So far we’ve seen a range of amazing hand crafted products on Handmade Highlights, but this week, I’ve brought you guys something a bit different.

Today we’re featuring a tutorial on how to create your own digital art on your iPad and your iPhone, using an entirely handmade stylus that you can make with just a few supplies.

The capacitive foam-tipped stylus we’re sharing today is the very same one that our resident iOS artist, Macsorro, uses to create his digital paintings like this amazing rendition of Bane from The Dark Knight Rises.

Macsorro has used this stylus to create quite a few pieces of art for the site, and we’re always excited when he reveals something new. Here’s another digital masterpiece that was developed for the release of the iPhone 5:

Impressive, right? He does his work on the iPad and the iPhone. For the Bane photo above, he used the Sketch Club app and his self-made stylus.

Let’s get down to business, though. That stylus? It’s a simple bladeless X-Acto knife that’s paired with capacitive foam. Easy peasy.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own Macsorro stylus:

  • Scissors
  • Conductive foam
  • Clear tape
  • One pen-style X-Acto blade


After you gather your supplies, you can get down to business. Here’s a step-by-step instruction list:

  1. Unscrew the blade and the tightening ring from the X-Acto knife. Be careful, though. Those X-Acto blades are ultra sharp!

    Unscrew the X-Acto blade

  2. Cut a piece of conductive foam to fit the top of X-Acto body. You’ll want to make this equal in length to 1/2 or 1/3 of the X-Acto, because it needs to fit across the top of the pen.

    Measure and cut the foam

  3. Drape the conductive foam across the top of the X-Acto body (the side without the threaded hole that the blade came from) and bend it down against the sides. Make sure to line it up equally.

    Drape foam over X-Acto pen

  4. Use your clear tape to carefully secure the conductive foam to your new stylus.

    Securely tape foam to X-Acto pen

  5. Start sketching! According to Macsorro, these styluses will last for a few months before needing replacement foam. Changing out the foam is a simple task, so you can draw for months on end without shelling out big bucks for a stylus. A little capacitive foam goes a long way.

    The finished product

If you’re wondering where to get an pen-style X-Acto, almost any hardware store or general store will work. Conductive foam is a bit harder to find, but you can pick it up online or at local computer repair shops like Frys and Radio Shack.

Planning on making one of these styluses? Let us know how it turns out! And a big thank you to Macsorro for the tutorial.

Do you have any DIY iPad or iPhone projects of your own, or suggestions on what you’d like to see in future editions of Handmade Highlights? Make sure to get in touch!