I lost my wallet in San Francisco a few months ago and have not wanted to buy a new one. As I was throwing a coffee bag away the other day, I thought it was good material for something or other so I saved it. While saving the 4 th bag, it shone in a glossy attractive way and I realized it could be my next wallet with a little folding and sewing.

Over 3 mornings of coffee, I designed a billfold that holds credit card and plenty of cash.  

Great thing about this is it is camoflaged as trash so when you leave it at the counter of the In N' Out, people leave it alone thinking it's your trash, so when you go back later to find it because you forgot it, it will still be there! 

I've sold several of these to people who want to give them as gifts to their friends who are hard to buy for... friends who don't like being bought for, so give them the gift of a handcrafted useful item made of shiny colorful trash that smells great and helps them make friends of the curious people attracted to their interesting money carriers.   

1. open the bag
2. remove the vacuum belly button
3. practice folding to make sure you like how it'll look
4. sew (or duct tape) the hem
5. measure and sew the middle separator
6. measure and sew (or duct tape) the ends
7. attach velcro closure (optional)
8. fill with monies, calling cards
9. make friends with the curious admirers of your wallet!

1. coffee bag, at least 10" wide when opened
2. sewing machine (or duct tape + needle/thread)
3. duct tape
4. measuring device
5. velcro (optional)

Negative $7 (I've sold 6 of these, and one person offered me $10, but I would only take $7)

40 minutes for the first one, 15-20 minutes once you've made a few

This instructable has pics from making 3 different wallets...
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Love this - made one and using it now. Stupidly tried to iron it (doh!) but the damage can be covered up quite easily (thought I might sew a photo over it). Anyway, I'm hooked so will be making more. How did you get yours flat? Mine had creases I wanted to get out.
Thanks - this i'ble is now a favourite.
uasmmx2 years ago
This is the first time I use the sewing machine!!, thanks to my mother who teach me, I'm very happy!
curiousmonk2 years ago
Made one of these last night - pretty happy with the first-try results, especially since it's been about fifteen years since I used a sewing machine!

Thanks for a great instructable. I'm looking forward to making a few more :)
alo14 years ago
Can you post a video too?
katmckee (author)  alo13 years ago
I should be sewing a bunch in July, and i just bought a vid camera, so... yeah, maybe! I have been doing more applique work, people love them.
Thank you! I am looking forward to the video.
I agree!
napalm24 years ago
sorry but what are these coffee bags?? i live in the uk and havnt a clue what they are
katmckee (author)  napalm23 years ago
sorry for so long a time to answer! Coffee bags are what coffee comes in when you buy coffee in food stores. 10oz, 12oz or 16oz bags.
Sokol4 years ago
I made another wallet. Keyth here, again, the one who lost his original account, drat it! Anyway, I made another wallet. I tell you these things are long-lasting, and the one I made (shown above) was only starting to show signs of wear at the top and bottom middle where the fold is. But I wanted to make one where the design really showed better, so I had to modify this a bit.
First, I sewed two bags together to make a larger fabric from which to cut the pattern.
Secondly, despite numerous attempts to use a practice sheet of paper, I could not figure out how to get the design where I wanted it on the finished piece. So, I constructed this backward. That is, I folded the design where I wanted it to be on the finished wallet, and then I folded the top, bottom and insides. Here is the wallet. If you have any questions, let me know, and I'll make an instructable.
coffee wallet inside.JPGcoffee wallet back.JPGcoffee wallet outside.JPG
katmckee (author)  Sokol3 years ago
wow, that one is really gorgeous! !
katmckee (author)  Sokol4 years ago
I have also sewn multiple bags together for cool design!
katmckee (author)  Sokol4 years ago
wow, these are beautiful! I've been making some, I should post pics. thanks for sharing!
napalm24 years ago
what are these coffee bags may i ask, i live in the uk and do not quite understand the product, but i understand most of the tutorial.
girlcousin4 years ago
LOVE it! I keep cranking out drink pouch business card holders, and people are nuts for them (once they realize I didn't give them a pack of Kool-aid!)
lafnbear4 years ago
Love the juxtaposition of sewing (a stereotypically feminine task) with the use of a manly carpenter's tape measure!
croqzine4 years ago
Cool! I'm linking to your project on Dollar Store Crafts tomorrow: http://dollarstorecrafts.com/2011/05/recycled-coffee-bag-wallet
Well done! When i was sewing the credit card sections, i didn't pull it tight enough and now theres some wrinkles when i close it, but that's ok. I bought my Rwanda bag at Costco and it turned out really cool! Thanks for my new (waterproof!) wallet!
Photo 155.jpgPhoto 158.jpgPhoto 156.jpg
craftyv4 years ago
The difference between Boning and Burnishing is this.
Boning is to use a smooth implement to make a strong crease on your paper, coffee bag, card, etc.
Burnishing is to rub a smooth implement onto an image to 'shine" or polish the image.
Love these wallets however I must admit I find the written directions a bit complicated and have referred to the pictures for my instructions.
blodefood5 years ago
Great idea, but you would have to make it larger for Canadian or UK notes.
katmckee (author)  blodefood4 years ago
yes! my friend wanted to take some to her friends in Germany and were testing out some Euro billls, some were not fitting!
katmckee (author)  blodefood5 years ago
mm. good point! folks who tend to like these billfold wallets want really small wallets in their pocket so I made these the size of our bills with little room for bigger stuff... I did make a few bigger ones for people that like to keep receipts and lotto tickets that might work for other notes.
D Robinson5 years ago
I think you mean "burnishing" when you say "boning."
There is a tool used in Origami or scrap-booking called a "boning tool". It is a piece of hard polished agate held in a handle. It's used for rubbing along paper folds to make an extremely sharp crease, so would seem to fit the usage described here. I think any smooth object can be used such as a plastic rulers edge or the smooth handle of a pair of scissors. So long as you don't tear or stretch the material being used. Great Instructable.
katmckee (author)  craftyv4 years ago
thanks for that great interesting info, craftyv!
far2_gr84 years ago
I cannot wait to make this! My lovely keyboard insert wallet is looking kinda rough, but we have Kick A** coffee here that I am SO going to use for this...I will post when done.
katmckee (author)  far2_gr84 years ago
hey, did you make the wallet? can you post a pic?
Puzzledd4 years ago
Great idea- dirt cheap, clearly explained, really interesting appearance -and re-using trash! I love it!
Keyth5 years ago
This is great.  I made a quick one out of the first coffeebag I had, but I have my eyes on a silver bag beaing sold at Starbuck's right now, or a more colorful Dunkin Donuts one, too.
But this has worked out great.  I needed a wallet and this was a handy one to  make quickly.  Plus it is durable and smells fantastic!

I zigzag stitched my edges and then cut close to the stitching.  I wanted something a bit more finished looking than the simple cut edges.

And you're right.  It draws attention.  I got a lot of comments from the folks at Starbucks. 
katmckee (author)  Keyth5 years ago
I just made a wallet today out of this very same bag!
katmckee (author)  Keyth5 years ago
Hey, I love seeing someone else's coffeebagwallet!  Thanks for posting!
Tessab5 years ago
Those are so cute, i want to make one for my boyfriend haha. What brand of coffee was the purple one you made? If you dont mind me asking, the picture is awesome :D
katmckee (author)  Tessab5 years ago
that is from a coffee roaster in Seattle. next time I make a wallet with that brand I'll post it! thanks!
sufairlie5 years ago
looks awesome and I am trying to do it right now, but I am having trouble following the directions. do you have a video that I can follow?  I don't understand where to fold... please help!
katmckee (author)  sufairlie5 years ago
sorry it's confusing! the video is a great idea. I'll make a quick one showing just the folds, not the sewing, this week.
yfghzu5 years ago
Eto polnay Hyinay!!
katmckee (author) 5 years ago
Well you might want people to buy coffee so they will give you their coffee bags.
I want to make one out of burlap covered cardboard.
Vspec5 years ago
Nice, the foil lining may also be able to block rfid tags as well which is a plus.
=SMART=5 years ago
Haha i love keeping various materials and objects just incase they are useful in the future :)
Great work
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