Most smartphones and tablets use a “touch screen,” which means in order for the screen to work, it must be touched by something conductive, like a finger or touch screen gloves.
In normal weather your skin works great as a conductor and you can easily use your phone. The problem comes about in the winter when it gets cold and you are wearing gloves. Most gloves are non-conductive and that means you need to pull your gloves off and freeze your hand every time you need to make a phone call, answer a text message or just look something up.
There are many solutions that people have used to get around the glove issue. The simplest is to simply remove the glove, and cutting off the fingertip of the glove is another quick and dirty fix that lets you use your touch screen. But neither option offers your fingers any protection from the elements. The same goes for using flip-top mittens, at least these have the advantage of being able to warm your fingers.
Another option is to purchase conductive gloves, but you already have gloves that you like, so why not just do a little tweaking to your favorite pair, so you can use your touch screen while wearing them.
DIY Conductive Touch Screen Gloves
- 1 foot of conductive thread per finger — Make sure that the thread is conductive and not just “sparkly,” if it doesn’t have any conductivity data, then play it safe and get something else. Conductive thread should resemble a very thin wire. If you can’t find the thread, then look below at my suggestion on how to “create” your own.
- Pair of gloves
6 Steps to Making Your Own Touch Screen Gloves
1. Try on the gloves to figure out where you need the conductivity to be.
3. Starting from the inside of the glove, start sewing a series of stitches in the previously determined location. Do not make the stitches too small or some screens, such as the iPhone, will ignore them. Some people have been successful by simply sewing an ‘X’ pattern onto their fingertip, but I find it works better to form a small square that gives you a slightly larger touch area to work with.
4. Once you determine that you have enough conductive material on the fingertip turn the glove inside out and tie and tie a knot. If you are an avid sewer or a stickler for detail work you may notice that you have a very tiny touch area on the inside of the finger, try to make this area have as much touch capacity as the exterior of the glove. It can be accomplished via a series of messy knots or just throwing in some additional stitches. The idea is to create a conductive connection between your finger and the screen.
5. Try out your touch screen gloves on your smartphone or tablet. In order for the touch screen to work you, need two things to happen: Your finger needs to touch the thread on the inside of the glove and the touch screen needs to touch the thread on the exterior of the glove. If neither of these are happening, then you will need to add more stitches.
6. Once you have the gloves working, you can go on and add stitches to other fingertips and your thumb.
DIY Conductive Thread
If you can’t find any conductive thread, or just don’t want to leave the house. There is an easy way to “create” your own, the only problem is that it can be time consuming.
Find an old piece of wire and strip it of its insulation. I like to use the wires from some of my old computer components. If you do it carefully, the insulation should peel off in almost one piece, much like a banana skin. Inside you will see a bundle of thin copper wires that are twisted in a rope-like strand. Very carefully untwist the strand and separate the wires. These wires will be your thread. Theses wires are not always as pliable as the thread, so sewing the fingertips will not be as quick, but the end result should be just as effective.
You now have your own pair of touch screen gloves that let you use your device without freezing your fingertips off. You also now have a great idea for cheap and easy co-worker gifts — they don’t need to know how easy they were to make!
Photo Credit: Bakathwia