Introduction: Make a Simple Leather Card Wallet

I'm no expert at making leather crafts, so this is my first project. I'm learning just as you are!

Step 1: Get Familiar With Your Tools

The first thing is to get familiar with the feel of the tools, since you're going to be limited by your skills. The tools I used in this project included:

  • Leather
  • String
  • Paper
  • Tape
  • Sharp boxcutter/exacto knife
  • Hole spacer
  • Stitching Awl
  • Stitching needle
  • Stitching Groover (optional)
  • Burnisher (optional)
  • Beveler
  • Rivet and rivet setter

You're probably familiar with most of the tools except a few. In order, a hole spacer even spaces holes that can later be made larger with the stitching awl. Additionally, to add a professional look, a stitching groover can be used to sink in the line for the string. Finally, a burnisher can be used to stop the edges from fraying. This process essentially uses friction to melt wax or burnishing compound into the edges of the leather to solidify it (google it for more details).

Step 2: Plan Out Your Cuts

You know what they say: "Measure twice, cut once"

This wallet was based around being able to house a few cards, and I wanted it too look good. I tested it out with a piece of paper which was good enough but also served as my cutting template.

Step 3: Cut It

After unfolding my plan and taping it with clear tape to my leather, I could trace out what pieces need to be cut out all the way with a sharp boxcutter. I went slowly and made sure to retape any tape I cut after tracing as to keep a consistent shape and not have it shift.

Step 4: Carve Out the Creases

The leather, unlike the paper, has thickness. This will of course affect how it folds, and to help with the process I used the edge beveler to go over the folding points. I used a straight edge to keep a straight line, making sure to account for the width of the edge beveler (the middle of the bevel was the middle of the crease). This is an important step, as it will directly affect how the rest of the project will fold into shape.

Step 5: Line Up Holes

The next step was to place holes. I personally used the hole spacer, but I messed up a little and it wasn't quite on the line. I would recommend just using a ruler and marking every .125" or .25" with the stitching awl. Either way, I needed to use the awl to widen all the holes made. Also do be careful about your depth when pushing the awl through the piece, as it is very easy to go through the back as well.

Step 6: Stitch!

This is where you have an option to customize, as there are multiple ways to stitch. I did a really simple process where I started on the inside, then up, then back, and up, etc. This would normally produce a pattern where the string is shown then hidden, shown then hidden, but once I reached the end I double backed so it looks like a continuous line. Also do be careful of where the ends meet, as you do not want to ruin your aesthetic by tying your knot on the outside of the piece (unless you want to do something cool with it).

Step 7: Tighten Up the Stitches and Test

This is basically to clean up the stitching by pulling out slack (while leaving a bit so that it is still flexible) and tying it off. It is also good to test your cards while you're at it.

Step 8: Place the Button (rivet)

This button is pretty simple: it's just a rivet set into the bottom and the top has a groove that fits over it. Setting rivets aren't too hard, but do be careful not to set it all the way so that there is a gap for the flap to catch on. I also accidentally cut too much, which I fixed by shortening the top piece (that's why it looks a little not circular). After this, it's technically done!

A few notes though, I would do this a second time as there is a steep learning curve and my second attempt came out a lot better. I also would make the side flaps a little longer to cover the gap from the top flap and sides. I hope you enjoyed!