Introduction: Potato Chip Bag Wallet

Thanks for the positive response to my earlier Instructable, the "Capri Sun Wallets," which can be found here:

There are tons of recyclables you can use to make wallets and other fun, useful stuff.   I came up with this Potato Chip Bag Wallet to combine my love of noshing and wallets.  BUT - what's the secret to making the thin, slippery chip bags into a tough, durable material suitable for a wallet?  The answer is FUSING the bag layers together by ironing them!  You have to cover the bags, however, with a non-stick paper first so they won't harm your iron.

Have fun!

Step 1: Materials

Materials for one Potato Chip Bag Wallet:

One 10-1/2 oz. large potato chip bag (or any chip bag)
Two 1 oz. small potato chip bag (ditto)
Iron and ironing board
Sewing machine
Cardboard for templates
Stick-on Velcro – 3/8”
18” or so of Contact paper – the sticky type with a separate wax-like LINER that you peel off
OR –  wax paper (but not as ideal to work with)

Make cardboard templates:

Back of wallet:   9-3/4” x 6-3/4” (will be folded length-wise)
Long inside pocket:   9-1/4” x 3-1/4”
Larger card pocket:   4-3/8” x 2-3/4”
Smaller card pocket: 4-3/8” x 2-3/8” (Note: in the finished photo, my small card pocket is narrower than the large pocket. However, using the same width for both pockets is easier.)
Coin purse bottom:   3-1/4” x 2-1/2”
Coin purse flap:   3-1/4” x 2-1/2” (I used the “Lay’s” logo from the small chip bag – photo)

Step 2: Prepare the Bags and Materials

Empty*, wash, and dry out the 3 chip bags (*Hint from personal experience: if the bags are full of chips, try saving the chips in a can and eating them after you finish the project. That way you can stay awake and not burn yourself in the later steps.)

Peel OFF the Contact paper and use it to line your shelf or whatever. You will only use the NON-STICKY Contact LINER (or wax paper) for this project.  It is used to cover the bags when you fuse them with the iron.

Step 3: Fuse the Layers of Chip Bags

Fuse the bags by ironing. Lay (no pun intended) the potato chip bag on the ironing board and COVER it with the non-sticky Contact LINER (or wax paper). Set your iron on “wool” setting.  IRON the non-sticky Contact liner, with the bag underneath, back and forth, around and around slowly. (Be sure your iron does not directly contact (no pun....oh, nevermind) the chip bag or it will stick to your iron!)

Occasionally lift up liner and check to see if the 2 bag layers are fused completely – the layers should not be separable. There will be wrinkles, but that is part of the charm. Fuse the 2 small chip bags separately the same way.

Step 4: Cut Out Back and Long Pocket

Trace and cut out the back of wallet using the back template and the large chip bag:  (9-3/4” x 6-3/4”).   I used the large “Lay’s” logo from the bag (photo).  Fold length-wise.  It is now 9-3/4” x 3-3/8”. Crease firmly the folded edge with thumbnail. FUSE this piece with the ironing method. Note: this now becomes FOUR bag layers fused together. Fold down the top edge to the inside 1/2" and fuse.  Then stitch down 1/4" from edge.

Cut out the long inside pocket using the template and the remaining large chip bag: (9-1/4” x 3-1/4”).  

Step 5: Cut Out Card Pockets and Coin Purse

Cut out the 2 card pockets (4-3/8” x 2-3/4” and 4-3/8” x 2-3/8”) – use one of the small fused chip bags if not enough left from the large chip bag.

Cut out the coin purse bottom from a small fused chip bag: (3-1/4” x 2-1/2”) – I like the part that says “Potato Chips” (photo). Cut out the coin purse flap (3-1/4” x 2-1/2”) - I used the “Lay’s” logo from the small chip bag and traced around the design (photo)

Step 6: Fold and Fuse Top Edges

Fold down the top edges of each cut piece ¼”, except the coin flap, and crease firmly with thumbnail. Fuse the folds down. This gives each piece a smooth top edge.

Step 7: Sew Card Pockets

Line up the 2 card pockets with the LEFT and BOTTOM edges of the long pocket (smaller pocket on top).  SEW only the right edge to attach the card pockets.  

Step 8: Sew Coin Purse

Line up the bottom coin purse with the bottom edge of the long pocket, and center on the half wallet. Sew the two sides and bottom (not the top) 1/8". Fold the top edge of the coin flap to the inside 1/2and crease well. Sew it along the inside crease to attach to the long pocket.  Stick one piece of Velcro to the inside flap, "Velcro" the 2nd piece to that piece, remove backing of 2nd piece, close flap so the bottom piece sticks onto the pocket.  Voila! - the two Velcro pieces match perfectly.  

The long pocket should now have the card pockets and the coin purse attached

Step 9: Sew Long Pocket to Back

Lay the long pocket over the inside of the wallet back, bottom edges together. The back should be 1/4" longer at each side than the long pocket.  Fold one edge of back over and crease firmly with thumbnail.  Taper the top and bottom corners so they do not flare out. when folded  Use small pieces of tape to hold the long pocket and back together while you sew. (You can try fusing the folded edge  but it may not hold well because of the thickness.) CAREFULLY hold down the folded edge and sew it down SLOWLY 1/8” from edge. Do the same with the other side of the wallet.  Sew the bottom edges of the wallet 1/8” from edge.

Step 10: Finished!

Congratulations!  Eat some chips. Enjoy!

Note:  watch for my future Instructables where I will be using other recyclables, like newspaper bags, grocery bags.....!