Instructables
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:

 
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Step 1: 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.

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

Supplies
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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Great project specially with the weather today

Gaby71077 months ago

What's better? Thin Conductive yarn or just conductive thread?

Detoxiodine7 months ago

I can confirm that this also works with Coats Ophir metallized threads, the ones made of 65% Viscose and 35% Metallized Polyester.

And thanks for the instructable!

parisusa1 year ago
Was recently wondering if this was possible or how. Thank you!
I just want to point out that you don't have to buy special thread listed as "conductive". Some normal brands of embroidery thread's metallic colours actually do contain enough metal to work for this. E.g. this other instructable used Coats (I also did this with embroidery thread but can't remember what brand I used). http://www.instructables.com/id/3-Minute-Touchscreen-Gloves/ An easy way to test this at your local craft and sewing shop is to hold one end of the skein and brush the other end against your phone and see if it responds.
If you're in Canada, you can check out conductivethread.ca which sells 10 yards for $10 w/ free shipping anywhere in the world.
Kelly021 year ago
I was looking for one. Great work.
scarington1 year ago
Lame Lifesavers (http://members.shaw.ca/ubik/thread/order.html) is a good source for thread, you can get a 10-yard card for $10 CAD shipped anywhere in the world.
use some arctic silver 5 instead
guntemar2 years ago
This will be a great thing since I use my iPhone as a GPS/Music Player on my motorcycle...I always wear gloves and have to pull over to do anything on the screen..
Really good I just wear fingerless glove though
hippydog2 years ago
Thank you for this instructable. now i dont have to go buy brand new motorbike gloves! :-)
kevinvw2 years ago
Anyone know how to get an object to trigger an iphone touch screen if the object is not being held by a person?

For example if I wanted to roll a "ball" across the screen and have the screen sense it. But I don't want anything connected to the ball.
well, you could apply thermal grease all over the ball.
cool knex132 years ago
cool did not know that
jgulick2 years ago
Thanks! I made these gloves for a christmas present for my mom. She loves them!
Bartboy5 years ago
My ipod works with gloves...?
It's not the conductivity, it's the heat.
cyrozap Bartboy5 years ago
It is most certainly the conductivity. The iPhone's screen is a capacitive touchscreen, and as it says on Wikipedia, "A capacitive touchscreen panel consists of an insulator such as glass, coated with a transparent conductor such as indium tin oxide (ITO). As the human body is also a conductor, touching the surface of the screen results in a distortion of the local electrostatic field, measurable as a change in capacitance." Laptop trackpads and iPod scroll-wheels work using the same principle, so this glove mod can also be used for those devices.

See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touchscreen#Capacitive
And here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitive_sensing
And for the iPhone specifics, see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone#Screen_and_input
Bartboy cyrozap5 years ago
A bit late, If you look below you'll see I already know that...

My point is that ipods do not work with cold fingers.
My iPhone most certainly does work with cold fingers. I'm not sure you are right about this...
Ipods I have:
G2 Original (30GB)
G5 Video (30GB)
V1 Touch (32GB)
V2 Touch (32GB)

NONE of them work in the climate here, how cold are you talking?

My Ipod shuffle G1 and G2 Both work, obviously.


 My Touch G1 works fine when my fingers are cold. Here's a specific: -27. Celsius.
Mine stops working before then, about -20 C.

But some of my friends do work, so it might be just mine.

But when it gets really cold, none of them work (The coldest temperature here was below -50 C )
 Noticed the same while living my entire life in Finland. My theory is that when your hands are warm they are rarely very dry, but when they're cold they are more dry than warm hands leading to less conductive hands so maybe when they're cold the touchwheel or touchscreen recognizes them as some kind of "background noice".
My fingers are exceptionally dry most of the time, and my phone often doesn't respond--cold or hot hands, it doesn't matter. I find that licking the tip of my finger is an easy way to get things moving when my phone isn't responding, so I'm supecting you're right. Now that we've moved into winter, my hands are even drier, and licking is working even better.
 Someone probably said the same before me. Not reading all comments before posting leads to nowhere.
That or warmth=sweat, Sweat=salt, Salt = conductivity
tck1000 Bartboy4 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.
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