How to make iPhone Gloves

[Video Link] MAKE's Becky Stern shows how to add conductive thread to gloves so you can use a capactive touchscreen (like the kind an iPhone uses) without removing your gloves.
Complete instructions at Make Projects


  1. I did this with my motorcycle gloves.  I’m not sure if it was the thickness of the leather but I had to add several large loops of  thread inside the finger (and thumb) of the glove in order to make it conductive.  I’d also recommend using the device you’re doing this for and see where your finger contacts the touch-screen.

  2. As a Canadian who actually lives somewhere where it gets pretty cold, where gloves are needed, and where we get lots of snow (For example: when NYC got 4 in of powder last year, we were getting 12 inches of heavy snow every week for six weeks…) and where we STILL didn’t call it ‘snowmageddon’, I say:  Suck it up!   If your face can take the cold air, your hands can.

    In still air, unless it’s below -15degC, you can very safely take your gloves off for a few minutes to make a call.  If it’s windy enough for wind chill to make a difference, there’s no point in making a call.

    We all really need to expand the range of environments we experience so that our brain’s/body’s reference points can  be reset.  We all live lives that are too, too coddled.

    I’d bet that ‘Don’t Tread on Me’-tough-guy Texans would ever do what these Russians are about to do:

    1. not so fast, internet tough guy.  dudes like you visit/move to Atlanta and moan about how hot it is every summer, and it’s not anything compared to, say, SE Asia.

      you’re acclimated to where you grew up.  nobody’s impressed.

      1. you’re acclimated to where you grew up

        After a decade in Palm Springs, I’m breaking up the furniture for firewood when it goes under 85°, but I can go out in 110° without breaking a sweat.

    2. I grew up in Phoenix, AZ, so when I moved to Los Angeles, I was tempted to mock Angelenos who complained about how hot it was when the mercury hit 90F.

      But then I realized that 90F was unpleasantly hot – and the fact that I had once lived somewhere where it got not just unpleasantly hot, but stupidly hot, didn’t change that.

      1. Minus 32, Tap, times 5, tap, divide by 9, tap, equals…32 degC.  Yeah, that’s kinda/pretty hot. 

        Yeah, just like Montreal in July: 30-35 degrees Celsius, RH 90-95%.  I used to go to judo class at the un-airconditionned dojo on those really hot, really humid days, just to go sweat.  I’d usually drop 7-8 lbs in an hour and a half.  Good times.

        In late January to early February, for two weeks, Montreal gets the same numbers but negative.  Something like around minus 25 degF.

        One of my customers in Montreal was from Cameroon.  He thought Canadians were all crazy: “It doesn’t get hot like this back home!  And it’s not humid!  And then it’s freezing in the winter.  I’ll be glad to get back to some normal weather.”

        Yeah, so a little snow, a little cold, a little heat, a little humidity; I don’t complain. 

        1. I don’t complain.

          Oh, yeah – not much, you don’t. :-)

          Seriously, all this manly-man bluster about coddled little wussies who want to use their phones without having to take their gloves off is really nothing but disguised whining about how YOU have it SO much tougher than they do – but hey, you’re a manly man, so you don’t complain (much!).

          The part I left off my previous post was that,  not only did I come to realize that ‘unpleasantly hot’ was still unpleasant no matter how stupidly hot it got where I came from; I also came to understand that when I mocked people for being uncomfortable, I came off like a dick.

    3. You’re an idiot.  I live in Iowa, where it is colder than NYC, and gloves are important.  Stop with the peen waving nonsense “I can take the cold better than you” nonsense.  Besides, people do more than make phone calls with iPhones.  Why not do it and be comfortable?  Maybe you’re just not outside enough to notice the cold? Also, NYC got a lot more than 4 inches last year, I think they even beat us for snow, which is quite a lot (I used to live in NYC).  

  3. This is cool. Back when I did custom leatherwork full-time, I’d have the same problem due to calluses on my actual fingertips. I could have used an implantable version.

  4. The “tails” inside the fingers don’t seem to be anchored, won’t they get scrunched up?

    The first thing I thought about was using staples (not sure if they’re conductive) or snaps.

  5. I usually just lick my gloved finger like I am flipping through a pile of cash. Temporary conductivity is enough to answer the phone…

    1. Yeah, but I wouldn’t carry around a portable air-conditionner just so I don’t sweat when I’m outside.

      And I’ve lived in hot humid climates.

  6. or one can get a pair of gloves with this feature already in place…

    btw, i think there are sensors available that can detect a finger thru a glove now. I wonder what companies are more likely to add those to their phones.

  7. Won’t this lead to getting shocked more often? I already get zapped a ton when I’m layered up in the cold.

  8. I looked it up: Iowa typically gets 32 inches of snow.

    Per season.

    Mind you, that -47degF in ’96.  Yeah, that’s COLD. 
    One might be reasonable in asking: “what the frak are you doing outside, playing Angry Birds on your phone when it’s -47?”  I’d answer: “nuthin, ‘cuz I’m warm and toasty in my winter clothes…which I bought in Canada, ‘cuz they know what cold is.”  Then I’d duck and run.

    Antinuous: Yeah, my mother spend a few winters in Florida.  She told me that it never got below 80degF and all the locals could do was to put a sweater on and bitch and moan about how ‘cold’ it was. 

    She added that after a while, she started to do the same thing.  After a few years of this, she wintered in Mexico; the people there never complained about the weather.  She doesn’t winter in the South any more. 

    It’s a disease, y’know.

    It’s the same disease that causes ‘first world’ problems.  Y’know ’em.  Being depressed because your iPhone isn’t white.  Being suicidal because “The fudge stripe pattern inside my son’s Jamocha shake cup today was really messy looking, so I had to throw it away and demand another one.”
    More of ’em here:

    It’s funny. .. ‘cuz when Dorli Rainey says the same kinds of thing I’m saying, everyone praises her and no one accuses her of flaunting her machismo(a).  Rightly so.  She expresses her strength, her humanity by shaking it off, saying “I’ve had worse” and moving on.

    I’ve never understood the ‘attraction’ of the princess from’The Princess and the Pea’.  Who would want marry a whiner like that?  (Yes, I know, the story is sarcastic and Hans Christian Andersen was asking the same question.)

    I’m unrepentant: 27 degC IS NOT COLD.  Heck, the freezing point of water isn’t cold.  It’s a bit nippy and no reason to be afraid of taking your gloves off. 
    A misshapen foam pattern in your cappucino isn’t cause to throw it out.   Having to wait until you’re inside to use your smartphone or getting a not-quite frostbite if you do have to use it, won’t kill you.

    I’d be ashamed to show my face in the street for complaining like that.  I suppose my heroes are different from your heroes.

    1. I suppose my heroes are different from your heroes.

      Your narrative is certainly more self-congratulatory.

  9. For your average person, where to get “conductive thread” might be a good piece of info to include in your directions.  Can you get it at a craft/sewing supply store? Is one kind better for this use (ie, as to not scratch the phone screen).  How much does it cost?

Comments are closed.