Potato Chip Bag Wallet





Introduction: Potato Chip Bag Wallet

Thanks for the positive response to my earlier Instructable, the "Capri Sun Wallets," which can be found here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Capri-Sun-Wallets/.

There are tons of recyclables you can use to make wallets and other fun, useful stuff.   I came up with this Potato Chip Bag Wallet to combine my love of noshing and wallets.  BUT - what's the secret to making the thin, slippery chip bags into a tough, durable material suitable for a wallet?  The answer is FUSING the bag layers together by ironing them!  You have to cover the bags, however, with a non-stick paper first so they won't harm your iron.

Have fun!

Step 1: Materials

Materials for one Potato Chip Bag Wallet:

One 10-1/2 oz. large potato chip bag (or any chip bag)
Two 1 oz. small potato chip bag (ditto)
Iron and ironing board
Sewing machine
Cardboard for templates
Stick-on Velcro – 3/8”
18” or so of Contact paper – the sticky type with a separate wax-like LINER that you peel off
OR –  wax paper (but not as ideal to work with)
Make cardboard templates:

Back of wallet:   9-3/4” x 6-3/4” (will be folded length-wise)
Long inside pocket:   9-1/4” x 3-1/4”
Larger card pocket:   4-3/8” x 2-3/4”
Smaller card pocket: 4-3/8” x 2-3/8” (Note: in the finished photo, my small card pocket is narrower than the large pocket. However, using the same width for both pockets is easier.)
Coin purse bottom:   3-1/4” x 2-1/2”
Coin purse flap:   3-1/4” x 2-1/2” (I used the “Lay’s” logo from the small chip bag – photo)

Step 2: Prepare the Bags and Materials

Empty*, wash, and dry out the 3 chip bags (*Hint from personal experience: if the bags are full of chips, try saving the chips in a can and eating them after you finish the project. That way you can stay awake and not burn yourself in the later steps.)

Peel OFF the Contact paper and use it to line your shelf or whatever. You will only use the NON-STICKY Contact LINER (or wax paper) for this project.  It is used to cover the bags when you fuse them with the iron.

Step 3: Fuse the Layers of Chip Bags

Fuse the bags by ironing. Lay (no pun intended) the potato chip bag on the ironing board and COVER it with the non-sticky Contact LINER (or wax paper). Set your iron on “wool” setting.  IRON the non-sticky Contact liner, with the bag underneath, back and forth, around and around slowly. (Be sure your iron does not directly contact (no pun....oh, nevermind) the chip bag or it will stick to your iron!)

Occasionally lift up liner and check to see if the 2 bag layers are fused completely – the layers should not be separable. There will be wrinkles, but that is part of the charm. Fuse the 2 small chip bags separately the same way.

Step 4: Cut Out Back and Long Pocket

Trace and cut out the back of wallet using the back template and the large chip bag:  (9-3/4” x 6-3/4”).   I used the large “Lay’s” logo from the bag (photo).  Fold length-wise.  It is now 9-3/4” x 3-3/8”. Crease firmly the folded edge with thumbnail. FUSE this piece with the ironing method. Note: this now becomes FOUR bag layers fused together. Fold down the top edge to the inside 1/2" and fuse.  Then stitch down 1/4" from edge.

Cut out the long inside pocket using the template and the remaining large chip bag: (9-1/4” x 3-1/4”).  

Step 5: Cut Out Card Pockets and Coin Purse

Cut out the 2 card pockets (4-3/8” x 2-3/4” and 4-3/8” x 2-3/8”) – use one of the small fused chip bags if not enough left from the large chip bag.

Cut out the coin purse bottom from a small fused chip bag: (3-1/4” x 2-1/2”) – I like the part that says “Potato Chips” (photo). Cut out the coin purse flap (3-1/4” x 2-1/2”) - I used the “Lay’s” logo from the small chip bag and traced around the design (photo)

Step 6: Fold and Fuse Top Edges

Fold down the top edges of each cut piece ¼”, except the coin flap, and crease firmly with thumbnail. Fuse the folds down. This gives each piece a smooth top edge.

Step 7: Sew Card Pockets

Line up the 2 card pockets with the LEFT and BOTTOM edges of the long pocket (smaller pocket on top).  SEW only the right edge to attach the card pockets.  

Step 8: Sew Coin Purse

Line up the bottom coin purse with the bottom edge of the long pocket, and center on the half wallet. Sew the two sides and bottom (not the top) 1/8". Fold the top edge of the coin flap to the inside 1/2and crease well. Sew it along the inside crease to attach to the long pocket.  Stick one piece of Velcro to the inside flap, "Velcro" the 2nd piece to that piece, remove backing of 2nd piece, close flap so the bottom piece sticks onto the pocket.  Voila! - the two Velcro pieces match perfectly.  

The long pocket should now have the card pockets and the coin purse attached

Step 9: Sew Long Pocket to Back

Lay the long pocket over the inside of the wallet back, bottom edges together. The back should be 1/4" longer at each side than the long pocket.  Fold one edge of back over and crease firmly with thumbnail.  Taper the top and bottom corners so they do not flare out. when folded  Use small pieces of tape to hold the long pocket and back together while you sew. (You can try fusing the folded edge  but it may not hold well because of the thickness.) CAREFULLY hold down the folded edge and sew it down SLOWLY 1/8” from edge. Do the same with the other side of the wallet.  Sew the bottom edges of the wallet 1/8” from edge.

Step 10: Finished!

Congratulations!  Eat some chips. Enjoy!

Note:  watch for my future Instructables where I will be using other recyclables, like newspaper bags, grocery bags.....!



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    18 Discussions

    This is an awesome tutorial. Exactly what I need. I am making a cape out of Cheetos bags for my daughters comic-con costume. Therefore I think sewing is definitely in order. Do you recommend a specific type of thread, length of stitch, straight stitch? Any advise is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    1 reply

    The chip bags are pretty easy to sew together . I used regular Polyester cotton thread and a # 11 or # 14 machine needle. You don't have to use the backing paper from the contact paper like I did. You can use parchment baking paper instead for ironing the bags to fuse them together. You could also use one layer of the bags instead of fusing two layers together if you want the cape to be thinner. I use small pieces of tape to hold the bags together while I sew. Good luck on your project !

    Have you tried this with just one layer of chip bag, backed with duct tape? I tried the instructions I found for a duct tape wallet at another site, but used a chip bag I had backed. The result was really nice. It ended up looking like a mostly-chip-bag wallet with just a bit of duct-tape trim. If you want more info, lmk.

    If you don't want to buy a roll of non-stick paper (you don't really need very much for this instructable), save your sandwich wrapper next time you hit McDonald's. The wrappers from hamburgers and breakfast sandwiches will work well for this (avoid ones that have had stickers, though, as with the "Monopoly" promotion).

    One more great reuse for what would otherwise be trash!

    1 reply

    Good idea. There are easier choices than what I used--that roll of stuff i used was what I happened to have in my closet.

    What is happening if the shape of the bag is distorting? Is my iron too hot? I mainly had this problem with the large piece, after I folded it and tried fusing it again.

    1 reply

    Yes, don't let your iron get too hot. Medium heat is best. But, will it wrinkle and distort a bit regardless. Good luck.

    This is awesome - I am definitely going to try this out. Why is wax paper not as good to use as the other paper for ironing?

    I love this! Thanks for sharing! Question, why do you need to sew if you can just fuse the layers instead?

    2 replies

    Hi! Actually, you are right, you could make the wallet no-sew and just fused together with the iron. The trick would be to iron a very narrow line that would fuse the edges of the pockets only, and not the entire pocket. Just be sure to fuse each pocket layer separately before attaching to the wallet back. The big advantage to sewing, though, are the side edges of the wallet that are very thick because of the multiple layers. Sewing holds the thick layers together
    firmly, which I found difficult with just fusing. I do a lot of sewing, so it was easier f.or me that way. However, if you had a bad sealer, that might work. Thanks for your comments!

    Fun idea!
    For a gift you could use chips that are only found in certain regions, then make them into wallets. I know Canada and the US have different chip varieties and showing a wallet in a flavour that we can't get here would be awesome!

    Step 1, eat lots of chips!

    1 reply

    Great idea that I didn't think of! Next time I travel I will bring my empty chip bags home