As much as we all love finger painting, drawing is often more precise and comfortable when using a marking tool. It’s exciting to see capacitive multi-touch screens become the norm, but the range of stylus options is still pretty limited.
Current iPhone and iPad drawing tools fall into two camps: foil sticks and wet wands. Foil sticks are pretty straight forward to make. Just grab a sheet of aluminum and roll/crumple it into a pencil shape. The only problem is that the part that touches the screen is hard and needs to be pretty large, requiring the user to write at a very specific angle. On the other side, wet wands use a soft, wet element to interact with the screen, such as a sausage or a q-tip. They work well for a while, but either need to be frequently rehydrated or start to go bad.
We’ve been experimenting with conductive foams and fabrics in search of a middle ground. Fortunately, it’s quite easy to make a soft, conductive writing tool using some pretty basic materials. All you need is a pencil, an anti-static sock (such as this one, with X-Static in the foot area which contains conductive silver thread), and some patience to cut and sew it all together.
See the detailed step-by-step instructions in our Soft iPhone and iPad stylus instructable.