In this instructable we will go through a step by step process on how to make your very own leather wallet. I created my entire project at Techshop Menlo Park. I found some really nice pieces of leather in their bin wall and I used CorelDraw to make a file so I could use the CO2 lasers to cut my pieces out. After they were all cut out I used the industrial sewing machine to sew all my pieces together to make my wallet!
Step 1: Making Your Files
I decided that I wanted three internal pockets so I made the front piece, two different size dividers and the part that would be the back piece to the wallet on one file. I made sure to make them big enough to fit a dollar bill inside without having to fold it. On a separate file I made a piece so I could have a pocket on the back as well. I wanted to put a fun design on it as well so I simply searched the internet until I found one that I liked and did some bitmap work on it so the laser could read it. I loved the design because you could personalize it by adding whatever text you want in the middle!
Step 2: Laser Cutting and Etching Your Pieces
I used different colored pieces of leather on my wallet. After setting one colored piece of material in the laser and focusing it I simply deleted the other parts I did not want to cut from this color of leather. That way only the piece I wanted to cut at that time would cut. Once that cut was finished I reopened the file and did the same procedure for the different colored pieces. When it came to the piece that I was rastering my design onto, I weighed it down with some parts that I found in the laser room to ensure my leather stayed in one place. It is very important to weigh down your material! When you raster a design into leather it shrinks because you are burning it. If it starts shrinking, your image will be all distorted.
Step 3: Preparing Your Pieces for Sewing
So it may look strange and I'm sure you could use other types of glue but this is a great trick! My friend who is a sewing genius told me that the best way to keep your pieces in the exact spot you want to sew them is to apply a little bit of glue between the layers. To avoid damaging your needle and getting glue all over it, apply your glue appropriately. I just made a boarder of glue a smidgen over from were I would actually be sewing. I put some heavy books on top of the layers after I was done gluing so it would set up nicely. As you can see in the picture it worked great!
After my glue was dry I headed over to the industrial sewing machine. I brought with me some scrap leather that I folded up so I could test out my machine settings before moving onto my wallet. This is highly recommended so you do not run into issues while your sewing your wallet.
Step 4: Putting on the Snaps
First select what size snap you want to use. After that is done and you have your four parts grab your tools. You'll need a hole punch, a punch, a hammer and a snap setter.
-Select were you want your male and female parts of the snap to be placed on your wallet.
-Place a piece of wood or something sturdy behind your material. Use the hole punch and hammer to make holes for your snaps to connect through.
-Put the outside snap in the appropriate diamater on the snap setter. Place the hole in your material over the snap. Then the place the second half of the snap on top of your material.
-Take your punch and insert the point into the snap and hit it with a hammer.
Repeat this process with both male and female snaps. Make sure to hit the punch hard enough to ensure that your snap can not spin around or become loose.
Step 5: All Done!
Hooray! Now you have a nice hand made leather wallet!