Introduction: Custom Bi-Fold Wallet
Runner Up in the
Tandy Leather Contest 2016
- 4-5 oz. Leather
- Pigskin Lining
- Edge Slicker
- Needles and Thread
- Wool Dobbers
- Gum Tragacanth
- Satin Shene
- Leather Glue
- Razor Knife or Xacto Knife
- Craft Tool "D447"
- Wing Dividers
- Flat Side Awl Haft
- Pro Stitching Groover
- Swivel Knife (optional)
Step 1: Cut Patterns Then Leather
Cut patterns from poster board according to the photo above. The dimensions are:
- 9 3/8" by 3 5/8" (this will be #1.)
- 9 1/8" by 3 1/2" (this will be #2.)
- 4 1/8" by 3 1/2" (this will be #3.)
- 2 7/8" by 3 1/2" (this will be #4.)
Cut #1 pattern out of 4-5 oz. leather. (The ounce is the thickness of the leather.) Cut an additional #1 pattern out of pigskin leather. Cut (1) #2, (2) #3, and (2) #4 out of pigskin leather.
Step 2: Making the Stitching Line
Adjust the stitching groover to 1/8". Go all the way around the piece of leather until the whole piece is marked. This makes a groove on the leather for the stitching to lay flat against.
Step 3: Casing the Leather
Wet the leather with a sponge. Make sure it is dampened. but not soggy. Let the leather return to its natural color. This is called casing the leather. *You need to make sure the leather is wet in order for the stamping and guidelines to stand out. From this step until stamping is complete, make sure to stay with your project so you don't have to rewet it, but you can rewet the leather if it becomes too dry.
Step 4: Marking the Guidelines
Set your wing dividers to 3/8". Use the wing dividers to scribe a guideline on all four sides of the leather. Add 1/2" to your wing dividers and repeat the process from the outside of the leather. Your two guidelines that you just marked will be 1/2" wide.
This next step is optional, but I find it looks better and makes it easier to stamp.
Using a swivel knife, cut in the guidelines that you marked in the previous step to 1/3" or 1/2" deep. Before you use the swivel knife, you need to strop (sharpen) it.
Step 5: Stamping
To stamp your leather, it still needs to be fairly wet. If it is too dry, wet it and let it return to its natural color before you begin stamping.
Use craft tool D447 starting in the corner of the inner line with the flat edge against the cut line. Hit firmly with the mallet to leave an impression. Move the tool over where the corner of the tool lines up against the corner of the last impression. Continue to the next corner. Flip the tool around and on the opposite line, position the tool in between the impressions on the other side. Continue with this pattern until the stamping is complete. When you are done stamping, use the beveller in the four corners where the stamping created a spade or heart shape. Put the pointed edge of the beveller into the cut line. Use a technique called "walking the tool," which is striking the tool and moving it to overlap the previous impression. Make sure to keep the point in the cut line as you do this. The last picture, with the leather going up and down, shows the left side has been beveled and the right side has not. The beveller gives the piece depth, so this is optional.
Let your leather dry completely before moving onto the next step.
Step 6: Burnishing the Edge
Use a wool dobber to apply the gum tragacanth to the edges of the leather. Then use the edge slicker and move it back and forth along the edge until smooth. This will give the edges a more rounded look.
Step 7: Applying Finish
I chose not to dye my leather, but now would be the time to apply a dye if wanted. If you dye the leather, allow it to completely dry before applying the finish.
Apply a generous amount of leather finish onto a sponge then apply to the leather using circular motions. DO NOT PUT THE FINISH DIRECTLY ONTO THE LEATHER! Apply however many coats you choose, waiting for it to dry completely in between coats. I used two coats of the finish.
Step 8: Mark Stitching Holes
Use a Spacer if you have it, or wing dividers (that's what I used) to mark the holes for stitching. The holes measure 1/8" apart, but you can do however far apart you would like.
Step 9: Gluing
Glue the #1 piece of lining to the leather. Then glue the four pockets onto the #2 piece of lining. Only glue the three straight edges, being careful not to glue the center down. These will make pockets.
It should look like the last picture when you are done.
Step 10: Sewing Pockets
Mark a line at the top of the pockets using a wing divider. Mark your stitching holes along that line. DO NOT USE A STITCING GROOVER ON THE LINING! Use the awl haft to poke your holes where they are marked. Once the holes are done, you need to stitch it together using a running stitch. I used wax thread, approximately four times the length that needs to be stitched. Thread your needle (the wax thread doesn't need to be tied.) Start in the first hole, leaving about an inch of thread to tie off, sew in and out until you reach the end. Then turn and fill in the previous stitches (go through the holes twice.) When you get back to the beginning, tie a knot and cut off the strings. There are many videos online that show how to do a running stitch if needed.
Step 11: Sew Pockets Onto Leather
Glue the edge of the pockets onto the leather, making sure not to glue the whole thing. This will leave a pocket, where the money will go. Don't glue the edge of the pocket that you have already sewed. Use the awl haft to poke holes through the leather and the lining. Stitch around the wallet using the running stitch that you previously used on the pockets.
Step 12: Finished Product
When you are done with your wallet, it should look like the pictures shown in this step.
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