DIY Wallet

I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with leatherworking recently, and I wanted to share a successful recipe, to save you the heartache of wasted material that I’ve gone through.

This will make a simple card wallet, with one side dedicated for ID/credit cards, and one side capable of holding folded US currency, and/or more cards.

Tools you’ll need:

  1. Sharp utility knife
  2. Center Punch
  3. Stitching Awl ( I use Speedy Stitcher) or thick sewing needles and a nail and hammer
  4. Ruler

Materials:

  1. Leather around 1/16 an inch thick
  2. Wax linen thread

Cut your leather into three pieces:

3 x 4 inches

2 1/2 x 4 inches

2 1/4 x 4 inches

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If you want to curve the edge of the cardholder layer like I did, now is the time to do this, before attaching the pieces together. You can also round off the edges of the wallet. I left the corners sharp.

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Using a pencil or the punch, mark your stitching holes, about every 5 millimeters, or 1/4 inch, about an 1/8 inch from the edge of the leather. If you have access to real leatherworking tools, an overstitch wheel makes this really easy.

 

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Once you have marked the holes, now you want use the punch to make the holes. Alternatively you can use a thick needle without thread on a sewing machine to carefully make the holes, or a nail and hammer if you have neither.

If you are using a punch or nail and hammer, be sure to place the leather on a solid piece of wood when you are punching out the holes, otherwise the leather will depress and it will be hard to keep the holes accurately spaced.

Once you have one leather piece completely punched, use it as a template for punching the other two layers, paying attention to which piece you want on which side. This punching process is always the most frustrating and time-consuming for me, but if you are careful it will pay off when you sew the layers together and they fit perfectly, so hang in there!

The final step is sewing all three layers together, and for this you will need an Awl (about $15). If you don’t want to spring for one, a few thick needles should do the trick, but you may have to adjust your stitching pattern. I would share the stitching pattern, but it will be easier for you to Google how to sew with two needles, or follow the directions that come with the Awl. If it’s your first time sewing leather, maybe practice on a few scraps of leather until you are confident.

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Depending on how thick your leather is, you could be sewing through over a ¼ inch of leather, so take your time!

And that’s it. I like to seal the thread by melting it with a lit match, you can also tie a knot. Either way, double back the last few stitches and the thread shouldn’t come unraveled in a hurry.

 Card side:

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Bill side:

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The triangle is a stamp that I ground out of a piece of aluminum, and there are plenty of other ways to personalize your wallet: sandblasting, carving, branding with heated iron, etc.

If you are looking for ideas there are loads of great leather companies you can get inspiration from, such as Portland’s Tanner Goods.

If you need help or found these instructions helpful, holla at me @eliouellette

Good Luck!

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