Simple Homemade Wallet

My husband has used the same wallet for ten years.  It fits his every wallet need.  He loves that wallet, and lets me know how great it is from time to time.  But it was getting old and worn, even he knew it wouldn’t last forever (although, I think ten years is pretty good).

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So began the search for a new wallet, but there never was one that could even compare.  He couldn’t find the same wallet anywhere.  He bought the old one at Corral West Ranchwear in Logan, UT, but they have succumbed to the economic downturn and they no longer exist.  After googling and searching near and far he just couldn’t bring himself to buy anything else.  So, he decided he would would make one himself since it is a simple design and he is a handy guy.

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Here’s the process.

First he made a template using an old cereal box.

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Then he traced it onto some leather and cut it out.  He added an extra 1/4″ on all sides that will be trimmed off later.  This is so it can go through the sewing machine.

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Total, you’ll need one piece of the rectangle shape and two pieces of the shorter squiggly shape.

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Then glue the shorter pieces onto the longer rectangular piece as shown.  You can use any kind of strong glue.  We used super glue.  If you choose to use super glue be careful to get it down just right on the first try.  Rubber cement would work good to.  You don’t need to use a lot, it is just to hold the leather in place while you sew it.

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Here is what it should look like after it is glued.

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Next, sew all the way around the outside.

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We used nylon thread because it is tougher and will withstand wear and tear and the elements better than your common cotton sewing machine thread.

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Hopefully your sewing machine is tougher than mine.  The motor didn’t have enough umphh to penetrate the leather.  So Lee ended up using the machine manually by turning the knob on the side.  It worked great, other than taking about 15 minutes to sew all the way around.  The needle was bent by the time we were finished, too.  So make sure you have a strong needle.

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Now fold the wallet in half and get a good crease across the folded edge.

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Next, sew along that folded edge, leaving just enough room for the metal clip to slide inside.

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Now trim off the excess edge.

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We discovered that it would be better to trim the excess edge before sewing it in half.

Now insert the metal clip.

We used the metal clip from his old wallet, but you could probably find one similar from any leather supply or craft store.

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It was a little tight getting the clip to slide in so he used some Obenauf’s leather oil to give it some glide.

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The clip should rest on the inside of the wallet.

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And it’s done!

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He also made a black one with the same lighter colored thread.  I think the contrast looks really nice.

He just told me what started him on the wallet in the first place:  He visited a chiropractor for a back injury and was told that his big “George Castanza-ish” wallet in his back pocket made him sit cock-eyed which in turn skewed his back in all the wrong ways.  So no more wallets in the back pocket guys.  But he had to have a wallet.  Fitting his big one into his front pocket wasn’t an option.  So he found this style of wallet and it has worked very well for him ever since.

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10 comments on “Simple Homemade Wallet

  1. I love your taking the initiative and solving the problem!! It looks like a great wallet and will last you another 10 years.

  2. Wow Lee … you are AMAZING!! I love the wallet – you did a fantastic job … looks very professional!! You could make more and sell them on Ebay. Ken would like to order one wallet in black … just send us the bill !!

  3. Nice wallet. I work in leather and can benefit from your post on making your wallet. See samples of my work on toollesther.com.
    Thanks.

  4. I am having a problem going back to your site. It says it doesn’t exists anymore. I looked at it a while ago and I like your purses. Very beautiful work and they look sturdy. The tooling is amazing. It must take you lots of tedius hours to make one.

  5. What thickness of leather did he use to construct this? It’s a very nice wallet and im trying to make one for myself!

  6. That is a good question. It was pretty thin. My guess is that it is about 1/16″ – 1/8″. After I published this post my husband was able to make the metal clip from a metal hanger using a pair of regular pliers and a pair of needle nose pliers, so that might work for you as well. I’m glad you like it and good luck making one!

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