Introduction: Wallet Made From a Computer Keyboard

About: I like making things out of items that would have otherwise been discarded. Check out my other projects!
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

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

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

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

Step 4: 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.

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