How to Make Any Gloves Smart Touch Gloves for $5

It’s too late for me, but save yourself (some cash).

True story: As I was standing in line at REI a few weeks back, exchanging the SmartWool gloves I’d gotten my husband for Christmas, a woman in line behind me tapped me on the shoulder.

“You know,” she said, “you can make any gloves Smart Touch gloves really easily. And for like, five bucks.”

Now she tells me.

It was clearly too late for me (the hubby had already opened the one-size-too-large gloves on Christmas morning and was excited to wear them, so exchanging was my only option) but I figured I’d let you in on her little DIY secret if you’re in need of a pair of touchscreen-compatible gloves—you know, the kind you can use with an iPhone without having to expose your fingers to the cold. I figured my fellow Be Well runners who use iPods would be particularly interested, especially given the frigid temps that are walloping us this week.

The trick is sewing some conductive thread into the index and thumb fingertips of your gloves. Here’s (an oversimplified version of) how it works: Your touchscreen responds to the electricity in your hands, but normal gloves block that current, which is why you can’t use your screens with your gloves on. The thread, which is made with a bit of metal, allows the electricity from your hands to reach your screen. (This also explains why wearing a second pair of gloves underneath your Smart Touch gloves, as I recently did, renders them useless; the thread needs to make contact with your skin.)

Conductive thread ranges in price from about $5 for a bobbin’s worth (about five yards) to $35 for a spool (about 75 yards). Depending on how many gloves you want to Smart Touch-ify, you can decide the amount you want to buy. (Note: 75 yards would make enough gloves for a small village.) The only other equipment you need is a sewing needle.

Check out the tutorial below for a ridiculously easy step-by-step.

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.