30 May 2015

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!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Got an email notification for this but looks like it ended up working. Just saying thanks for notifying me anyway as I don't check pic statuses, so if they has disappeared or had bad permissions I would have been grateful to know? Good luck!


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