Here's how I created a leather wallet with solar-etched detailing. The simple four-piece design is one of my first leatherworking projects, and took a few afternoons to complete. I learned all the techniques for this project from the free Instructables Leatherworking classes (beginner & intermediate).
For this project, you will need:
Step 1: Cut & Prepare Leather
My first step was to create a paper pattern, so I drew it out to fit some cash and cards.
It consists of two main body pieces and two card pocket pieces. The outer layer has to be slightly longer than the inner piece in order to fold up together evenly.
I used a thick ruler and sharp rotary cutter to divvy up my leather, but you could also use a utility knife or a pair of shears.
Step 2: Engraved Detail
I had this piece of leather left over from last summer's solar engraving project, and luckily my pattern fit around the engraving really well.
You can check out my video about the process, and it's also part of my free Instructables Solar Class. While you're over there, check out Mikaela's leatherworking class, which is how I learned the skills for this project.
You could also laser-engrave your leather, or use a woodburning tool or hot metal stamp to scorch in a design.
Step 3: Punch Holes for Sewing
I used a skivver to shave down the edges on the pieces to be layered together, so they'd be easier to sew. Then I used some double stick tape to attach the card pockets to the interior body piece.
I had bought a simple starter kit for leatherworking, which came with both of these groove cutters, though I'm pretty sure I didn't need to use both on the same line here. The groove creates a line that's easy to follow along with the stitching chisel to create holes for sewing.
Step 4: Stitch Open Edges
I cut two long lengths of waxed thread, and use two needles at a time to saddle stitch along the open edges of the wallet first. I don't have a stitching pony so I just used my helping hands tool to hold my work in place.
If your needle is stubborn or your hands get tired, you can use a pair of pliers to pull on the needle.
Step 5: Join Front & Back
Then I taped and made holes in the short ends.
Step 6: Stitch Closed Edges
I picked up the same long strings to sew down the sides and across the bottom edge of the wallet, meeting in the middle. I doubled up on the stitches that span the start of the card pockets for reinforcement, and pulled the strings to the inside of the wallet for hiding a square knot.
A bit of E6000 adhesive secures the knots in place, and I let it dry overnight before trimming the tails.
To form the thick leather to keep the fold, I added some cards and cash and then clamped the wallet in between some cardboard with big binder clips.
Step 7: Enjoy!
This is one of my first leatherworking projects, and I really enjoyed the process and look forward to making more projects with leather in the future.
If you like this project, you may be interested in some of my others:
- Solar Balloon
- 3D Printer Filament Dry Box
- Solar USB Charger
- 3 Beginner Arduino Mistakes
- Silver and Amber Ring