Introduction: ILegal Paper Wallet

Picture of ILegal Paper Wallet

This wallet is super easy to make using a single sheet of Legal sized printer paper. (8.5" x 14").

This instructable includes free downloadable templates (optional),
does not require glue, scissors or tape to build, and has separate pockets for credit cards and bills.

I'm dedicating this to my 3 year old son, who photographed the steps for us. He seemed to like his wallet, and when he lost it, I was able to quickly make him another one. To add authenticity, I'll keep the next fake credit card that comes in the mail with an offer letter and let him carry it around.

Start by printing one of the templates (attached PDFs) or simply grab a plain sheet of legal paper.

Note: this wallet was inspired by The two minutes paper wallet

Step 1: Fold Over the Bottom 1 1/3"

Picture of Fold Over the Bottom 1 1/3"

If you've got the template, fold on the bottom line (the furthest from the robot pictures). If you are starting with a blank sheet of legal paper, fold the bottom 1 1/3 inches up.

The measurement is an approximation. In fact, if you don't have a ruler handy you can use half the height of a credit card.

You've now created the inside of the credit card pocket.

Step 2: Fold Over the Bottom 1 13" Again

Picture of Fold Over the Bottom 1 13" Again

This should be pretty easy. You just need to fold again in the same direction.

By folding this over twice, you get a nice rounded edge holding in the credit card. If you are more interested in ultra-thin wallets, you can skip this fold.

Step 3: Fold the Bottom 2 Inches Under

Picture of Fold the Bottom 2 Inches Under

You've got the credit card pockets with the first two steps, now we need to make the dollar pocket. To do this, you'll need to fold the bottom 2 inches under.

You'll want to make sure all your folds have good creases, so they stay flat and tight.

Step 4: Fold the Bottom 2 Inches Over

Picture of Fold the Bottom 2 Inches Over

Fold the bottom two inches over to create the pocket that will hold the dollar bills.

If you don't have a ruler handy, you can use a dollar bill as a guide. The fold should create a pocket about 3/4 of the height of the bill (laying on it's long edge).

In the picture below, I'm just starting the fold -- at least you can see the direction that I'm folding.

By the way, my 3 year old son took these pictures -- not bad eh?

Step 5: Fold the Bottom 3 Inches Under.

Picture of Fold the Bottom 3 Inches Under.

You are now creating the outside of the wallet. The finished wallet should be about 3 inches deep, enough to hide the bills inside.

Crease well!

Step 6: Fold in Side Edges

Picture of Fold in Side Edges

This is where it gets a little tricky. You need to unfold all but the last four folds ( the credit card and dollar pockets)

Now, you'll need to fold under about a third of an inch on each side. You want these folds to be parallel to the papers edge and creased well.

Doing this step gives the side of the wallet a finished look, resistance from tears and also holds the bills and credit cards in.

Note: If you fold to much in on the sides, the credit cards won't fit. If you fold too little, it will be difficult to make the next fold correctly.

Step 7: Refold and Tuck in Excess

Picture of Refold and Tuck in Excess

You are almost done! Simply refold along the old creases. You'll find that the outside of the wallet hangs down below the inside pockets. This tail needs to be tucked into the bottom of the wallet.

Now fold the whole thing in half and put it to good use. When it wears out, make a new one!

Step 8: Personalize It!

You don't really have to do anything else to your wallet, but why wouldn't you?

Here are a few ideas:
  • Strengthen the wallet with an iron-on denim patch. You can probably find this at your grocery store or a fabric store.
  • Write some financial wisdom on the outside of the wallet. You can start with these money quotes.
  • Print all your club cards bar codes on the back. You'll want the codes to print about 11 1/2 inches down on the paper so they end up in the right place when all is folded up.
  • Write grocery shopping lists on the outside, When there is no more space, discard and make a new one.
  • If you are a mac user with access to Omnigraffle, use my omnigraffle template to add personal photos to the outside of your wallet.
  • Strengthen the wallet with Duct Tape!
  • Make a few, paint them with water color to match your favorite shirts. (ok. i'm lucky when my socks match, but someone might do this --- maybe?)
  • Doodle on it.


schetleft (author)2008-01-20

lol! when i first saw this instructable, i thought it said "illegal paper wallet"! but it's really like the "i" in iPod.

Derin (author)schetleft2008-04-24

well why do they call it iPod? "iPods please die,Creative rules"

DallasDeckard (author)Derin2010-10-14

I too owned a Creative, and the only thing "creative" about it was how creatively they ripped me off with a piece of junk. I still have my 1st gen iPod, and it works (unlike my Creative-hunk-O-junk). iPods rule, Creative drools. Actually, it doesn't drool. It does nothing. It might be cool, if it drooled, but it doesn't. It just sits there and does... nothing, and not very creatively either. Meanwhile, my iPod keeps on playing music and not doing what the Creative does, which is nothing. You don't have to ask a Creative to "please die", they do it without being asked. Which, you might consider "creative"... to die without being asked. If so, boy do I have an MP3 player for you.. my Creative Hunk-O-Junk. Perhaps it's biding its time... lying in wait, to one day suddenly work and THEN be creative. I doubt it though, and if that is the case, I'm sorry, but I consider my iPod continuing to play music much more "creative" than my Creative not playing music, and lying in wait... not playing... anything, creatively or uncreative-ly. "Creative, please live. (meanwhile) iPod rules".

hazzaman (author)Derin2008-11-29

awww what! I have a creative and it has severely let me down. I cry myself to sleep about it occasionally. :| PS at least iPods are reliable

spiffytessa (author)schetleft2008-12-31

I thought that too!

Joe Lombardo (author)2007-04-29

For readers more comfortable with A4 paper, there is a similar concept that was posted by mitxela called Origami Wallet.

thanks, i was just wondering if something similar could be done with a4. we don't have legal size paper in the uk

Derin (author)Digital_Anarchy2009-01-17

So people end in prison because they dont have legal size paper :)

Hunter O. (author)Derin2009-12-06

haha i got my legal paper at a police station :)

locofocos (author)2007-05-21

Hmm, off to go find some legal paper. I downloaded all of mine from Limewire...

lime wire has the most virious on it ok so hers a tip never go on limewire

well ya there is alot of viruses on there but only downlod the ones with the most hits and your good :)
just so you know

maxpower49 (author)locofocos2009-01-24

lol as long a u own a copy of the paper its legal :)

CapinPorcupine (author)locofocos2009-01-22

nice and that pic is awesome!!!

hurtzmyhead (author)locofocos2008-11-30

HAHAHHA your funny

Derin (author)locofocos2008-11-18

:) LOL

thing 2 (author)2009-09-06

How is this ilegal?

Atomman (author)2009-07-06


Keith-Kid (author)2007-12-07

Um.. for some reason I'm a colaborator in this.... could anyone please explain??

GorillazMiko (author)Keith-Kid2007-12-21

are you in a group with the author of this instructable?

Keith-Kid (author)GorillazMiko2007-12-23

yes...huh I guess thats it... thanks

ReCreate (author)Keith-Kid2009-02-05

whats that...the instructable robot in a barney costume?

Keith-Kid (author)ReCreate2009-02-06

It's a Keith-Kid costume.

ReCreate (author)Keith-Kid2009-02-06

oh sorry ...i never heard of that before...

Keith-Kid (author)ReCreate2009-02-07

I am Keith-Kid. The one and only.

ReCreate (author)Keith-Kid2009-02-07

oh i get it DOH why didn't i notice that you are Keith-Kid!

Flumpkins (author)GorillazMiko2008-08-27

I'm a collaborator too... maybe that's why i'm a collaborator

Patented (author)2008-09-20

Why am I a collaborator to this instructables?

n8man (author)2008-05-20

I made one that was blank, unfolded it, coated it with metal tape used to repair air ducts, and refolded it. Will post pictures soon

n8man (author)2008-05-18

Can you make a template that is editable and has nothing on it besides the folds so people can print what they want on it

n8man (author)n8man2008-05-18


xACIDITYx (author)2008-03-02

Why is there no instructable at all?

Keith-Kid (author)2007-12-15

Um..Someone please It says im a collaborator in this..could anyone please explain?

Joe Lombardo (author)2007-04-28

If you try to make this wallet and find any steps confusing, please comment here and I'll update the Instructable. Also, if anyone has any ideas for interesting things to print on the outside of the wallet (other than the Instructable's robot) I'm open to suggestions. Cheers, - Joe

Evan606 (author)Joe Lombardo2007-11-17

dude this instructable is fcking awsome! i just made one and i can think of a million use for it! the only problem is that the design is a bit to small for my cards so i had to make it a bit bigger but other than that its (once again) fcking awsome

darus67 (author)Joe Lombardo2007-11-05

Print a 1 month calendar on the wallet. I'm guessing a paper wallet won't last much more than a month anyway.

funwithfire325 (author)2007-08-08

your a awsome dad!

Ramnosity (author)2007-07-05

wow your son has a credit card.

Joe Lombardo (author)Ramnosity2007-07-05

I give him used gift cards and the paper credit cards that come with credit card offers.

royalestel (author)2007-04-30

Haha. I was wondering what would make this wallet illegal. iLegal! I like the idea of printing the club card codes on the back of it, too.

Joe Lombardo (author)royalestel2007-04-30

An iPod in the front pocket and iLegal wallet in the back pocket, how hip is that? I guess if you aren't familiar with legal sized paper it is just a weird name. Though, truth be told, I still use my old leather card holder and money clip. This is more for the kids. - Joe

lebowski (author)2007-04-28

sweet, i'll let the robot know.

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