Introduction: Wallet Made From a Computer Keyboard

Picture of Wallet Made From a Computer Keyboard
In all likelihood there is a keyboard within a few feet of you. Inside that keyboard there probably is a circuit sheet that makes for a surprisingly durable and thin material for making a wallet.

Any mention of this project must provide a link to with credit to Ryan McFarland.

Why? In taking apart electronics i find uses for most of the parts. Things which can not be reused go into scrap piles for recycling. But these sheets couldn't be easily reused and probably can not be recycled. I tried using overhead transparency sheets that had been printed on for a customized clear wallet pattern but the sheets mark when folded or creased. These circuit sheets are extremely durable.

You'll need:
A desktop computer keyboard (for the circuit sheet and a metal piece as a straight edge)
A screwdriver to open the keyboard
A ruler or tape measure
A cutting board or cutting mat
A razor knife
Sharp scissors
A roll of clear packing tape

The fine folks at HowCast have made a video from my Instructable...

Step 1: Open the Keyboard

Picture of Open the Keyboard

All of the keyboards i have opened have used a series of small Phillips screws to secure the top and bottom pieces. Remove them and open the keyboard. There probably is a sheet of metal secured with more screws. Remove the screws and set the sheet of metal aside to use as a straight edge during your cutting. Next is the circuit sheet which should be quite easy to remove.

Step 2: Plan Your Wallet

Picture of Plan Your Wallet

At a minimum you will need four 3 inch by 4 inch rectangles of the circuit sheet to form the billfold area. I only carry a few credit cards and my ID so I added two 3 inch square pockets to the pieces that I needed. It might help if you make a template on a sheet of paper and tape the pieces together to better visualize the end product. The circuit sheets are very forgiving and tape can be pulled off without damaging them (in my trials).

Use thick packing tape for this project for the best durability. I have been using my wallet daily from October through March and have only needed to add one small piece of tape. Where the wallet will fold leave a few millimeters between the circuit sheets for a hinge. The more space the more cash (or receipts) the wallet can carry without being forced open by the thick bills.

You might find it helpful to cut pieces of paper out to make a crude template to see how you want to configure your pockets. Just remember to try and build the wallet so that the tape is folded over any seams. Tearing the packing tape is much more difficult if it is folded onto itself.

Step 3: Detailed Taping Instructions

Picture of Detailed Taping Instructions

Click through these illustrations for the clearest tutorial I was able to make for how to tape the wallet together.

Step 4: Suggestions

Picture of Suggestions

Look over the wallet and see if any spots need reinforcing. Another piece of tape will not add much to the thickness.

If you have many shopper club cards use Just One Club Card to consolidate them into one.

Use the same materials to make a checkbook cover.

On recycling the other parts of the keyboard:
Obviously reusing the keyboard is best. But they break, get filthy, or just need replacing sometimes.
Keys - make magnets, clocks, or notes to loved ones (I Ctrl U!)
Plastic casing - If your area accepts #6 or 7 plastics for recycling do that.
Metal - Recycle as scrap or use as a surface for projects that use glue, solder, or other messy activities.


OGB3 made it! (author)2016-12-13

I just made one, really crude and I used masking tape, have a couple more keyboards lying around so I will make a better one soon

eilu made it! (author)2015-01-31

This is the one I made. It holds 6 cards (plus one hidden among the bills.) I keep a Disney dollar in the very back so nosey people won't be able to quite make out what I have in there!

zieak (author)eilu2015-02-16

Cool, and good idea with the concealing bill.

Pepe Silvia made it! (author)2015-02-12

Great Instructable! Really well designed project, clear instructions, fun to make, and upcycling! I don't care how old this Instructable is, it's new to me!

computer freak3 (author)2014-06-09

I really like this wallet and its great for computer freaks like me.... thanks but next time can you please make the taping instructions a little more clearer it was a lil hard to understand... thnkx i love it

the_lalo (author)2014-04-03

its awesome!:D

Sadi789 made it! (author)2014-02-20

I made this to replace my old duct tape wallet that's falling apart. I added a place to hang a small pocket knife and a key by taping two bobby pins to an outer side of the wallet. On the other side I hung a small carabiner clip. Inside the wallet there's a couple extra spaces for credit cards. I used a piece of tape to keep the wallet closed, because I always overstuff my wallets. I'm in love!

rtaylor41 made it! (author)2014-02-16

I made this for my boyfriend, and he absolutely loved it! The instructions were great and I will definitely be making this for all my guys for Christmas!

ajokinmom (author)2013-12-06

You just saved my butt for a Christmas gift! LOVE THIS!!

cena53058 (author)2013-09-11
KoKotheTalkingApe (author)2013-03-31

Fantastic! I wonder if tent repair tape would work well. It is very thin nylon fabric with strong, permanent adhesive that seems to be UV-resistant. It might stand up to repeated flexing better than packing tape.

kylezo (author)2013-03-23

I'd like to add a middle flap, but I can't figure out how. Advice? What's it affixed to?

blossom9283 (author)2012-12-10

I might do this for my hubby for Christmas, it seems I have to get him a new wallet every year. (Can I say George Costanza wallet). Maybe this will help him to keep a neat and thus non falling apart wallet.

mr magic (author)2012-08-21

Great, I had one for a while too.origami pattern out of same stuff ,otherwise same concept.
they last for ages

Frostytheswimmer (author)2012-05-18

This is the probably the coolest thing I've made on Instructables so far.
I made it about 2 years ago and it's been my favorite wallet ever, hands down. Every time I whip it out for a quick purchase, there's usually someone who marvels at the superb craftsmanship of it, but mostly it's someone wondering how geeky you can get.
Props to you Zieak.

zieak (author)Frostytheswimmer2012-05-27

Thank you!

Major627 (author)2012-02-25

Probably one of the greatest nerd ideas ever.

infob (author)2012-01-27

Done. Using it. Thanks.

acarden (author)2012-01-05

Made this for my computer geek boyfriend. Added an extra card slot and an ID slot. Can't seem to keep it closed though, hopefully will mould more with time. Great instruct

monsterlego (author)2011-12-23

Did this today. very cool!

monsterlego (author)2011-11-16

Cool and easy!

imma make it.

PJEC (author)2011-04-15

This is a great instructable, I love it. What would it look like if you put maybe bits of white plastic bag in the middle of it to make the circuit boards show up really well?

Xombie Doll (author)2011-04-10

this is awesome

snowflake81 (author)2011-03-22

Loved this instructable! I made mine smaller, 15x9,5cm (the size of a 50euros bill, i never get higher value ones ;D ) and you put in the cards the other side.

bilbo1195 (author)2011-03-20

I printed a circuit on a transparent sheet and did the same thing as the instructable

braxtonb110 (author)2011-03-14

Awesome instructable good job just made mine turned out terrific

ppatches24 (author)2011-02-18

I love this wallet so much i have used it for a while and all my friends asked were i got it hahahaha thanks for the sweet project

zieak (author)ppatches242011-02-19

Very cool! Thanks for sharing!

geoschiss (author)2011-01-29

If you use the fiber reinforced shipping tape it will last much longer. Just make sure to keep the "grain" of the tape across (not with) the area being taped.

raumthemad (author)2011-01-16

I took this idea and made a custom tri-fold wallet with 6 card slots: One windowed card slot (for driver's license) on the leftmost panel, two stacked card slots with a "secret compartment"-style slot behind them on the center, and then just two tiered card slots on the right panel. Instead of tape, I used something called "drafting applique", which is a very very thin layer of plastic with a super-strong adhesive on the other side that comes in paper-sized sheets. I was able to custom-cut tape in all sorts of odd shapes.
Even with six cards loaded in the wallet, it is about an eighth of an inch thick and only slightly larger than the average-sized credit card.

glowe997 (author)2011-01-16

cheersthis is a great help :)

gabry207 (author)2010-12-31

great idea!! here is mine:

zieak (author)gabry2072010-12-31


Deslivres (author)2010-09-26

That was great n_n I saw your Instructable over the summer (shortly after my students and I dismantled a bunch of old keyboards) and thought I'd mix your idea with the trusty old duct tape wallet.

zieak (author)Deslivres2010-11-06

Ooohhh... I like the way the circuit sheets really show well!

Deslivres (author)zieak2010-11-07

Yeah, it was a pretty great surprise ! Polishing the concept, and then they're off to Etsy.

madamcrumpworthy (author)2010-11-05

Made one as a present fro a friend today, love it so much I'm going to make my own. I added an extra flap in the middle for more cards.

zieak (author)madamcrumpworthy2010-11-06

That's great! I like your extra card hold holders.

Stormed Wolf (author)2010-09-21

The only thing i have to say is Take your time. i took about 2 hours to make mine and it looks really nice. one bad thing is, i had to leave this under my mattress for about 8-12 hours to break it in and make the middle fold more permanent

stu2theMax (author)2010-03-12

This has got to be one of the sweetest wallets I have ever seen. I've made a wallet 100% out of packing tape so its transparent. But how you came up this one i greatly commend you for. Thanx for sharing.

Haha, you mean everyone can see the exact contents of your wallet at all times? Something tells me that was a bad move ;). JKLOL -Y

Yeah, i thought of that too, but I just made one of these for fun and was very impressed with how it turned out, I won't use it as my everyday/keep all my important things in it, but more as a carrying around 30/40 dollars without them getting crumpled in my pocket type wallet

abgpieceofcheese (author)2010-09-11

Great instructable! Mine didn't turn out as well as I had hoped it would, mostly because I'm an idiot though :P

AronWanderer (author)2010-09-03

This was awesome. I made one today. I used a laptop keyboard which gave cooler colors in my opinion. It is a little smaller than yours, so I had to use the foil backing off the keyboard for the inside of the wallet, which was then covered by card pocket made from the circuit board. So, end result, a bi-fold wallet that may provide some RFID blocking, but looks like it's made completely from circuit board. Without anything in it it's very sparkly :)

SushiFish (author)2010-08-19

Hmmm what else do you have in your pocket of endless tools? :D

nagutron (author)2010-08-17

I just wrote an instructable for a new version of the wallet, with some refinements. Your comments and ideas would be much appreciated!

nagutron (author)nagutron2010-08-17

Oh, and a quick preview:

signposts (author)2010-06-27

Absolutely loved this instructable well made, well explained, great job. Heres mine.

frenzy (author)signposts2010-08-03

This posting has won today's "I Made It" Challenge. For winning you will receive a 3 month pro membership!

Thanks for using instructables!

boa123 (author)2010-08-03

Hi, I have made the wallet and it works well, however I have still got quite an excess of the plastic sheets from keyboard, and I was wondering what else I could use this excess for.

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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