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Wallet Recovery

There are times when being determined and handy with tools comes in very handy. I have a wallet which I like very much. I know exactly where everything is. I love the shape. I wouldn't want to change a thing...well that may not be quite accurate...maybe I would change a few things. The vinyl on the outside was pealing off so badly that I was truly embarrassed to take it out to pay for stuff when I went shopping. It had cracked corners and strips of vinyl literally hanging off.Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of the wallet in the original condition. It really didn't occur to me till I was almost done stripping the vinyl that I should document my progress. Let me tell you it was extremely ugly.

I am a perfectionist.However I am also on an extremely tight budget. I was also determined to have a nice looking wallet and so I decided it was time to upcycle this wallet into something I could be proud of. When I get an idea in my head about something I am going to get it done even if it kills me...so lets get to it!

Step 1: Stripping the Wallet of the Old Vinly

Stripping the wallet is not hard work just time consuming. Only the main body of the vinyl will be removed. The outer edging is not worth removing as it is sewn in place. Be cautious when scraping near the stitching, you don't want the blade to cut through. The larger pieces of vinyl just pealed off. The smaller pieces will need to be scrapped off. When the vinyl is old like mine was, the glue separates from the vinyl creating an uneven surface on the canvas below. It is important to scrape all that glue off . You need a smooth surface otherwise the new vinyl will look lumpy .

Step 2: Preparing the Wallet for Recovery

Once the wallet is stripped of the old vinyl it's time to inspect it. Look over the edging to see if any areas need repair. Is the canvas to loose for applying new vinyl?

Over time the old vinyl and canvas stretched out from daily use. It may not have been obvious when using your wallet before this point. However, this stretching is what causes the old vinyl to crack and separate from the canvas. Taking the wallet apart to put on new canvas is not feasible. In order to shrink the canvas and stiffen it up, paint the whole surface of the canvas with home made Modpodge ( equal part white glue and water). Allow the canvas to dry 24hrs. and repeat this process once more. Make certain the canvas is completely dry before proceeding to vinyl application.

Next go over the vinyl edging. If there are any cracked or broken sections repair them now. The best solution for broken edging is Bondic. It is a liquid plastic that cures to a hard plastic with the use of a ultra violet light. Once hardened Bondic is sandable and paintable. Fill the broken sections slowly and with many thin layers. Bondic dries better with thin layers.

Step 3: Perfect Pattern

The pattern is the base on which all other steps will go smoothly or be a total disaster. So take your time. Be precise. measure twice, three or four times. Make adjustments to the pattern if necessary. Get it right!

The start of your pattern begins with the embellishments or snaps. These need to be cut out first. Position the embellishment in the center of the paper.Mark the outline. remove the paper and make an X through the outline. Cut through the X with an exacto knife. Position the paper back on the embellishment. push the embellishment through the X . It will leave triangles of paper sticking out. Using a flat blade or scraper, gently push the paper triangle under the edge of the embellishment. The newly made folds will be the cutting line for the fabric so be sure the paper is pushed in as far as possible.

Now trace the remaining outline of the wallet. It may require you to move the wallet in odd positions to get the whole surface. Make sure you have not moved the paper out of position from the embellishment. Any shifting will cause inaccurate pattern pieces and can ruin the pattern entirely. Tape may be required in order to get it in the right position and to prevent shifting. When you believe you have it right cut out the pattern piece. You can leave the paper on the embellishment to cut it just be certain you do not cut the wallet. Reposition the newly cut pattern piece in place and make sure it is exactly like the original. You want smooth corners and edges especially by the zipper if there is one. The curved shape when the wallet is closed can cause the pattern to pull away so check that your pattern piece will be big enough when the wallet is closed. The pattern piece needs to be tight, no gaps should be visible.If there is any inaccuracy make corrections by taping new pieces of paper on the exiting paper pattern till it is exactly like the original vinyl fit.

Do the same for all required pattern piece.

Step 4: Fabric Selection and Prep

Fabric is always a personal choice. I chose a greenish grey snake skin vinyl to use for recovering my wallet. Since i do not want my fabric to move once it is in place i chose to stiffen the vinyl backing with the Modpodge like i did to the canvas.

If your fabric has a pattern it is important to choose the placement of the pattern pieces carefully. Also be careful with the which side of your pattern piecesvis visible if on top. If you are cutting the fabric with the pattern visible( right side up), the your pattern pieces must also be right side up. And vice versa, if the fabric is placed with the backing visible then the pattern pieces must also be wrong side up. It is best to mark your pieces as it is easy to make errors. An error at this point could cost you money if you need to purchase more fabric.

The same goes for the placement of your pattern pieces on the Heatbond. The Heatbond will be applied to the fabric before it goes on the wallet.Therefore when cutting out the pattern pieces The visible glue side needs to be facing the wrong side of the fabric.So take your time and figure out which side goes where.

Follow the instructions of the Heatbond carefully. Try out a few test runs pieces before applying the Heatbond to the back side of the fabric pattern pieces.Practice makes perfect in this case. You need to have it down pat before you get to the part of applying to the wallet. Once you get to that stage it will be a very big pain in the #%$ to redo.

Step 5: The Zipper Tab

The Tab is slightly different that applying the vinyl to the wallet.

Start by removing the old tab. Just use scissors or exacto knife to cut it off.

The pattern piece you cut from the fabric needs to have Heatbond only on the square part of the tad and only one side needs to have it applied.

The center of the zipper tab is the area which will rub against the ring that holds it in place. It will wear out quickly. So I added a small piece of heavy fusible webbing to the center area for reinforcment.

Slip the half the tab through the ring on the zipper. Fold it in half so the two squares meet vinyl side out. Place the fabric between two layers of parchement paper to help prevent scorching or melting vinyl. Be sure to follow the Heatbond directions for proper use. Iron the tab

Voila! Tab complete.

Step 6: Applying the Vinyl to the Wallet Body

OK here comes the hard part.

Now that the Heatbond is applied to the back of all the pattern pieces it's time to get it on the wallet.

Use tracing paper to mark the area where the embellishment will be positioned.Cut the x with an exacto knife. Do not cut the X bigger that the outline of the embellishment. Next mark the folds that were made on the paper pattern when it was tucked under embellishment during the pattern making step. Place the fabric on the wallet and check to see that the X is just big enough to fit over the embellishment. If it requires to much stretching it may seperate the vinyl, so expand the x Just a little bit but only if necessary if necessary. Cut the triangles off the X to where the fold marks are. Now that the hole should be big enough to fit the embellishment through start wiggling the fabric over the embellishment Work the opening gently, tugging slightly till you can tuck one side.Continue tugging the corners and the other sides till all the sides are tucked under the embellishment. once it is in place the fabric should look smooth without any puckering or being to sloppy.Now ensure all the edges of the pattern still line up like the pattern did.

When doing the ironing of the Heatbond it is very important to make sure the fabric is precisely where it should be. You really don't want any do-overs. Place a parchment paper over the wallet and carefully go over every part with the heated iron. Follow the contours of the wallet being extra careful not to over heat the vinyl and Heatbond. Over heating will result in Heatbond not sticking.

Push the edges of the vinyl into the wallet to smooth the edge. You should not be able to see the sides of the newly applied vinyl. It's the same idea as rolling the edges of wall paper. It squashes the edge towards the inside. to get a smoother edge where the paper meets.

Repeat this step for the other pieces of the wallet.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

Well the worst is done. Now you can take a breath and enjoy doing the finishing touches.

Now that all the edges have been pressed in they can be sealed. I used Bondic for this part. I just like that is sticks well and gives a nice smooth finish. I placed the Bondic bead along each edge trying as much as possible to touch both sides. Once the edges were cured I allowed it to set for 24 hrs. before painting.

I used black acrylic paint with slanted and very fine bristles. All of the edges and the embellishment were painted two times and I allowed 24 hrs drying time between the coats.

After the second coat was dry I sealed all the edges and embellishment with Para Acrylic Urethane satin finish. It has a water clean up which i prefer. Again like the paint I put two coats of urethane on and allowed 24 hrs drying time between coats.

Step 8: Take a Closer Look

This is it! Look at what determination, accuracy and patience can get you. I get comments on my wallet almost every time I take it out at the checkout. I am proud of my hard work.

Thank you for taking the time to view my Instructable. I hope it can help you out with one of your projects.

Thanks again,

Lynne Sek

Very nice job!

About This Instructable

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Bio: I am medically retired. Forced to stay home, I hobby. I sew clothes, clothing reconstruction + some home decor. I also cook+ bake. I like to ... More »
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