Durable Leather Wallet: Do-It-Yourself Project


Revision 9
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My wallet design

I made my current wallet by simple experimentation using wholesale leather hide, a hole puncher, and strong waxed thread. This wallet is the second one I've made, I've used it for 9 years continuously, and because I used thick leather it will surely last another 9 years or more.

In the case of my first wallet, which had the same basic design but was smaller, I used for 2 years before I decided it was too small to tolerate. It was however equally durable and would have lasted many years as well.

my handmade leather wallet design
my handmade leather wallet design

Materials

  • Thick leather, maybe $5 to $10 worth, for the exterior. I used 6-ounce, which is quite thick and rigid but 4 ounce should be fine.
  • A strip of pig's leather for the interior pocket.
  • Leather hole puncher. This should cost $7 at a hardware store.
  • An exacto knife to cut the leather, a pencil and rule to make lines. A wood carving knife will do.
  • Bee's wax.
  • Thick thread.
  • Olive oil, canola oil or a similar nontoxic oil to coat the exterior.
I think all in all I've spent $20 on this wallet. Compare that to the $30 I was spending on crapola wallets with paper-thin "leather" at places like Macy's that never seemed to last more than 6 or 9 months each.

Procedure

  1. You first have to decide how large your wallet will be, then cut the two main pieces to that size.
  2. Next, if you will want external credit-card-sized pouches like I've put on mine, cut those to that size plus some room to accommodate the holes and the inflexibility of the leather.
  3. Now use the hold puncher to go around the edges wherever there will be thread. I spaced holes about 1/4 inch apart.
  4. Cut the inner pig-skin to a diagonal shape or however else you want it.
  5. Use the waxed thread to assemble the wallet.
  6. Apply oil to the outside surface to preserve the outer leather. I used either canola or olive oil, and have only had to re-oil the surface once in 6 years, again using an edible oil.

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