The Artificer is a quirky class. If you play it as written, it has some very strange mechanics. Here, for example, it is you doing the touching, while the tool acts as a kind of material component.
But a way to make the Artificer come to life is to work with the DM and player to make the magical pseudo-technology of the Artificer make half sense.
In my experience, often this involves "magical pre-preparation". Your tool kit is one that you have modified for your own purposes, and you use that preparation to insanely quickly cause the effect to occur.
For example, if your artisans tools is a cooking tools, and you make an object glow, you might quickly squeeze out some paste from packets in your cooking tools, light the thing on fire with a spark, then remove the flame with a bellows while leaving the light intact. All as a single action.
Most of this is just flavour, but you (a) had your cooking tools, and (b) touched the object, and (c) spent an action. The object now sheds bright light in a 5 foot radius and dim light in an additional 5 feet.
Doing stuff like that - acting as if in-game you are actually doing pseudo-technological magic - often feels more fun than just saying "I hold a ladel, lick the rock with my tongue, and it starts to glow". By the rules both are equal descriptions of creating a glowing object, but I find the first one is far more fun.
Magic spells become gadgets you prepared for just this situation and barely manage to get working at the right moment. Cantrips are trustier devices you have built that work reliably, so long as you constantly and continuously repair them (whenever someone else tries to use them, they do it wrong and they don't work, to your great frustration).
With this model of Artificer, "hold" and "touch" basically means "have a free hand" and "within 5'", and you (as a player) have to avoid trying to use the fiction you invent to BS your way around game restrictions - the purpose of the fiction you invent isn't more capabilities, it is providing fun flavour for a class whose mechanics don't match the description all that well.