Picture of Making A Glove Work With A Touch Screen
You can do this in just a few minutes without a lot of know-how. 

Winter's coming up (if you're in the Northern Hemisphere) and with winter comes cold  weather, and with cold weather comes gloves.  But even in the cold your phone probably still rings.  And while I love my touch screen phone, I hate that I can't use it with gloves on.

There are gloves out there that allow you do use your touch screen, but why buy special gloves when, with just a few stitches you can convert the gloves you already have?

Update: Here's a video that runs you through the steps:

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What  You Need
Most modern touch screens use "capacitive touchscreen" which you can read about at length here, but in short it means that for a glove to work with a touch screen it needs to complete a circuit with your finger.  So that's what we're going to do by putting some conductive thread between the screen and our finger.

You need to be able to sew a few stitches without killing yourself.

You will need:
  • A glove.
  • A needle.
  • 12" (30cm) of conductive thread. (TIP: If you don't want to buy a whole spool, you can buy a few feet much more affordably from SparkFun,  Adafruit, or Sternalb.  
A warning about conductive thread scammers
Unfortunately there are people on Etsy and eBay selling sparkly thread as "conductive thread". It's not and will not work with this project.  I've purchased from the sellers linked above and can vouch that it's the real stuff.  If you buy it elsewhere be sure that the seller lists conductivity data (ohms per foot or similar).  Also conductive thread is not super sparkly, it has a color and finish more like brushed stainless steel.

What's conductive thread?  This great article over at Fashioning Technology will tell you everything you need to know and where to get some.  And when you get some, you'll find there are tons of interesting things you can do with it.  Just look!

(Thanks to the good people at reMake Lounge for introducing me to conductive thread at the last Instructables Build Night)

That's it, lets get to it!

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That or warmth=sweat, Sweat=salt, Salt = conductivity
tck1000 Bartboy5 years ago
Just stick a finger up your nose for a few seconds before you use the ipod touch, or iphone, and you'll be good as gold (no pun intended).
"It's not the heat, its the humidty"

Excellent theory. I think you're probably right.
The reason yours stops working at colder temperatures is that unlike most conductors, the body conducts less the colder it is. This has to do with the expanding and contracting of blood vessels and the resistance of the skin. Less oil more resistance, this is the same property exploited in touch lamps
heat would be very inaccurate and you really need to do research before you talk.
Explain why my ipod works ONLY when my fingers are warm, no matter how thick the gloves I am wearing it still works if the tips are warm.
its called capacitive touch which means it acts like a capacitor and not any heat sensor and you cant tell if your fingers are cold or not, your body temperature is mostly constant. and if your i pod doesnt work somtimes then your in trouble and do you really think apple is dumb enough to do somthing like that where if its freezing out side the device wont work. and we are talking about the ipod touch if your getting confused about another one.
Why does it work with something that's warm then?
give me an example of somthign you used that was warm and it worked
It worked with my glove that I wasn't wearing.
im sure it dident and again is it an itouch or the older ones that you rotate
One of the very first Ipod touches
 i think its possible that your glove was just thin at that moment or the heat let your electric current go through, but the ipod wouldn't be designed to sense heat because it should work with cold fingers, and not while in a hot bag.
Ok, in that case, think differently.
Why doesn't it work with cold fingers?
 I agree it probably isn't heat, but why would it not work with cold fingers?
 i said they design the product to work with cold fingers. i'm sorry but you don't need to keep commenting on this there are already a lot of posts explaining how they work.
So you're saying they designed it to work, but it doesn't?
Valche Bartboy5 years ago
Give it up, chump. It's not heat sensitive.

Bartboy Valche5 years ago
Ok, I'll ask it in the questions section, because nobody is capable of explaining why ipods don't work when you're cold.
i hope this helps with the confusion arguments on this instructable , sorry for making is so long

there are 2 types of touch screens, the kind that work with a stylus, i will call them "type A" (PDA, Nintendo DS), and the kind that you use with your finger "type B"(ipod touch/iphone,ATM machines)  none of them are heat sensitive.
with "type A" there is a sensor that detects where the stylus (or finger, they work with just about anything) is at to work.  "typeB" have a special membrain between the screen and circuit boards behind the screen.  when using that kind of touch screen your finger is literally smashing the membrane and the screen together,(which is why an iphone will not work with a stylus, its not based on pressure but on surface area of the pressed space). like most electronics when its to cold/to hot they will malfunction slightly.  they are calibrated so that a finger is the "only" thing that works on them, (other wise they would do weird things in your pocket) gloves usually make touch screens not work because they get in the way of the small amount of electricity humans naturally have in there bodies.  this "electricity" causes the touch screen to get a different reading where ever your finger is. if your gloves are thin enough they will not interfere with the "connection".  if you want more information on this topic just send me a message, ill go in more depth and try to add some pictures if that will help.
OK, I get that.
But what I don't get is why the "type B" ones don't work when your fingers are really cold.
 its not that your fingers are cold, as i stated before,"like most electronics when its to cold/hot they will malfunction.  in the "type B" ones the membrane is slightly frozen so its not as responsive, or the circuit boards are to cold and not functioning.  if the device has been in your pocket or some place "just the right temperature" but your hands are cold (ipod warm, hand cold) then it is a lack of electrostatic connection due to cold hands being to dry/moist to successfully carry a large enough charge to make a reading.  if you still have more questions please send me a private message, this question chain is getting ridiculously long
Hoping you could help, you seem knowledgeable and I could use the expertise. Recently paralyzed teenager, we want to get him on the IPAD..we made a device for him to move his head to tap the IPAD screen with the approved stylus. Problem is you really need to hit the screen with the tip of the stylus for it to work..I see they have the whatever gloves, the flat end of a battery ...a sausage :)
Here is the thing...we can connect the sty;us to the end of a stick and he can then TAP the screen..ok so stylus works..stylus special material does not wrap around the tip of the stylus so if his concocted stick is not dead on it does not make contact. correctly ..the gloves need to touch skin.....is there a way to use the battery in fabric / glove with conducter thread? then we can attach that to a stick ..battery alone would destroy screen as he does not have great control   ANY suggestions would be awesome
I know that this is an old post.  Did you ever come up with a solution?  Why were you not looking at mouth sticks?  Here are some links about iPad modified mouth sticks which, I would assume, the modifications would work no matter what is holding the stick/stylist.


 i honestly have no idea on how to make an ipad stylus, especially in your circumstance.  you could maybe try to run a large/long thread of the conductive thread to your finger, and have that connect to the end of the stylus, but i honesty don't think that would work. you could also try to make a small patch of the thermal thread cover the entire tip of the stylus and let that stop where he can touch it (think pencil grip that goes over the tip)   i realy wish i could help but i'm not very knowledgeable in how to make a stylus work with an ipad, and i have no experience with an ipad.  if he can tap the screen with his finger, or just move his finger enough to use a stylus you may be better off just making a stand or something for it to sit on that would adjust it for him to use.  ill let you play around with the ideas, but feel free to message me, i would love to try and help you. if you can get pictures that would help a lot.
thanks ..here is my question in plain speak :)  I think !
can I take a aaa battery and cover that with a cut off piece of the Dots Gloves..
I suppose my question is ...is the batttery acting like the finger? and if so then covering the battery with the tip of a Dot;s glove would give the stick more overage at the tip..  Made the stand and stick but the IPAD works like the Iphone and needs a finger or the pogo stylus ... it is the capacitive touchscreen (copied from another person)  I found Dots gloves, aaa battery, a sausage from Korea uses and a snap.. what I wonder is ...the battery is that a replacement for your finger and then if so covering it with the conductive glove finger ?? would that work?
Grathio (author)  tryingtohelp5 years ago
 It would probably work.  It doesn't need a "finger" is just needs something big enough to disrupt the magnetic field around the screen.  So the battery works without touching a person because it's a bunch of conductive material. (Not that it's a battery.  Which is why the moist sausage works too.)

I've seen a bit of damp sponge work as a stylus, but that's not practical for you.  I'd try making one this way:
  • 1 piece of aluminium rod that you can buy at the hardware/craft/art store (1/4" or 3/8" diameter or whatever).  Hollow is fine.
  • 1 bit of sponge.
  • A small amount of conductive cloth (the "Sheildit" from here would work) or even a few square inches of that gray anti-static plastic they pack electronics in. (Though the cloth will probably last longer and be more durable)
Stick the sponge on the end of the rod so that it has a soft end to poke the iPad with.  Wrap the sponge with the conductive cloth/plastic so it connects to the rod. (use tape or a heat gun on the cloth to activate the glue that's on the back of the cloth.)  You don't need the full foot of aluminum tube, just a couple inches are fine.

I just mocked one up here in the lab with antistatic plastic and it seems to work just fine in limited testing.
Thanks a million...I rigged a rod on a baseball hat as the poor kid is a teenager ...what stumpted me was the end I had on the rod would not work because of the weird cap....blah blah screen...  the pogo stylus will work on the rod but it really has to be dead straight and We need something that covers all around the stick...I really appreciate the help..I went looking on line and found this site...very helpful for a non techy :)
thanks grathio, i'm not terribly experienced in touch screens, or how to make stylus's work, i also dont have axcess to a "lab" or "shop" to try and make any type of mock up prototype type thing.  And to tryingtohelp, i hope that works for you, and i agree this site is very helpful for not techies, or just about any craft "challenged" people.  :)
Grathio (author)  cupojoe9995 years ago
I think it's important for me to note that when I say my "lab" in this case it's my living room couch.  You don't need special rooms or tools or even special education to make mock ups or prototypes or new stuff.  You just have to try and not be afraid to fail a whole lot.
"it is a lack of electrostatic connection due to cold hands being to dry/moist"
Thanks, no more questions.

Although, every comment increased the number of comments on this ible :P
 i'm saying that they designed it to work with cold fingers so they wouldn't make it heat sensitive. and i really don't care if you don't understand anymore. there are way too many comments on this.
Ummm... no.. You helped him get his answer, and he GETS it... notice the "Thanks, no more questions." That means THANKS, I GET IT AND I HAVE NO MORE QUESTIONS... so pay more attention next time... DUH.
Arrogance. (Sigh)
 Bartboy got McPwned
Is it an ipod touch or an ipod with a click wheel?
 it works for both, as they both have capacitive touch screens (or in this case, click wheels)
pow roychook5 years ago
roy you are the reason why i hate people...mostly, mostly
roychook pow5 years ago
i know im a duche bag and im sorry didnt mean for that to come out as offensive
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