MacGyver Your Own Bulb Grip Stylus

A recent comment from LeAnn Trana asked about  the availability of a bulb grip stylus for one of her students with CP. I wondered about the same thing recently when considering adaptive stylus for individuals with mobility impairments. Although I found a variety of T – grip styluses available at  and have used the chunky Cosmos and HHI styluses from Amazon which are good for individuals with limited grasping capabilities, I was unsuccessful with finding any bulb grip styluses available on the market. Bulb grips are great options for developing grasps and for those individuals who have tone issues.

So, how could you MacGyver a bulb grip stylus?

I start a search for possible components or devices to create a bulb grip stylus. Cheap was my biggest concern. Here is what I found and especially cheap if you need to MacGyver  a Bulb Gripped Stylus:


  • Aluminum foil tape ($6.98 from Menard’s; used for sealing ducts) Needed for capacitive connection and activation of touch with iPad/iPod/iPhone (capacitive properties uses electrical properties of human body for activating iDevices)


  • Hack saw
  • Flat file for wood and metal

  • Scissors

Directions for assembling:

1. Cut/sawed off the paint brush tip on the bulb paint brush. File the cut edge so it is flat, straight and smooth.

2. The styluses I found have a small ridge at the end of it which makes it too big to slide into the open shaft of the bulb grip.

File the ridge at the end of the stylus to be the same width as the shaft of the stylus so it would fit in the shaft of the cut off bulb grip handle.

3. Inserted the stylus into the shaft of the bulb handle firmly (you could also put glue in to secure it but it does not  seem necessary).

You can put tape on the handle and tuck the end of the tape into the shaft of the bulb grip before you insert the stylus as one way to connect the stylus with the aluminum foil tape and the handle.

4. Cut  3/8 – 1/2″ strips of the aluminum foil tape the length of the bulb grip handle. Keep the paper backing on for easy handling and cutting.

5. Remove the backing from the aluminum foil tape and attached it from the stylus up the handle to where the users hand would be gripping the bulb handle. There are a number of ways to attach the tape to the bulb handle. Just make sure your tape goes from the stylus to where the user will be holding the handle for the electrical connection to activate the capacitive iPad/iPod/iPhone – or the stylus won’t work! Here are a few pictures of the finished bulb grip stylus:

Your stylus is ready to use. You will find that when you are not touching the aluminum tape on the stylus will not activate your screen. Create whatever application of the aluminum tape from the stylus to the bulb handle you need or want to create the connection of where the user will be holding the stylus for connection to be made. I found if I smoothed the wrinkles of the tape out on the stylus it removed some of the sharp edges created by the foil tape.

After purchasing all the components and using equipment already owned. The cost each of these styluses were probably under $3.00. Maybe not exactly cosmetically ready for mass production (anyone know where to get ahold of aluminum handles??). But it works and looks tolerable.

If you know of any commercially made bulb grip styluses sold, please leave a comment. I think there would be more than LeAnn or myself interested!!


About Carol Leynse Harpold, MS, OTR/L, SCLV, ATP, CATIS

OTR/L with more than 35 years experience in pediatrics, school based therapy and adult rehabilitation. Masters of Science in Adaptive Education/Assistive Technology with 20 years experience in AT in education of elementary, middle school, secondary, post secondary students and work environments for adult clients. A RESNA Assistive Technology Practitioner with ACVREP CATIS credentials, AOTA Specialty Certification in Low Vision, USC Davis Executive Certificate in Home Modifications, servicing adults and students with disabilities in employment, education, and home environments. A 2020 graduate of the University of Alabama Birmingham Low Vision Certification Program.
This entry was posted in Accessories, iPad, iPhone, iPod, iPod/iPad Accessory, Mobility Impairment, Stylus and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to MacGyver Your Own Bulb Grip Stylus

  1. stock3liz says:

    This also works if you wrap a 3 muskateers wrapper around a pencil! Any you get the chocolate!

  2. Kathleen Allgood says:

    Brilliant! Also can adapt with Sugru?

  3. Robin Cudlitz says:

    I have a suggestion that might work the same way as the bulb grip that you are looking for. I have made my own ball style grips that would probably work on a regular stylus. The ball is made out of a hollow hard plastic golf ball (mine are bright orange) from the dollar store. I make a small hole in one side of the ball with a sharp phillips head screwdriver or knife and push a pencil/pen into the hole to make it a tight fit. I do the same thing to the other side of the ball. I have been using these grips with students with low tone/poor grips for years – they work really great! If you want a photo, e-mail me. (FYI – there would not be a conductivity issue, as I use a variety of grips with a stylus).

  4. Kelly says:

    I am looking for the tip to be a larger surface as the students have poorer motor control and have difficulty pressing hard enough to make enough contact with the surface using traditional tipped stylus. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Kelly,
      Without knowing your students, it may not be the need to press harder, but rather a more responsive or sensitive stylus tip. Previous posts have discussed that “not all styluses are equal . I have found the mesh or microfiber tips to be more sensitive generally than the rubber tip and their are some that are really sensitive and do not need pressure, just sensitivity. If you search styluses or go to the link on favorite equipment you will find some suggestions about sensitive styluses that I would recommend. A not so expensive stylus listed in the equipment list is the Tru Glide stylus. I also have found the Faraday Salt tip and stylus very sensitive. I would recommend those or check out the styluses at Styluses R Us for highly conductive styluses that don’t require pressure just touch. I find an amazing difference from one to the other.
      Hope that helps.

  5. R mal says:

    I don’t understand about placing the foil tape inside the bulb? It shows the tape is wrapped around the handle not inside bulb? Can you please explain. Is it wrapped around end of stylus that is inserted?

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