Can't Touch This: How To DIY Touch Gloves

Winter weather has arrived and we got our sweaters, scarves, jackets, and gloves ready as we embark on some holiday shopping. But what good are those gloves if you have to take them off to use your smartphone? Not much good at all, we tell you. So click past the jump and we'll tell you how to make your own gloves touch-sensitive.

Pin it button big

Source: iNews24

We don't want you to go around carrying a stylus or sausage in your pocket to enjoy your smartphone or touch-sensitive device in the winter weather. We want you to roll in style and make onlookers double-take on how J.B. Smoove you are.

There are a few options out there that inspired us. So we wanted to try this out ourselves with our favorite pair of gloves. Here's how we got results that looked professional and factory fresh.

Supplies

Pin it button big

Before any good DIY starts, you've got to round up the supplies. For this project we went for conductive fabric and conductive thread. The conductive fabric should give us more surface area. Which we hope, in turn, will give us a more natural experience with our touchscreen device.

Our local fabric supply shops gave us a few "are you out of your mind?" looks when we inquired about the availability of conductive fabrics in their store. So we went worldwide web and found some options at Sparkfun that looked like they would do the trick.

In our cart

  • Conductive Thread (Thick) - 50' - $10.95
  • Conductive Fabric - 12"x13" MedTex180 - $19.95
  • Shipping/Handling - $3.90
  • Total - $34.80

Unfortunately going this route will give you way more fabric and thread than you really need. So you might want to go in cahoots with some friends on this project, or sell your excess on eBay or craigslist.

You'll also want:

  • Needle (large enough to thread the conductive thread)
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Seam Ripper (optional)
  • Gloves (round up some scrap gloves to test on too, if you can)
  • Liquid Stitch (optional)

The Process
Sewing Supplies? Check.
Gloves? Check.
Free time? Check.

Now go get a warm cup of Joe, turn on some smooth-vibing tunes and get this DIY done on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

First put on your gloves and make touch gestures on your device(s). Try unlocking, pinch to zooms, horizontal and vertical scrolling gestures. Pay attention to which parts of the glove will need touch sensitivity added. We found that the tips of our thumb and index fingers, on our dominant hand, were all that we needed.

Pin it button big

We then proceeded to cut holes in those part of the gloves. This can be a little scary, especially if you really like your gloves. Cutting up a test glove may give you the confidence you need to operate on your primary pair.

Our primary gloves were a little tricky in that they are made of a few layers of different material. There was fabric on the underside of the glove so we removed that part with a seam ripping tool. We carefully removed the thread around the area where we were going to attach the conductive fabric.

Pin it button big

We then cut the, now unattached, piece of fabric off with scissors and used that tip as a template for the conductive fabric. You can make the fabric piece larger than the hole you cut in the glove, and your body heat should radiate out through it. So no need to make the hole very large. Once that is cut to your desired size, proceed to thread it into the gloves.

Pin it button big

Threading into the stretchy nylon fabric that lined our gloves proved near impossible. We got frustrated, and we came up with another solution. Liquid Stitch, a permanent clear drying adhesive.

We applied the Liquid Stitch to a toothpick and carefully lined the fabric with the adhesive. We then placed the conductive fabric tip on our glove and let dry as the label directed. We got one done, tested it out, and then got some pie before trying the second finger.

Pin it button big

We did the thumb the same as the index finger. We noticed that we used the side of our thumb a lot for pinch to zooming, so be sure that the fabric extends to that area.

Glueing this fabric to our glove the same manner as the first, and we got this quick, easy, very nice looking result. Now you got yourself some Touch Gloves that are 2 Legit 2 Quit.

Pin it button big

End Note
We tried the thread and fabric method with some wool-lined suede gloves as well. The suede material was more rigid, and was strong enough to not pull with each stitch. We feel this gave a good, durable result.

Pin it button big

If you have nylon gloves and go our liquid stitch route, you may want to get some thinner thread to sew around the edges. But we're putting our confidence in the Liquid Stitch alone as it seems to be holding up very well.