I’ve mentioned before that the Maglus magnetic stylus doesn’t work with the iPad mini‘s Smart Cover. The reason is that the mini Smart Cover has magnets in different places than the full size version, and the Maglus relies on those now-missing magnets to stick to the Smart Cover. The Maglus is a great stylus though, and I’m not willing to give up on using it, so I decided to find a solution to that problem.

Attaching something to the Smart Cover can be done several ways without using magnets. There are products out there that do exactly that, using plastic clips. I wanted something that would add as little bulk between the screen and the cover as possible, however, and I know from experience with cases that have elastic straps that they’re great for such use. An elastic strap gives you the ability to move it around, remove it completely, and even strap it around the entire iPad to help keep the Smart Cover shut as well.

After a couple of prototypes, I came up with a strap that uses a piece of elastic band, a popsicle stick, and two magnets. The popsicle stick is there to give rigidity to the front portion, something I discovered was needed after first making a version with magnets simply sewn into the band. I used my Dremel to cut two slots in the stick, each with just enough room for a small rectangular magnet, which incidentally came from a full size Smart Cover clone (that I’ve been using magnets from before). I glued the magnets into the slots with super glue, super glued the stick to the band, and wrapped it around. Then I started sewing. I sewed around the entire stick, sewing together the two ends of the elastic band while simultaneously encasing the popsicle stick between them. I made sure the finished loop was much shorter than the actual circumference of the Smart Cover, so that it would have to stretch around it, and in doing so provide a good grip.

The finished version works quite nicely. The magnets are strong enough to grip the Maglus through the elastic band, and the band itself is thin enough that it doesn’t really affect how well the Smart Cover fits onto the mini’s screen. It’s easy to take on and off, and if you keep it out towards the edge (the third flap of the Smart Cover), you can stretch the band around the iPad itself, securing the Smart Cover to the iPad mini in the process. I tend to put it on the second flap of the cover, however, as it then folds up quite nicely and doesn’t interfere with the stand functionality:

All in all this little mod worked out quite nicely. Elastic bands are one of my favorite DIY materials, and it worked well in this situation too. A couple of days ago I did also get a package of replacement nibs for my Wacom styli in the mail, and now have two of those lying around, so I might make another such band that has a pen clip on it instead of magnets.

EDIT: Made a version for the Wacom Bamboo stylus