The Original Tyvek Wallet

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Introduction: The Original Tyvek Wallet

In 2005 I had the idea to make the first folded Tyvek Wallet.

My inspiration came from seeing the Duct-tape wallets that many DIY'ers were making.
The only problem I found was that the material itself was bulky and didn’t fold very well. For a long time I kept sheets of Tyvek hanging in my studio for inspiration and then I had a eureka moment. After searching on google I was amazed that no results turned up for a Tyvek Wallet. 

I wanted the Tyvek wallet to be made without stitches since this is always were most wallets fail. This would also allow the Tyvek material to remain strong (without putting tiny stitching holes in it). It was a real struggle to design and realize this product. You can read more about the first Tyvek Wallet design on my blog.

Today the idea of a Tyvek wallet is becoming very common so I thought it was important to let other DIY'ers know about the first Tyvek Wallet design. My latest Tyvek wallets, I now call them "Mighty Wallets" are online here. I also make tons of videos of the Mighty Wallets on YouTube.

Years later I was contacted by a producer at the Martha Stewart show who wanted me to show them how to make a tyvek wallet using accessible materials. Most people can find Tyvek envelopes so I used that as the basis for my design. The final design uses the actual self-sealing closure of the envelope itself as the binding mechanism that holds the wallet together.

I appreciate those of you out there who keep reminding others of my original design. Thanks for your support!

Here is video demonstration of these same instructions
http://www.youtube.com/tkelleman#p/u/0/oQGJbP92NRI

Step 1: Orientation / Folding

Getting Started:
You will need
- Standard size self-seal Tyvek envelope (preferably 9 x 12 inches)
- Double stick tape
- X-acto knife
- Cardboard (slightly smaller than envelope, to use as cutting mat)

Note: To simplify the directions I need to establish few terms regarding the orientation of the envelope. First the (Top)of the envelope is the open end with the self-sealing flap, the bottom is the closed end. Vertical refers to the length of the envelope (12in), Horizontal to the width (9in).

Important: Keeping this orientation with help when we refer to vertical and horizontal folds and creases.

Place envelope address side down, fold in half along the length (12 in side), bringing the bottom edge up to self-seal crease on the flap. Make a sharp crease.

Step 2: Fold Twice

Measure 2 and 5/8th inches up from the fold (crease) and fold the envelope again along the 2 and 5/8th inch mark making a sharp crease.

Step 3: Fold Three Times

Unfold the entire envelope and now fold it along the width (9 inch side) creating a vertical crease and unfold the envelope again.

Step 4: First Cuts

Next place the cardboard inside the envelope. Cut along the top two horizontal creases making sure you only cut the back side of the envelope.

Step 5: Open the Flaps

Once you have cut out the flaps you can remove the cardboard and open the flaps out to the sides of the envelope. Keep them out to the sides to avoid damaging them during cutting.

Step 6: Cut Circle and "I" Shape

Flip the envelope over (address side facing up). Cut a circle between the top and middle crease using the vertical crease as the center of the circle. The ideal circle is 2 5/8 in diameter. (note: A good standard object with a diameter of this size is a cap from a spray can).

Next, cut out the capital letter i - Remove the cardboard and place envelope on top of it. Cut the vertical fold beneath the circle, this time cutting through both sides of the envelope. Then make a horizontal cut along the middle and bottom crease 1 in wide using the vertical crease as the center of the 1 in cuts. Again, cut through both sides.

Step 7: Cut Open the Bottom

Next we will cut an opening in the bottom of the envelope (cutting through both sides) about 3/8 in up the bottom of the envelope, but first we want to create smooth rounded transitions from the bottom corners to the 3/8th cut. You can use a dime or the seam of the envelope as a guide or just do it freehand.

If you want to decorate the wallet with graphics you can use the area illustrated here to transfer graphics, use stamps, stencils, markers etc to customize the wallet design. Tyvek is not reliable to print on using ink jet printers since it could clog the printer head. Do so AT YOUR OWN RISK!

You can also use markers, ink stamps, spray paint, tape and other methods to decorate your wallet.

Step 8: Apply Tape

Flip the envelope over again, address side down and fold it in half vertically, with the flaps still open to the sides. Open the small 1/2 in tabs and fold them out towards yourself. Make sure you fold the two layers together and crease them.

Apply double stick tape to the tabs on the side facing you. Now fold the tabs portion up towards the self-seal flap, sealing the double stick tape by pressing down hard to secure the tabs. This creates two credit card holders.

Step 9: Fold Flaps in and Tape

Now fold down both the credit card holders and the portion they are taped to and flip the side flaps back inside. Place double stick tape across both flaps to connect them. Then fold this entire section back up and press down on the double stick tape connecting the flaps.

Step 10: Seal and Close

Lastly remove the backing from the self-seal closure. Open the bottom of the envelope and tuck the self-seal closure into the opening and press firmly to seal the wallet together.

You might want to try this a couple times before removing the backing. Work from the center to the edges and be careful the self-stick tape can be tricky to handle.

Now you have a lightweight, thin, strong, water-resistant wallet that is made from 25% recycled materials and is 100% recyclable (grade 2).

2 People Made This Project!

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29 Comments

Ok.... the reason why I'm posting here right now is - I got a shock and
surprise. I made a tyvek wallet several years ago. And several years
ago, the material was super strong. Several years later, I picked up
that wallet (having not used it at all) and simply pulled on the tyvek
clip-on buckle strap, and the material tore away from the buckle! Bad
news. The tyvek material had degraded and had become as weak as typical
paper. I was able to just tear the tyvek like normal paper. Not good at
all.

Update: I have checked the stack of original tyvek source material (stored in a yellow envelope) and I tried to tear it - cannot tear it. Super strong. My guess is that the tyvek material might degrade when exposed to light. Light contains U.V. So UV degradation could be an issue.

I heard it was a felony to use the USPS boxes and envelopes for anything other than mailing through the USPS, unless they had already been used in mailing and were being recycled. TRUTH???

So you're the reason for my latest spending spree from the USA, excellent wallet. Really chuffed with it, are you going to put up a tutorial how to make the trifold or is that a secret ;-) also a suggestion.., this trifold bill, you could make a tyvek money "clip" or whatever its called that goes around the money, a bit like the one that is on it in yellow only make it out of tyvek and make it look like its a real bank one so it can be reused on the wallet to keep everything snug.

Actually, could you make one and send it to me, that would be brill. Ta.

2014 01:28 PM.jpg

If you get 11.6 by 15 it makes a decent passport wallet

Is this the same design as the mighty wallet?

No, this is a more complex way to do it.

I have a mighty wallet already and absolutely adore it. I'm interested in making one out of X-men comics. Would it do anything to the Tyvek's integrity if I glue paper onto it then use some kind of glossy finish to waterproof it?

I know this is a bit of a late reply but.... just find/scan the image from the comic you like into your computer, and then print it right out onto the tyvek. If you have an inkjet printer, it will print to the tyvek perfectly :)

Thanks for the reply! problem with that is that the tvek has writing on it already because it's a mailing envelope.

I guess so.. I haven't personally made this wallet, but I have made one where I substituted the tyvek envelope for a full sheet of printer paper, and I just traced the sheet of paper and cut it out. The outside was completely white excepted the last 4 letters for the word "SERVICE" up in the corner, and the inside had the faint watermark style word USPS tiled all over it. When I printed to the front, you could hardly tell the word service used to be there, and it ended up on the inside of the wallet anyway so really only I knew it was even there. Im sure you could find completely blank envelopes at an Office Depot or Staples store though. I hope it works out for you