Introduction: Knobby All Terrain Rubber Wallet With Optional Smack-lights

Picture of Knobby All Terrain Rubber Wallet With Optional Smack-lights

One of my neighbors put a pile of mtb tires out on the street for garbage pick up. Naturally, my hunter-gatherer instincts took over and I dragged them all back to my lair to gloat over. It's possible that I have too many old bikes (nevah!). May as well have too many tires as well. Especially nice ones. And I truly dig the tread patterns and want to make everything out of them. I was working on a wallet design, and then the contest came up and gave me the kick I needed to make it into an instructable.

yeah, so anyway...
MTB Tires are cool. And this knobby thing lights up when you drop it. If you're like me, you always have a few extra tires around that you can't possibly throw away, because well, they're so cool. Now you can have a wallet that is as cool as a knobby mountain bike tire. And if you go for the optional drop sensor... If you drop your wallet, the lights fire off like, um i dunno what. some tiny french polizei car inside your wallet your something. You or a person with you is bound to notice and see where your cool wallet went, and if you're in a crowded nightclub or whatever, it lights up every time someone kicks it or steps on it.
Interestingly, the lights also go off if you smack your friend's head with it. You can't beat that for entertainment.

video of the cr-azeee lights:

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Old MTB tire.
MTB (large) Inner tube.
Pop-rivets and riveter. Or substitute your favorite fastener method.
Something sharp to puncture with.
A hole punch. Or do without it.

Step 2: Cutting Stuff! Attack That Tire, Baby.

Picture of Cutting Stuff!  Attack That Tire, Baby.

To start, cut about ten inches from the tire. you can trim it to the size you want later. If you want it to look flashy and logo-fied inside the wallet., you can use the section with the tire maker's logo on it. I wanted mine to be basic black. So I chose the part of the sidewall that has the tire ratings molded into it, cause I thought that would look bitchin inside my wallet.
if your tire is a foldable type like mine, the bead is a soft material you can cut with scissors. If it's the more common regular type of tire, the bead has metal wire in it, and you'll need to use wire cutters.

cut off the tire beads, as in the photo. cut them as close to the edge as possible, since you need all of the sidewall to make the inside of the wallet.

Inner tube card holder:
Guess what? it turns out a fat tire inner tube is just the right size to fit a credit card inside of it!! I thought this was a pretty cool discovery. If you have multiple cards stacked inside one innner tube piece, its pretty easy to slide them in and out of it, yet the fit is snug enough that they absolutely won't fall out on their own.

I like the idea of using an inner tube for the inner part of a tire wallet. It's like you just cut a hunk out of your wheel and said 'heh, dat's my wallet!'

So, also cut out about the same length of inner tube. I trimmed mine further by folding it in half and cutting a semi circle or a v shape (last pic). this allows the card to fit inside but still have an opening so you can see the cards and easily get your fingers in there to grab 'em. If you want a stealthier look, you can keep them intact so the cards hide completely inside. I like that look too. But i recommend cutting at least one end so you can push the cards out (more about this to come, with pics, in a later step)--and that end will be hidden anyway in the finished wallet if you do it the way I do.

Step 3: Mtb Tire Origami

Picture of Mtb Tire Origami

fold up the tire so the sidewalls are inside. This is your chance to figure out the sizing. so put a card in there, think about how big you want the wallet to be, play with it, look at it from all angles, etc.
cut out a couple of pieces at the middle where the wallet will fold, as in the photo.

The strap:
You can make a strap to hold the wallet closed with another strip of inner tube. I cut off a circle of tube, then cut it so it's just a long piece rather than a ring. I cut into the end of the wallet as in the photo to make a place to put this strap. For the next one, instead of cutting directly from the end, I'll make a 'plunge cut', by stabbing thru instead of cutting from the end, so that there's just a slit for the strap to fit thru, rather than a cut that goes all the way to the end.

The ends:
the pieces cut out of the sidewalls, from the first photo on this step, are now the little end covers. see the photo to get what I mean.

Don't worry, you'll see more pics of the assembled parts in the next step.
Put in the card sleeves, the end covers, and the strap all together and do more checking and fitting and such. get it all lined up. pin it in place with a tack, needle, or whatever. put the tack thru where you will put the rivets that hold the whole thing together.

Next you're gonna use the hole punch if ya got one, to make the holes bigger where the tacks are, and then start riveting. yay!

Step 4: Line 'Em Up! Punch 'Em Out! Rivet 'Em Up!

Picture of Line 'Em Up!  Punch 'Em Out!  Rivet 'Em Up!

As promised, now you're going to line up everthing and, if you have a hole punch, put it on a hole sized for your rivets (on my punch, this is the smallest hole) and punch away. If you don't have a punch, i found a drill really works pretty decently for making the holes in the tire.

Next it's just a matter of lining everything up like a big rubber all terrain sandwich and riveting it together.
check out the pics for detail shots on all this. Note that I put a card in the sleeve during this step. This keeps the sleeve in shape and easy to position the way you want it.

Step 5: Done!!

Picture of Done!!

Here are some shots of one of the finished products.

most of the wallet operation is fairly standard: money and other stuff tucks in behind the sleeves.
a cool feature is the design of the card sleeves. You can lift the little triangular sidewall flap at the end, and use your fingertip to nudge the cards out.

the strap keeps it all together. i'm sure there are many possibilities for other types of closures.
Aaaand, there are many possibilities for MTB tire wallet designs, because some of the different kinds of tires will probably fold up a bit differently, so there is probably a lot of room for exploring other designs here.

Also, I added some splits along the spine of this one to make it more flexible, and I like the look better as well. makes it look more articulated. in the photo there is just one split, made with a serrated knife, but i have since added more, and it looks better, in addition to flexing well.

Step 6: But Wait, There's More... Smacklights!!

Picture of But Wait, There's More... Smacklights!!

Ever seen those kids' shoes with the little LED lights that light up each time the little nipper takes a step? Ever notice how kids outgrow their shoes all the time? Ever wonder what you could do with those little lights if they were liberated from the shoe? No?!? Well I did. But i don't have the pics yet of the liberation process. It should suffice to say, the lights are inside the shoe. You are outside the shoe. But YOU have TOOLS. Yay! So attack those little shoes...don't think about the eyeless child-eating monster from Pan's Labyrinth. Or do. It might help your sense of frantic urgency. or monsterlike superhuman strength. attack! remove electronic guts!

When you do, you will have yourself something like that in the photo. A sealed plastic unit, with some nice, flat LEDs sticking out of it, that light up every time you whack, smack, or drop the thing. cool huh?

So put this little piece of ex-viscerated shoe guts inside the wallet, tucked behind one of the card sleeves. the LEDs are flat, so they fit nicely if you jam them all the way to the end, where they stick out on either side of the rivets. Yeah, it adds to the thickness a wee bit, but hey, the price of cool, man.

So when you're getting down and funky in the club and drop yer wallet in the dark, a series of flashing lights will show you exactly where it hits. Also fun for just projecting flashing lights when you smack it against stuff, or people.
video of the smacklights:


3366carlos (author)2017-01-14

Ver awesome dude.

Tommi Potx (author)2011-06-05

Mighty fine Instructable! This has inspired my creativity, for instructables yet to come. Thanks for giving me a reason to stash all those old tires!

ilpug (author)2011-06-01

very well done. funny and informative. amazing wallet. Although i don't plant to make the wallet (i already have about a dozen various DIY wallets I've made lying around) the impact sensors from shoes have inspired me to all kinds of stuff. I only have one thing to say. did you use backing washers on the rivets? it didnt look like it in the pictures, or if you did, I couldn't tell. Woulndt that make it possible for the rivets to pull through?

ineluctable (author)ilpug2011-06-02

ilpug, with this particular tire used the rubber is so hard that actually retained the rivets properly and they haven't popped through. this was a bonus because I wanted to keep the weight and bulk down. putting the rivet in the thick part of the tread rather than the groove helps. glad you were inspired by the impact light re-claim. would love to see what kind apps you've come up with for them.

ilpug (author)ineluctable2011-06-02

Cool then, that is an added bonus. nicely done.

indelible (author)2007-04-29

Awesome I live in a tree and drop my shit all the time. This is exactly what I need, if only I knew somebody handy enough to make me one?

ilpug (author)indelible2011-06-01

this might be a slightly odd question, but why do you live in a tree?

you live in a tree and have a computer... awesome.. weird but awesome

Tommi Potx (author)2011-06-01

Me like!! Must make!!

zen of zappa (author)2011-05-22

hello! i would first of all like to say this is the coolest wallet i have ever seen. i am definitely planning to make due to various local bike stores throwing away old tires, but i still need to acquire a rivet gun and rivets. what is the cheapest brand and what size rivets do you use? i cannot wait to make this!

wobbler (author)2010-09-26

Not according to Wallace, he'd prefer it if you used cheese, Wensleydale .preferably.

amarxyz (author)2010-05-27

5* for the comedy!

MasterRiddles (author)2010-01-23

you shold make one in the form of an i pod touch or i phone case.

komecake (author)2009-12-23

  LOL. This is cool. Question though... since you're smacking it on the table to make them light up, and when on feet you have all of that weight on your side to make them light up, would it dropping to the floor actually be enough pressure to make the lights go off?

rubber ninja (author)2009-03-28

Dudes, to make holes you can, use hand held hole punches, that come in varying diameteres, punch under wooden surface, very effective.I do like the rivet detail, but theirs also an option of using press studs and zips.explore sum more, but i think your wallet is rad!

lynks (author)2009-02-16

If you use grommets you can attach a chain for that real "biker" look.

rattyrain (author)2008-08-23

Nice... ...and Pan's Labyrinth was pretty strange...

Eggbertius (author)rattyrain2008-12-08

Strange may be a bit of an understatement...

drummonkey92 (author)2008-05-21

hey, i'm making one of these now, have you seen the innertube wallet instructable? i started making that and thought it would look awsum to cut up a tire as an outer.

ineluctable (author)drummonkey922008-05-21

great! i have, and i think they're a perfect match. post pics or make instructable of it. was thinking snaps might be a good closure fastener, or the magnetic method, which other instructablers claim doesn't erase credit cards.

drummonkey92 (author)ineluctable2008-05-22

like i said, i'm in the process of doing it now, the curve put in the innertube is proving to make it more difficult than i had thought. i will post pics when it's finished though :) i probably won't make a full instructable on it since it's mainly just combining to people's ideas, might ask if the author of the other wallet would be up for collaborating as i'm not using a sewing machine for mine. if i do i will make sure to add a link to this page.

Shadowguy2010 (author)2008-05-22

This is a great idea. Very creative, and, (heh) quite 'stylish'.

It looks good, and is something I would consider making.


mettaurlover (author)2008-05-07

idea for even more improvement: add sound to it and a (if you know how to make one) remote controlled low-voltage flat capacitor taser in case someone else decides to pick it up. or if your friends think it would be a good idea to hide your wallet.

ClosetMonster (author)2008-04-20

Very cool looking. This would make a great impact resistant Ipod case too. I may have to make one. Thanks!

eeeXsmart (author)2008-04-20

awesome idea!! i probably have some old tires laying around ;)

bedbugg2 (author)2007-12-25

oh my freaking god this is too awesome!!!! this will make a great wallet for when dh mtbing...if it falls out your pocket it doesnt have a chance of loosing its grip in the dirt

omkar_hummer (author)bedbugg22008-01-24

temme one thing how do i cut da tire if it is not avaliable originally cut????

bedbugg2 (author)omkar_hummer2008-01-25


bedbugg2 (author)bedbugg22007-12-25

and i had the 99th rating!

carver (author)2007-12-12

This is AWESOME. I got to make one of these. like i said AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME!!!!

ineluctable (author)carver2007-12-13

Thanks! I've found that some tires can be a lot tougher to mold to your wishes than others. I warn you, this can be a challenging project. I think the design could be improved by making it more complicated. Like really cutting up the tire and putting it on more of a frame. For this instructable I wanted to keep it really simple, and the choice of tire made a big difference. Look in the comments below for some good design suggestions people have made...

live4cracking (author)2007-11-12

Very cool !! Great job.

Dantex (author)2007-07-14

this is great!!!

Remote Man (author)2007-06-22

Excellent!!!!!!! 9/10!!!

Coulro (author)2007-05-24

WOW, man ... Wow. That looks pretty bad ass, I need to try that when I get a chance. Excellent job, very creative!

John Smith (author)2007-05-02

How can I keep the tire flat? The sidewall is thick, and it won't stay flat.

John Smith (author)John Smith2007-05-02

Oh yeah, it's kevlar reinforced, if that makes a difference.

ineluctable (author)John Smith2007-05-02

not sure if it's the kevlar or not. hard to say w/o seeing it. It's true that some tires have really thick, springy sidewalls and may require a different design. I've been thinking that I'd like to add to the design so that it will get really flat with more tire types. My thought is to add light rigid rectanglular plates to the inside and rivet them in. these could be little stiff pieces of plastic or aluminum, and they would go behind the inner tube sleeves, right up against the inside of the tire. Really I think the best might be to combine my design with the magnetic closure of the 'bitchin inner tube wallet':
and put rivets (or bolts or thick thread or whatever you choose) all the way thru the metal plate and the tread. that way the wallet gets nice and flattened and has that great mag-closure. i thought about something along these lines originally, but didn't want the weight, and assumed magnets would be too dangerous to keep near mag-striped cards. i haven't played with hard drive magnets, but I know there are some nice flat rectangular neodymiums for sale on line.
The mtb wallet is a pretty challenging design. it definitely gets easier after making one or two that you just assume won't turn out well, just to give yourself a feel for the medium and the particular tire. It's tricky, but I hope you can figure out a design you like.

Another thought is maybe try stitching it together. I thought about using a 'speedy stitching tool' (a sewing awl) rather than rivets. they're super handy:

John Smith (author)ineluctable2007-05-03

I don't have a picture, but I can see small fibers funning diagonal to the tread. Right now, I rubber banded the basic shape, and I put it under a ATV, where i'ts sitting now. I'll get back to you.

John Smith (author)John Smith2007-05-05

Okay, I took it out from under the ATV, and it did nothing. Anyway, I ended up sewing on pouches made of innertube with SMALL wire using pliers, a needle, and wax (for lubrication). It looks okay, but yours is better. What size innertube did you use?

John Smith (author)John Smith2007-05-05

If you look closely, you can see the wires in pics 3,5, and 6. In picture 5, you can see the Kevlar fibers runnung above the purple. Also in pics 4 and 5 you can see the purple additive that is supposed to stop leaking air.

ineluctable (author)John Smith2007-05-21

Wow, Nice!! that turned out really cool. It looks like a perfect candidate to add the magnetic closure design of the 'bitchin inner tube wallet'. i like the idea to use snaps as well. nice use of the inner tube to make the pockets. thanks for uploading all the pics!

jmo93 (author)2007-05-06

hey i love the wallet, and congratulations on winning the contest. I don't have a riveter, and was wondering if you could suggest a different way of fastening.

ineluctable (author)jmo932007-05-07

thanks! without a riveter, i suggest sewing with a 'speedy stitcher' or just a thick needle, or even possibly a sewing machine (might have to be industrial one, though). or, check out john smith's design here in the comments, sewn together with wire. another thing that comes to mind is metal grommets. these come in a little kit, and are essentially rivets that you hammer together by hand. very cool. also the riveter is a pretty cheap little hand tool as i recall, and really useful, should you be considering getting one.

Yo Guys... Might be a good call to bore a hole through both bits, and use a small electronics cable tie to hold the pieces together. Once you clip the extraneous length off the cable tie, you'll need to sand off the rough edges so it doesn't offer a hand- or pocket- or money-ripping burr. Blue skies love Roy

MySoulWanders (author)2007-05-15

Another option would be to replace the smack LEDs with a programmable soundchip. With changeable phrases that go off when you smack it. Kind of like ring tones ;) Example: "Ziggy" from Quantum Leap you smack it and it whines to give up the money...

Tierra (author)2007-05-13

hehe could come back and bite your ass though, what if someone noticed because of the lights and then they stole it, when otherwise they might not notice it? But still good idea, especially for hitting people with

acidrain69 (author)2007-05-03

Awesome! I am so building this.

Recommendation: get some of those super strong neodyium magnets from a dead hard drive, and mount them at the ends under the rubber, so when you close it, they snap together and hold it all shut. Don't get them too close to the CC mag strips tho. They are strong, but only at short distances. Hmm. Maybe a button snap would be better. Or maybe put a piece of metal on one side, where the cards will be, and the magnet on the other side.

joejoerowley (author)acidrain692007-05-07

Sounds Like a good why to erase your credit cards!! I like the the snap Idea better. Good Idea other wise!

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More by ineluctable:Simple Fixes to Timbuktu Commute Bag V.1, for BikingKnobby All Terrain Rubber Wallet with Optional Smack-lights
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