Introduction: Assemble a Musical Decoy Wallet

Picture of Assemble a Musical Decoy Wallet

Be prepared to foil pick-pockets with a decoy wallet.  Having anything stolen from you is saddening - unless you make something specifically designed to be stolen!  Note that this is not for use if you are being robbed!

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies
  1. You need some sort of a wallet.  The one I have pictured was a gift from my brother and I honestly would be sad about losing it.  I'll make a replacement decoy or keep an eye out for a cheap one to use.
  2. A singing card.  This isn't critical but sure does make the project more fun and the decoy much more enjoyable to show friends.
  3. Low-value currency.
  4. Business cards, expired gift cards, or other junk to thicken up the wallet.
  5. Anything else you would like to stuff in there to further prank the thief.  I used some relevant cards from a game of Apples to Apples, some cards from a deck, and a page from my daily bacon calendar.
You may also need scissors, glue, a translation book, and a pen.

Step 2: Some Money

Picture of Some Money

Of course, this step is completely optional.  You might not want to give the thief any money at all!  Pictured is one USD which is of almost no use in the places I usually travel (bills must be over $20 and totally crisp in order to be exchanged), 23 cents worth of Chinese currency, and about 20 cents worth of Mongolian currency.  It is just the right mixture that the recipient will surely know that the wallet was intended to be lifted.

Step 3: Filler

Picture of Filler

I added some playing cards, business cards (some of use to me but duplicates of ones that I really need), and relevant cards from Apples to Apples that describe the wallet.  Having the wallet thick enough to be noticed is important.  You want the thief to focus on it instead of your bag, your friend's thinner wallet, or the bills and cards you have tucked elsewhere.  This thing should look like the mother-lode! 

Step 4: Useless Cards

Picture of Useless Cards

Save the fake credit cards from junk mail, membership cards you get once for the 10% discount, SIM card packaging, dead phone cards, maybe even expired credit cards if you want the thief wasting time trying to use them.

Step 5: Make Your Wallet Play a Song for Them

Picture of Make Your Wallet Play a Song for Them

I would love to see someone wire a piezo alarm to their wallet but just using a cheap card will likely give the thief a real surprise.  Just cut out a piece of a singing card that will fit into the wallet.  A bifold wallet works quite easily - you just need the piece to fold just like the wallet does.  Measure or trace the wallet, cut out and insert it.  Try not to wear the battery out with your excitement over this delightfully simple addition.

Step 6: Leave Them a Message

Picture of Leave Them a Message

I cut out some more pieces of the card and used my multi-language phrase book to leave the thief a message.  I tucked the message in with the cash since they are likely to grab it even though it is nearly worthless.  I doubt they would go through the bogus cards too long!

Step 7: Deploy!

Picture of Deploy!
I can't wait to have my wallet stolen!  Below is a video of the wallet.



i think that this is too good for thieves, try hiding a detontor in the wallet to blow of their hand when they open it ,lol. maybe something else nasty could be included as an alternative/accompanyment. try a 400 volt capacitor or something(to shock them), get it from a camera flash.

Some rude people just ought to get robbed some time...

poofrabbit (author)2012-11-29

Congratulations on being a finalist in the DIY Audio Contest!! Good luck to you!

poofrabbit (author)poofrabbit2012-11-29

BTW, this tells me there are a lot of people out there who want to nab people with sticky fingers. :) Two finals, I think that's pretty awesome.

yasirafzal (author)2012-11-28

wonderfully thought creation, a must try for frequent travellers

poofrabbit (author)2012-11-23

Congratulations on being a finalist in the be prepare contest!

zieak (author)poofrabbit2012-11-23

Thank you - I'm surprised!

Nahbbe (author)2012-11-02

very cool

ElZorro (author)2012-10-12

I don't understand why anyone would steal an airmail letter.
You are making a wallet that looks like a letter to disguise it, then hoping someone will steal it?
I am not putting this down, just don't understand yet.

mettaurlover (author)ElZorro2012-10-20

Actually, those are wallets that are sold as made from recycled materials, which tend to be ridiculously sturdy and are somewhat common. I prefer to use duct tape wallets for this purpose, since they're almost free.

pecunium (author)ElZorro2012-10-12

You wear it where a pick-pocket can see it (inside your clothes, where a wallet would be), then when they pick your pocket, they get the fake wallet, not your actual wallet.

zieak (author)pecunium2012-10-12

Thank you. Maybe I should take new photos with a more traditional looking wallet as less of a distraction.

twighahn (author)zieak2012-10-14

you can make the fake wallet look like anything

DDMcF (author)2012-10-13

All I can say is that if I were bumping around in a large crowd at some big event and off in the distance I heard Lovin' Spoonful, it would make me smile like I've never smiled before. Bravo! Very very cool.

HelenaTroy (author)2012-10-11

"Stop thief!" in fifteen languages?

joeharner (author)HelenaTroy2012-10-11

I feel like it would be more amusing to stick a recording of this:
in. Good old oblivion guards....

HelenaTroy (author)joeharner2012-10-11

lol not bad! but is it short enough to go on in xxx different langauges?

joeharner (author)HelenaTroy2012-10-12

probably not, but if you just get it in the local language of the country you're visiting, things should work well enough. Of course, since you're not going to be seeing their reaction anyways, I suppose its more for your benefit in the first place.

evileddead (author)2012-10-11

Giving someone your membership card anywhere is potentially giving them your personal info as well. Almost every card out there requires some form of personal info for them to track, and it's not hard to get some unsuspecting cashier or whatever to let you know the info on the card. (assuming of course the thief wants payback, and the store in question is within distance.)

zieak (author)evileddead2012-10-11

Good point. Perhaps just using things like the fake cards that come with credit card offers would be best.

lovethebackwoods (author)2012-10-11

I can't wait to create a wallet like this! I have my students make the folded paper wallet, then a Tyvek one, and then a fabric one (cut from felt squares) is optional. Even my I-don't-wanna-sew kids make one when they see what happens. When the fabric wallet is made acceptably (not hard), I slip a dollar bill into it! My own decoy wallet has a card I printed; it says "You shall not steal. Exodus 20:15."

headlemk (author)2012-10-11

How about a "Hoops and Yoyo" card voice piece. That'll really make 'em drop the wallet!

FrozenIce (author)2012-10-09

I must say, that when i saw the main picture for this Instructable, i expected making the wallet to be the Instructable :P a bit disappointed... but cool idea either way :) :/

pefty (author)FrozenIce2012-10-11

Here's a great easy tyvek wallet instructable I've followed for making wallets for friends :)

zieak (author)FrozenIce2012-10-09

You're right - I should have used a better word than "make" - perhaps "assemble" would be better?

Mama83 (author)2012-10-11

LOVE the song your wallet plays! ;-) Need to do this; hubby had wallet taken (ergh!) and now keeps it on a chain, but I love this -- pack it visibly & maybe hide the real one. I used to be in law enf. so maybe instead of a song, a cop-talk???? ;-) Anyway, love it!

DesignMakeLearn (author)2012-10-11

Great instructable!
My wife gave me this same wallet as a gift since my duct tape wallet was starting to show some threads after nearly 4 years of use!
You can buy them here:
Or just search tyvek wallet and find plenty of useful instructables to show you how to make your own!

-A-N-D-Y- (author)2012-10-11

I really just don't get it? unless you are a super nice person that is nice even to the low life scum that pinch peoples wallets? If I was making a decoy I would not go to that hassle unless it sprayed marker dye on them and a loud noise (party popper banger?) and the message if any would let them know exactly what I thought of them in no uncertain (or polite) terms!

firesirt (author)2012-10-08

Or just a loud scream.

krysteanuh (author)2012-10-08

...I'm totally going to make a singing wallet. This is an awesome idea!

zieak (author)krysteanuh2012-10-08


banker (author)2012-10-08

Filling up a real looking wallet with junk would be more believable to the thief when you toss your wallet on the ground. Keep your valuables in the envelope. If he wants your keys, throw them the other direction. You should be able to recover one or the other. lol

zieak (author)banker2012-10-08

Actually the envelope-looking thing is a real wallet. I didn't make it but it is made of tyvek and printed to look like an envelope. But you're right - a "real" leather wallet or something similar might be best.

MillenniumMan (author)2012-10-07

Use that clip of Woody from Toy Story. When the would-be thief opens the wallet, it'll say "Reach for the skyyyyyyy......" and then "we can see... everything... So play nice!"

n1cod3mus (author)2012-10-07

lol like it, espically like the song nice touch, you can rerecord some of those card chips, would be intresting to find something suitable to put on it.

good job

mikeasaurus (author)2012-10-06

Great idea!

About This Instructable




Bio: I like making things out of items that would have otherwise been discarded. Check out my other projects!
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