tip & wrap in aluminum foil with about half of the cotton part sticking out. Get the cotton part damp & use it while holding the foil. Seems to work for me... Hope this helps someone...

henrybot (author)2011-01-24

i have a Samsung Wave 525 and i am using a homemade stylus. only the negative side of a battery touching the touch pad and the positive side on your fingers. sorry for the bad english..

raknar (author)henrybot2011-11-02

I find that gripping my index finger between thumb and middle finger gives me the control I want from a stylus without the fuss.

leevonk (author)raknar2012-01-09

great idea, works well

MCzone (author)raknar2012-01-09

you are a genius

noopy (author)2010-10-11


uses  CONDUCTIVE SPONGE   (a graphite embedded sponge)
and the filled my pen tip with it, made into same SHAPE as FINGER.

Thank you guys for putting all the ideas into my head.


22freddster (author)2010-10-05

When I saw a few of the ideas, i made one up with stuff around my dest and the way i found was to take a AAA battery and tape it to a gum wrapper, foil wrapper, and - end against the foil, also you have to tape/fold it so that the battery is touching the foil and the foil touches the pad, then just make your own extention at the other end of the battery, works great!

Thanks for the ideas!!

shanefiddle (author)2010-10-01

So, after experimenting with the ideas shared in the comments, and the instructable above, I ended up hitting on a VERY simple touchpad stylus:

a small plastic bag with a teaspoon of water in a corner, rubberbanded around an old pen. Works great on the the touchpad for my netbook. Turns out, no metal conductor to my hand is necessary. I am using it for drawing graphic novels on the computer. 

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the discussion, the stylus allows much more control over the drawings!

michaelgohjs (author)2010-09-19

here look at my stylus for ipads and iphones+ ipod
it works with my dell inspiron touchpad too

sarahgold (author)2010-08-26

I USE A SPOON! hehe. a spoon, no fancyness, id use a fork but im scared of the pointyness. i have a macbook and it worksss like supa well.

milospalic1 (author)2010-05-20

 You can use conductive sponge you know these things under the new IC's this foam thingy instead of a sponge

dark sponge (author)2010-04-29

 If you don't have a sponge, I've found that paper towels (and even toilet paper) wadded into a small ball will work fine.

wekebu (author)2009-12-31

I played with this and a few other designs.  I ended up having to fuss with it too often to be consistently usable.
Paid $19.95, free shipping and got a stylus made by ergonomic, they make portable touchpads, but sell stylus' separate.  I haven't received it yet, but I'm hoping it will work.  They say they will refund $$, if it doesn't work out.

SeventhWord (author)2008-07-18

Sorry, but calling what I do 'boring and obvious' seems obvious in itself. I'm a fourteen year old girl, not some scientist. I just did what was the simplest, easiest thing to do with what I had. Please don't flame others' ideas. The above [the actual DIY stylus] is a good idea, but it just seems to be such a tedious thing to do for so little, which is why I think that aluminium foil works just as well as anything else. Also, if you do intend on flaming me, please do it with proper grammar - I find it hard enough to understand English anyway, let alone trying to decipher badly written paragraphs with only commas and spaces as any form of discretion between words.

leevonk (author)SeventhWord2008-07-18


Ethelon (author)2008-03-25

doesnt a stylus for the touchpad of a laptop need heat?

HardCoreHacker (author)Ethelon2008-06-05

I thought that too but it is only electricity

leevonk (author)Ethelon2008-03-26


!Andrew_Modder! (author)2007-10-26

ANYTHING can be a stylus..... (if its not sharp or pointy metal...)

ac1D (author)!Andrew_Modder!2007-11-10

FAKE. try using ANYTHING like you said and record a video of it :)

!Andrew_Modder! (author)ac1D2007-11-11

i dont have a video camera lol if i did, i would. but trust me on this 1

leevonk (author)!Andrew_Modder!2007-11-11

uhm,... yeah,... try actually doing it. (hint: you're wrong)

!Andrew_Modder! (author)leevonk2007-11-11

i have done it, on my DS

Ds pads are pressure pads. (in other words, anything pointy will work on it.)

leevonk (author)!Andrew_Modder!2007-11-19

a touchpad is not a ds and vice versa.

w00ty32 (author)leevonk2008-02-04

all you need to make it work is wetness.

leevonk (author)w00ty322008-02-04

you need a conductive path from your hand to the touchpad. One way to create this path would be a wet sponge held in your hand, or, as shown above, a wet sponge connected to a metal rod touching the hand. Of course the 'wetness' has to be accomplished using water with some salts in it (conductive) and not distilled water (nonconductive).

w00ty32 (author)leevonk2008-02-23

I see....... that makes sense.

thats not true it has to be able to conduct electricity. wen i touch the metal rod it sends electricity to the sponge. i believe this will work with the iphone too.

Kiteman (author)!Andrew_Modder!2007-10-26

Touchpad styli need to affect the capacitance of the area around the pad in a particular way, and that way requires a contact that is mostly water and fairly well earthed, such your finger or a small wet sponge connected to your finger.

hummer_rc (author)2008-03-28

Yay clean mouse pad!

piekid (author)2008-03-18

you are the man I love it... just made one using a pen with a grip cover and i put the metal (paper clip in my case) under the grip cut some stuff out of the grip then i could hold it like a normal pen. if i could post a pic of my one i would but i don't think i can

LinuxH4x0r (author)2007-10-26

You can also do this by toucking a battery (someting small -dont cry to me if your laptop died because you attached a car battery to it) to the pad. If I remember right only one side works. or just get a wacom pen tablet Good luck

ac1D (author)LinuxH4x0r2007-11-10

I used to do it with a 1.5 vold button battery and it worked fine.
like showed here:

Kiteman (author)2007-10-26

Leevonk, see my comments here. Even though your 'ible is now public, my comments still hold.

leevonk (author)Kiteman2007-10-26

in response to your question of laptop safety: at least on my laptop, the touchpad is sealed all around so no danger of water getting into the laptop. The sponge doesn't have to be soaked, just has to be moist, after dipping it in the water you can squish most of the water out before using it.

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