Introduction: Slim Leather Front Pocket Wallet

A slim, front pocket wallet with three card slots and
one large slot. Made from 3 oz. vegetable tanned leather and hand dyed dark brown.

Step 1: Cutting the Strips

I'm starting with a side of 3 oz. vegetable tanned leather. This will keep things nice and thin. This will work with most types of leather, but I only have veg tan in 3 oz. All the pieces for this are 3" wide, so I cut strips. These two strips will be just enough material for the five pieces that are needed.

Step 2: Rounding the Corners

We'll cut the strips into the following lengths:

  • 3"x3" (three pieces)
  • 3"x4.75" (two pieces)

They just need some small cuts now. We need to round the two bottom corners on the two large pieces and one square piece. If you don't have a corner chisel, you can do this by hand with a sharp knife.

Step 3: Trimming the Slots

The two other slots are cut into this shape so that they fit together
nicely and don't bulk up the layers of leather on the sides of the wallet.

Step 4: Personalization

On this particular wallet, the initials PAF embossed in the front card slot. I like to do this before dying the leather, but it can be done after as well.

I also use my electric branding iron to brand my logo into the back piece.

Step 5: Dying

This dark brown dye doesn't come off easily, so gloves and a surface that you don't care about it are required. Soak some dye into a dense sponge and apply liberally. You really need to work the dye in to get an even coat. Now the pieces need to dry for at least a few hours.

Step 6: Finishing the Surface

Leather finish keeps the leather looking good for a long time. Apply the same way as the dye - just work it in. After the pieces are all dry again, I buff them with a soft cloth.

Step 7: Edge Sanding

The rough, raw edges of the pieces need to be sanding down in order to get them nice and smooth. I use 200 grit and then 400 grip sand paper on the edges.

Step 8: Edge Finishing

Edge Kote is a great acrylic finish for edges that ends up really smooth and shiny. Apply to the edges with a cotton swab and allow it to dry. After all of the edges are dry, I use a wooden burnisher to smooth and slick the edges. The burnisher is rubbed back and forth over the edge.

Step 9: Pocket Assembly

The first pocket is attached to one of the large pieces, 3/4" down from the top. Apple glue along the two side tabs and the bottom of the pocket. Make sure to mark where the piece will attach and apply glue on the large piece as well.

Once the pocket is glued on, use a stitching chisel to make holes along the bottom of the pocket, roughly 1/8" from the edge. Use a saddle stitch to secure the pocket.

Then do the exact same steps as above for the next pocket, offset by 1/2"

Step 10: Adding the Final Pieces

Use glue to attach the bottom pocket and the back piece. Carefully line up the corners and press down firmly.

Step 11: Edge Sanding

Use a large piece of sand paper, placed on your work surface, to square up the edges of the wallet. A small scrap of sand paper will make rounding the corners easier.

Step 12: Stitching the Wallet Together

Mark the edge for stitching on the front side using a wing divider. Your stitch should be roughly 1/8" inch from the edge. Make holes using the same chisel all the way around, and saddle stitch the wallet together.

Step 13: Edge Finishing

Just like before, use Edge Kote on all of the outside edges of the wallet. With the flat side of your wooden slicker, buff the edges and they should turn out nice and shiny.

Step 14: Final Product

All done! It takes about three hours from start to finish. This is a great project for anyone starting out!

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