Introduction: Anti-Theft Wallet

Picture of Anti-Theft Wallet

I'm taking a trip to Europe this summer and have been concerned about pickpockets. I have used one of those under-your-clothes pouches before and I find them to be pretty repulsive. I decided to make a wallet that would always be in front of me, be difficult to pick or snatch, and be fashionable as well. This is what I came up with.



leather punch



waxed thread

box cutter/x-acto knife


cutting mat

Paper template (Create your own or print the one in step 2.)



Step 1: Template

Picture of Template

The design for the wallet I made came from a wallet I bought here. Her wallets are cute, stylish, and well priced. I highly recommend them. I opted to change the flaps slightly in my final product, but it is still her design.

That being said, the image of the template I made should be actual size if printed on a full page.

Step 2: Cutting the Leather

Picture of Cutting the Leather

I decided to do a more pointy flap so it wouldn't look exactly like my other one.

1. Cut off one of the flap tips.

2. Trace this piece onto one piece of leather then flip it over and trace it onto another piece of leather. Cut out both pieces.

3. Cut off the top of the template down to the next pocket size.

4. Trace and cut out a piece of leather to match the template.

5. Cut off the template to the last pocket size and use it to cut out the last piece of leather.

Step 3: Belt Loop

Picture of Belt Loop

1. Tape the last two pieces of the template back together.

2. Use this piece to make a template for where the belt loop slits need to be.

3. Look at the image to use my measurments

4. Place the template on top of the back piece of leather and use the leather punch to put a hole at the top and bottom of each slit.

5. Line a ruler up on each set of holes and cut from one to the other.

Step 4: Placeholders

Picture of Placeholders

1. Line up each piece of leather on a corner.

2. Use your awl to punch a hole through all four pieces of leather. This hole will be used when stitching the edge.

3. Put a piece of wire into the hole to hold all the pieces together neatly while you stitch the rest.

4. Repeat on the other corner.

Step 5: Snaps

Picture of Snaps

1. Place your snaps on the front flaps first. Use a pencil with eraser to force the snap through the leather without poking yourself.

2. Fold them down where you want them to be when you're done and press down. This will leave marks on the front pocket piece.

3. Use the marks to place the back of the snaps on the front pocket.

4. Remove the front flap piece from the placeholders. Use a spool and hammer on a hard surface to finish the bottom of the snap then put the piece back on the placeholders.

5. Go back to the cutting mat so you have a softer surface to hammer the top of the snap together. You don't want to damage the front of the snap.

Step 6: Stitching

Picture of Stitching

1. Cut a piece of thread three times the length from one side of the wallet to the other.

2. Start by punching a hole with your awl and mallet at the corner of the front pocket where all four pieces of leather still overlap.

3. Thread the needle and pull the thread through from front to back.

4. Punch a new hole about a quarter inch above the last hole.

5. Thread this hole from back to front.

6. Continue this until you reach the top of the second pocket.

7. Now work your way back down through the same holes.

8. When you reach the hole you started with, make a new hole a quarter inch below it and continue all the way around in an up and down fashion. You will create a dotted line as you go.

9. When you reach the other side, turn around and go back through the holes you already made until you reach where you started again.

10. Tie it off and tuck the ends through the nearest stitches before cutting the excess off.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

Picture of Finishing Touches

These steps are optional, but I like the way they make it look.

1. Use a lighter to burn around the edges. This burns off any little fuzzies and makes any minor messy cutting disappear.

2. Use a heat gun to get out wrinkles or shrink parts that are too big. Be careful here. Getting out wrinkles doesn't take too much heat. The leather I used for the front pocket was a bit thin and didn't hold my cards as tightly as I wanted, so I wanted to shrink this pocket a bit. More heat is needed to shrink the leather, but you can scorch it if you aren't careful. (I scorched mine a little.)

Step 8: Wear and Worry Less

Picture of Wear and Worry Less

Obviously this is not theft-PROOF. Thieves are very good at what they do. Keeping an eye or hand on it when in a crowd and/or wearing loose clothing over it are other ways to keep your belongings safe in this wallet.


rinehartcreations (author)2014-10-26

the artist she credited seems to have gotten her idea from Tandy Leather.

I think she did a great job tweeking the design and making it her own.

wagewor (author)2014-09-29

Nice idea, good foresight! Diversify where you hold things (i.e. Cash in this pocket, credit card in a different location), and if you do fall victim to a cutpurse at least they won't get the whole lot in one pass.

Of course, where I come from you haven't got to worry about that sort of thing. The cops are far more likely to roll you than anyone passing by on the street.

ToolboxGuy (author)2014-07-03

I applaud the Author's effort to make one's own, instead of just riveting on a few belt loops. Innovation is how we keep things moving forward.

Imagine if the original wallet maker sees this Instructable, and starts making wallets incorporating the Author's innovation. Would you consider that "sad" too? I wouldn't.

Additionally, no one is out to "sell" what they've made in this Instructable, it's a DIY project. There aren't full patterns to reproduce the exact model or any IP theft going on here.

kreator (author)2014-06-21

Looks cool how does it work?

rlievens (author)kreator2014-06-24

Title is a bit misleading.. There's no "anti-theft system" other than its hanging on the front of you belt in your sight.

Which (I think) makes it easier for pickpockets to spot your valuables... So would not recommend.

telorand (author)rlievens2014-06-24

He DID state in the last paragraph that it's not theft-proof. It's more of a theft-deterrent. And if you are concerned about your valuables, it's better than nothing at all (especially since the point was to avoid using the under-your-clothes types).

Also, to the author, did you consider using a purse clasp that twists to keep it closed? You could use two different kinds of fasteners as another way to foil pickpockets.

Brooklyntonia (author)telorand2014-06-25

You could use any kind of clasp you can find. I just had these beautiful vintage snaps I had beed dying to use. Thank you for your clarification. It is an attempt to keep my valuables in a place that is accessible to me and not in high target areas like back pockets, purses, or other tourist-identifying baggage.

bcavaciuti (author)Brooklyntonia2014-06-26

I can assure you that it will be so much easier to steal from this than a wallet or purse in a pocket as in a crowded space like a train or city you will not be able to keep an eye on the wallet and it would be so easy just to pop open the pouch and gradually ease everything out. Also as it isn't in direct contact with your skin but completely separate so you would not feel it due to the belt.

It needs some kind of metal locking system that should be quick to open but secure enough to prevent a quick pick pocket. Because this is essentially a pocket on your belt full of essential valuables that everyone can see.

Brooklyntonia (author)bcavaciuti2014-06-26

The point was to make it difficult and/or unappealing, and any small deterance is likely to have the thief move on to an easier target. No, you cannot forget about your valuables when they are in this pouch like any other items that you are carrying. I feel more comfortable carrying items where I can put a hand around them in a busy train station or crowd of tourists as opposed to a bag that could be snatched or cut open. You also have the option of wearing a shirt over it.

telorand (author)Brooklyntonia2014-06-26

Perhaps on a v2, you could attach a zipper to the top (if that's possible with leather). Then they'd have to get through 3 closing mechanisms. Thanks for the cool instructable!

Brooklyntonia (author)2014-06-25

I needed a wallet on my belt and my current wallet worked great for me. Why would I want to reinvent the wheel? The added belt loop was the primary difference I added that could not be acheived well without making the wallet from scratch.

I understand where you're coming from, but I've seen tutorials for items I sell on Etsy and it doesn't really bother me because Makers like those in the Instructables community don't often spend money when they can sweat for something they made themselves. Etsy shoppers would rather pay for someone else's sweat. I would not do anything that I thought would steal business from a fellow seller.

tovey (author)2014-06-25


But to increase theft deterance, attach a mouse trap to the front of it and set it.

Any picky pocketers that grab for it will be instantly punished.


fbonera (author)2014-06-25

This is great for going to concerts, my experience is that bags are often too big or uncomfortable. I have something similar that I always take to festivals and concerts in general, also if you make a small zipped pouch in the back (or in the inner side) and put the money there is more difficult for thieves to get them.

Brooklyntonia (author)fbonera2014-06-25

Concerts would definately be another great opportunity to use this! If you fold your cash into fourths instead of half, it will fit in the back pocket and not even be visible.

krush_groove (author)2014-06-25

Nice instructions, but you don't have to worry about pickpockets that much :) There are places that are notorious, such as big tourist cities in Spain but I had the same worries and haven't had any incidents. I keep a small card wallet in my front pocket next to my phone and all is well :)

That is my husbands plan. Sadly girls have tiny front pockets, but thanks for the reassurance.

bricobart (author)2014-06-22

Don't worry too much about that pick-pocketing-stuff. I'm pretty sure there's no more or less danger than overseas. Just like you don't have to take it too seriously when they say Belgians eat three times fries a day - it's only two - and Germans are noisy when they travel - don't worry, they're just the same at home. Common sense, keep your eyes open in highly frequented areas. Have a nice trip, btw!

txteva (author)bricobart2014-06-24

If you look like a tourist or have bags on you then *do* be aware of pick pockets - especially young gypsy children* as they can and will swipe things if they get half a chance when they "bump" in to you.

Also remember to have spare money and if possible bank card separate to avoid a massive headache if it happens.

(* not all gypsy's are bad people of course but I do know it was a gypsy child that got me on my way to the hotel (hard not to look like a tourist with a suitcase) and took my purse with cash, ID and travel money card and I was wearing a small pouch bag that was right next to me like this one.)

abrown39 (author)txteva2014-06-24

yeah, being a target makes you a target, walking around with a camera out taking pictures of absolutley everything, pointing at stupid stuff, walking around with a map all makes you look like easy prey for criminals, no matter what country you are in. Go about your bussiness like you would at home, know where your going before you leave, speak the language, and just be aware, a secure wallet helps, I always put mine in a Zippered shut jacket inside pocket with a snap button flap, so its pretty impossible for someone to "pick it". Of course that wont help you if you run into a more blatant thief who hold you up (or tries to) thats why wherever I can (and some places where its illegal) I carry a knife, I was stopped and told to give up my money twice in one week in Cancun, both times one look at a knife and me telling them I could be at the US embassy with a ticket home before they bled to death (complete BS!!!) made them turn and run

Brooklyntonia (author)abrown392014-06-24

Lots of great things to consider. I feel more comfortable with this pouch because it is less visible (especially under a shirt or jacket), it would be very difficult to cut off (unlike a purse), it would be difficult to quickly bump and grab items in it because the cards are tight in the pockets, and it doesn't look like typical tourist baggage.

abrown39 (author)Brooklyntonia2014-06-25

yeah its a cool design with the belt loop and the buttons, maybe a zipper underneath the buttons to add a little extra security or maybe a small sylish little "belt bucke" closure on the front would be more practical and add the same amount of security while adding some style, maybe make the top strap out of the light leather and the bottom strap out of the red to give it some nice contrast. ?? I dont even pretend that I have a fashion sense but I think that would look good, and I think the wallet as a whole already is pretty stylish, you did a good job on it for sure. You should be proud of it, Ive seen much uglier things that are called "designer" and they were horrid looking and very expensive, thats good looking and since you made it yourself pretty inexpensive.

Good luck on your trip, Im sure since that will be literally attatched to your hip you wint get "picked"

lbrewer42 (author)2014-06-24

I had a friend in Spain who had a thief cut a slit in the back of her purse. Her purse was tucked under her arm as she walked. Her response was simple ... she used her Judo lessons. The would-be thief was not very happy.

The Rambler (author)2014-06-24

This is pretty cool. I like the style. When I went to Italy I made a small "wallet" of sorts that strapped around my ankle under my pant leg. It was pretty obvious where it was when I bent down to get money out but there was pretty much no way anyone could steal it since my feet were almost constantly moving and going for it would be unmistakable.

3366carlos (author)2014-06-22

very nice. im gonna make one us passport size, so I can carry them.

Brooklyntonia (author)3366carlos2014-06-22

Yes, I've been considering that as well. Be sure to post your finished piece here. We'd love to see it.

MooCowCreations (author)2014-06-22

Very cute! Might try to make one myself :)

HollyMann (author)2014-06-21

Very nice job - and I love the vintage snaps!

watchmeflyy (author)2014-06-21

Lovely! Nicely done. ;)

doodlecraft (author)2014-06-21

It's so cute too! Awesome job! :)

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Bio: Art Teacher, Artist, and Maker - Follow me on Instagram to see what I'm working on before it hits Instructables.
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