30 May 2015

The best custom tyvek wallet (3 of 3)

This is the final post of a 3 part series on making a Tyvek wallet. I'm biased, but happen to think that my design is the coolest, most compact, and innovative design out there!
- Part 1 covers the background (as in, "Why would you do this?")
- Part 2 covers the bulk of the fabrication
- This post completes the finishing touches!

Okay. When we left off, things were pretty well clear. The pockets were all formed. Now we just have to do three more things to finish off the wallet. Recall that the wallet is a product of two folds which means there are four layers of Tyvek. Remember how the very back sheet was left a little taller than the rest? We're going to fold and glue that down to create a nice smooth edge for the back of the wallet. Fold it down over the body of the wallet and crease it. You should then have this:

Now put some glue on that flap and fold it down. While it could have been cut off, this will create a smoother edge that's easier to handle when you're trying to slip stuff into the wallet. I'm imagining that it will be a bit more tear resistant as well than if it were a "naked" thin edge floating in space.

Update 8/2011: I would actually not do the below as described. I left it as written, but have since started "reversing" the instructions. In other words, leave the back layer as is, and cut the other three a bit shorter so that the back can be folded over all layers in front of it and glued to the front of the wallet. This way, the flaps are on the inside (which is folded up) rather than on the outside where they are prone to rubbing on pockets and getting pulled apart.

This next part is a little tricky. We're going to cut the side edges of three of the layers on both sides a little, while leaving the very front layer as-is. This way, we can put some glue on the "flap" we create, wrap it all the way around, and glue it to the very back of the wallet to hold it together. I unfolded the back two sheets and cut them 3/8" shorter. Then I slipped a gift card I didn't care about in between the front two sheets and cut only the back one 3/8". Here's what it looked like when the cut was done:

I did that to each side and then folded/creased both of the resultant flaps toward the back of the wallet. Then I unfolded each, applied glue, and then re-folded them back to close off both sides of the wallet. Here's the folding of the flap to the back of the wallet (you're seeing the back of the wallet up and the front flap reaching around):

And that's that! The wallet is done. Here's the show-off finished shots one more time:

I made my first one with double sided tape about three months ago (everywhere you glued I used strips of double sided tape) and it's held up quite nicely. I recently made myself a glued version but haven't started using it yet. I have been quite pleased. After making 8 of these (3 previous designs I don't like, my current wallet, and 4 of the new/glued versions), I can make one in about 15min. I eyeball most of the "flaps," use a credit card to get the height right, and have been measuring out the width to 7-3/4 with a ruler. Who knows how long the wallet will last, but I figure that 15min every 3mos or so will do!

Hope you enjoyed the series.

The best custom tyvek wallet (2 of 3)

This is part 2 of a 3 part series on making a Tyvek wallet. I'm biased, but happen to think that my design is the coolest, most compact, and innovative design out there!
- Part 1 covers the background (as in, "Why would you do this?")
- This post covers the bulk of the fabrication
- Part 3 completes the finishing touches!

 First, the obligatory materials spread:

Update 8/2011: The adhesive shown really wasn't great for this. I have since used two part epoxy with fantastic results. I'd recommend that for anyone following these instructions.

First, fold the Tyvek in half:

This will produce a creased edge on one side and two loose edges on the other. Fold the creased edge up so that it just covers a credit card (by 1/16"-1/8"):

As you can see, now I'll be calling one half the "creased half" and the other the "loose ends half." For clarity, let me describe the current "anatomy" of the sheets:
- Front: refers to the creased half since this will be the front/inside of the wallet when finished
- Back: refers to the loose ends half since that will form the back/outside of the wallet when finished
- Each "half" has two sheets; our two folds have now created four individual portions of Tyvek

Currently, there are two loose edges in the loose ends half and we want to trim the front-most one flush with the top of the creased half, leaving only the very back of those pieces. When we're done, then, you'll have the creased half with an equal-height sheet behind it and one tall piece in the very back. First fold that front-most sheet down over the creased half to mark your cutting line:

Now, unfold the whole thing and cut that piece off along the crease you just made. Use a ruler/straightedge!

Now you're going to cut the very back piece so that it's 1/4-3/8" taller than the other three pieces (counting the "creased half" as two). When we're all done, this sheet will fold over to create a nice back edge (you'll see). Use a ruler and measure 3/8" from the top of the creased half on both sides, align the ruler with both of the tick marks and then cut along it. Here's me measuring:

Note: I will use the 1/4-3/8" size range a lot; you may be upset that I'm not more specific. I have now made three of these and will say that I prefer a 1/4" spacing vs. 3/8" flaps. It was hard for me to glue the smaller thickness flaps, but I also liked the tighter spacing as it made the wallet a little more "solid" when I was done. If you have a lot of cards or carry a lot of bills/receipts, you may want to go for the 3/8" spacing as well... up to you. You may just admit on the early side that you'll probably make one of these, learn from the process and make another one that you like better. That's what I did... except I made like four to even get the design right and only after making 3 of the same exact thing am I pretty happy with the last one :)

Okay. Status check. What you have should look like this now: creased "loop" in front, and then a sheet of equal height behind it with a slightly taller sheet in the very back:

Now we're going to cut to width. There's the hard way (how I first did it) in which you lay out three credit cards so that they're all about 1/4-3/8" apart and then cut 1/4-3/8" on either side of them. Here's the layout step:

The easy way, shown after the cut is to just cut the whole thing to 7-1/2 - 7-3/4" wide, as that's what it comes out to be. The end result of that cut:

What follows was my shining innovation. We're going to cut two slits for the side credit card slots. You want the cut to allow the credit card to poke out of the pocket but we also need to leave enough for a flap on the edge to seal this whole thing off (you'll see). Just take my word and cut a slit 2-1/4" from the edge on each side only on the very front of the creased edge. Just look at the next couple pictures before actually cutting to make sure you've got it. Here's me measuring 2-1/4" in from the edge:

And here's after the cut. Note that I unfolded the whole thing and only cut through one sheet of Tyvek.

Do the same on the other side and the cut through the top edge so that you actually have a loose flap as shown below. If you're confused about which edge to cut, refold the wallet and cut the top crease of the creased half (the crease that is next to the loose edges, not the edge where all four sheets are creased together).

Here's another view if that was confusing:

Now fold that flap down where it used to be and put a card right in the middle of it. On the bottom edge where it's attached, draw two lines, each 1/16" from the edge of the card, like this:

Now cut from the outer edge of the flap to the line you just drew along the crease where it's attached. Here I've unfolded the flap and am holding up the edge so you can see the cut I'm talking about. Do that on both sides.

Put a credit card under the flap and fold the top of the flap down so that you can see the credit card. This will form the top edge of the middle card slot. It doesn't really matter which way you fold the edge, but it will look better folded back (toward the card):

Fold the flap back out, put the credit card in the middle, and fold two flaps inward to "hug" the card. Fold the flaps so that the crease intersects the two little cuts you made just a bit ago:

Now, make two cuts as shown here:

Now you're going to glue the top fold you made to the main "body" of the flap. It's finally time to get out the glue! My recommendation is to put a dab on a work surface like this:

And then use a q-tip or something else to apply the glue so that you only get a thin coating where you want it. Since we're gluing flat surfaces (no "texture" for the glue to absorb or be pushed into), it won't take much at all to create oozing at the edges... In any case, dab a q-tip and glue the flap like this:

Notice the little "ears" that are shown above. When taking these pictures, I goofed. You don't actually need those ears. Cut them off. If you're reading ahead, go ahead and cut them off now even if you haven't glued the flap yet. Now we're going to glue the side folds you made to the main body of the wallet. Apply the glue (make sure it's to the right side of the flaps!) like so:

While the glue is still wet, quickly fold the flap back onto the wallet and hold it down firmly. If you have any doubt about excess, slide a card you don't care about into the pocket created and keep sliding it in and out to make sure glue isn't latching onto to it. Do this until you're reasonably sure the glue is dry (you don't want your credit card slot glued shut!). When you're done, you should have this:

I'm sure you can see how this is going to turn out by now! Isn't it exciting to see that nebulous sheet coming into wallet-ness?

To finish this off, go to Part 3!

The best custom tyvek wallet (1 of 3)

This is part 1 of a 3 part series on making a Tyvek wallet. I'm biased, but happen to think that my design is the coolest, most compact, and innovative design out there!
- This post covers the background (as in, "Why would you do this?")
Part 2 covers the bulk of the fabrication
- Part 3 completes the finishing touches!

Here's a post on a Tyvek wallet design I created a while back. The finished product:

The idea for some type of thin wallet began shortly after starting to work for my present employer. Everyone there over 40 or so has at some point made notice that carrying a wallet in a back pocket is a bad idea. I have carried a leather wallet in my back right pocket since middle school/high school days and was quite intrigued to hear this come out of the mouths of about 5 different individuals. I believed them -- they have the chiropractic bills to prove it!

In any case, apparently it's jut not good on one's back to sit lopsided all day long. Fair enough. Most of them migrated to some type of money clip or thinner leather front pocket thingy. I (not surprisingly to myself, at least) wanted to make a wallet. I'd seen some DIY wallets at Instructables in the past and so I had some ideas about what designs were out there. I've seen all kinds of things like making a wallet from a bike tire, paper, Tyvek, and, of course, duct tape.

Initially I was sold on the duct tape idea, but something intrigued me more about Tyvek. It's extremely durable, won't tear, is water proof (they use it to wrap house frames during building) and is just the lightest/thinnest stuff you can imagine. I chose the Tyvek idea and stuck with it. I happen to have access to Tyvek via a small sample roll in the research lab I work in. I cut off a bunch and played around with many, many designs. I finally figured out my favorite, and that's the one I want to present.

Rival Designs
Searching Instructables, YouTube, or just googling around reveals that there are a lot of designs out there. I'll say that the Dynomighty wallet is definitely the most popular or well known. It is pretty cool and the designer is pretty fantastic for figuring out how to make a wallet from one envelope with nothing left over and quite minimal cutting. I love that the last step is pulling the strip from the adhesive flap and using that to seal everything nice and tight.

This design on Instructables was also quite inspiring. I liked the small footprint quite a lot. It seemed like quite the innovative use of those individual sleeves as well as the cutting of "access points" to allow for sliding the cards.

I wanted to combine some from both (and others) as well as my own flair. I definitely wanted a tri-fold wallet. Check out these two pictures to see why:



Not only does the tri-fold design have the advantage of requiring a smaller footprint, but with a thin material like Tyvek, any area not backed by a card of some sort is going to be floppy/flimsy. In other words, the card area will be solid, but the top of that bi-fold wallet that's required for housing dollar bills is going to be completely flexible/bendy. I don't like that. While I think the Dynomighty is pretty darn cool -- I would not want it. It's bigger than it needs to be (for me, at least) and is going to be floppy at the top.

Want more? Go to Part 2 and let's build this thing!