Bitchin' Innertube Wallet




Make a wallet out of duct tape? How 1992. I remember learning how to make a duct tape wallet at scout camp in 1992, and extended that lesson to a duct tape tie which I wore to any and all high school presentations or performances that required an increased level of attire. Needless to say, I had no problem avoiding sexual contact with the opposite gender.

Duct tape wallets are non-optimal. The nature of the adhesive used on duct tape results in a wallet that will slowly slide apart based on the forces input to the wallet by your ass. After a year or so, depending on the ambient temperature of your location, the wallet will be falling apart and you will be building a new one. Besides, who needs all those pockets, a full length cash slot or other "wallet" features? In today's modern, RFID, credit-ready, cash-poor society a money clip with credit card and drivers license storage is truly the best wallet you will ever need. Any more storage and you will tempted to store receipts, ATM slips, business cards, and other sundry items in the wallet until you have a full blown case of "Costanza Wallet".

Enter the Innertube Wallet. As a Maker, geek, or otherwise shunned cheapskate, you doubtless have numerous blown bicycle innertubes, a few sheets of rusty 22 gauge steel, and any number of DOA hard disks and their attendant magnets. With such materials and a boundless enthusiasm for turning interminably stored junk into stuff you don't need, I present the bitchin' innertube wallet to solve all your wallety needs.

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Step 1: Assemble Your Materials

The first step to creating your awesome new innertube wallet/money-clip is too assemble the materials required. The photo below should give you an idea. Feel free to substitute as needed.

1. Innertube. I recommend a mountain bike tube rated in the 2.1 to 2.6 inch range. Patches are optional but add a nice touch. You will need about 6-8 inches of innertube.

2. Thin steel sheet. I had a spot welded piece of 22 gauge sheet steel sitting around that was magnetic, and easily cut with my available snips. Rust is optional but gives street cred.

3. Metal snips. My brother-in-law has been borrowing my legitimate tin snips for about six months so I had to use my "super scissors" (pictured) which put the hurt on them. You should use real snips designed for steel. Since I had about 25 minutes to complete the project, I had to make due.

4. A magnet. I used a rare earth magnet from a broken 2GB Caviar HDD that I had sitting around. You will need something stronger than a fridge magnet, but the steel sheets will shield your credit cards from the super strong rare earth magnet for the most part.

5. Rubber cement. I used a bicycle tube patch kit to glue closed the assembled wallet.

6. Lastly you need some kind of file or sandpaper to smooth the steel pieces you will cut.

Step 2: Cut the Metal Backer

Once you have assembled the materials of your choice, you can begin work. The first step is to trace the outline of a credit card or other essential card onto the scrap metal with a pencil. A key consideration is to make the tracing about 1/8" larger that the card. This is so that the final metal cutout will stretch the innertube enough to allow your drivers license and credit cards to slide in with minimum of effort while allowing them to be retained securely. You will need to experiment with the specific number of cards and the innertube you use. For my purposes, a 2.1-2.6 inch tube with a 1/8" over cut metal backer was sufficient.

Once the metal is rough cut out of the thin steel, you should round the corners with your snips, and then smooth out the edges with a file and some emery cloth. I know I didn't include the file and emery cloth in the materials, but if you don't have something to smooth the edges sitting around your workshop then forget joining the smelly rubber wallet club.

Step 3: Start the Assembly

Once you have the main steel sheet cut and smoothed, the next step is to insert it into the end of the innertube. If you haven't cut into your tube yet, cut straight across the tube. Then jam the credit-card sized steel sheet into the tube as shown in the pic.

Once you jam this metal piece in, you will want to get the magnet ready for insertion. To do this, cut another piece of thin steel that is approximately the same size as the magnet. Make it square with round corners for ease of insertion. Smooth to edges and corners as previous. See pic.

Once you have the smaller steel sheet cut and smoothed, place your magnet on it and eyeball where you will need to cut the innertube to allow the magnet clip to hold your hard-earned cash. Leave a little (about 1/2" ) of extra innertube so that you can glue the innertube closed so that the magnet doesn't espace. See pics.

Once you have the innertube cut, then clean and scuff the opposing surfaces of the tube as it you were patching a tire. Use the scuffing tool provided in a typical bicycle patch kit. Insert the magnet on the metal piece. The key is to have the metal piece you inserted into the main body of the wallet to interact directly with the metal piece you cut for the magnet. The metal backing of the magnet is typically non-magnetic, so you will want the two steel pieces to touch, through the innertube to hold your cash while minimizing the magnetic field present at your credit cards. You will know if you have too much magnetic field at your cards if they stop working. You have been warned. I personally have had no problems.

Step 4: Glue It Shut and Hit the Town

Now that you have all the parts cut and prepped, it is time to put it all together and hit the town with your new rubber wallet. Take the rubber cement from the tire patch kit and squeeze it out on the scuffed portion of the rubber (see pic). Let it dry as detailed in the patch kit, and then press the two surfaces together. Be sure that your magnet and steel are inside before gluing. Once the glue is set, your wallet is complete. It can now hold all your Benjamins, Jacksons, and/or Washingtons. The image below is of $14 USD, four ones and a ten to illustrate the holding power of said money clip. In hand you can see the attractive nature of the innertube wallet. When spread artistically before my laser engraved cell the appeal is undeniable. In case you are interested, I laser engraved the design shown on my cell phone battery cover personally. I am also responsible for the misalignment between the design and the Motorola logo. I drew the Haida-inspired glyph. Contact me for more info or for the postscript file.

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    51 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Thank you for the laugh! I really do not need the bitchin' innertube wallet, but I did need the laugh.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    it's not the SIZE it's the strength. And No, Struckbyanarrow, you're wrong. ANY magnetic media can be erased and/or rewritten via magnetic field. Get your facts straight.

    8 replies

    "i would believe you but your name is Drstoooopid."

    struckbyanarrow you just made me wish Instructables had a "like" button!
    Now that I think about it, that is a terrible idea, but nonetheless I would "like" this comment.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     No no, mythbusters has proven this to be incorrect.  you need a fairly strong magnet specifically made to alter these cards to change the coding within.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     Also, I forgot to include that you would need a changing magnetic field, aka. AC current to affect any data on the card, therefore, you'd have to constantly swipe the card and change the magnets (magnetic field) direction.  However, It's pretty darn difficult to do this with a simple, even a nd magnet.


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 4

     the neodymium magnets from harddrives are pretty strong tho, wouldn't that be bad for credit cards, ipod /cellphone next to it?


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 4

    The metal plate in the wallet side will shield the cards from the magnet if big enough and the magnet is not too strong.  I have not had a problem with mine but your mileage may vary.  I typically keep my drivers license and other optical cards closest to the magnet as a precaution.


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    I presume you haven't seen Mythbusters. They tested large electromagnets against credit cards. The credit cards won.


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    So i guess it was magic that erased my Visa card and not the Wizard PK Ring? :)


    9 years ago on Step 4

    I used to have an innertube wallet such as this one, but I ended up making a pretty sick-nasty leather wallet (complete with waterproofing and a logo. ;)


    9 years ago on Introduction

    i just wanna say, that no matter what magnet, it WILL erase the credit cards, but only after multiple encounters.


    10 years ago on Step 4

    Why not make the whole wallet bigger to fit the money in?