Introduction: Magic Wood Wallet

About: I'm an Italian freelance structural engineer, graphic designer and photographer, now I'm teaching physics in Waldorf high-schools. I always investigate electronics, robotics and science in general, I'm a passi…
Maybe you'll want to thank me after making this wallet. Indeed it's not a simple wallet, it's wood-made and it's magic!
Unfortunately it doesn't make money appearing from nothing, but as some of you already know the trick is in the way to introduce banknotes in that.
I'm sure that girls could be very attracted by your magic trick and they surely want to play with your (full of money) wallet! ;-) 

Step 1: The Project

The design of this wallet is not original, but it belonged to a simple trick in some magician game box of my youth. The working principles are similar to Jacob's Ladder functioning.
I drew a simple 3D schematic to show you the way to connect the ribbons which keep the money. Notice that although in the 3D and in the animation you see a space between the two plates, in reality the ribbons are very tense and they keep the plates adjacent.
Here a 3D model ready to explore with Sketchup preview.

Step 2: The Prototypes

Before making the wallet from wood I wanted to experiment the right side to manage some banknotes (I gave up to make the bigger 500 euro compatibility, probably useless for me!) so I cut some rectangular pieces from cardboard and I connected them with adhesive tape.
I discovered that for euro banknotes a dimension of 80x100 mm is enough.
You can see the odd way the tape keeps the cardboard plates together, but it also lets the wallet opening.

Step 3: The (very) Rough Material

I know, it's strange, but I wished to experiment to pull out something nice from a pair of horrible wood thin boards I had. Since these boards are very weak in the direction perpendicular to wood veins, we need to glue two boards with different vein orientation.
That solution good fits with the ribbons connection. Indeed we'll insert the ribbons ends between the two boards.
You can make this wallet from any rigid material, plastic, cardboard, thin metal, leather, etc.

Step 4: Draw and Cut

After drawing the 80 x 100 mm rectangulars on the wood plates, since they're very thin, we can cut them with a big scissor.

Step 5: The Ribbons

As ribbons you can use any material. I opted for a transparent plastic sheet, even though the wallet will work better with a not elastic material. So if you have a nice fabric ribbon, I suggest you to try with that.
I cut the central belt a little wider than the other two, this is only for appearance matter, so you can cut the three pieces from the same ribbon.

Step 6: Gluing the Ribbons

You have to glue the ribbons ends to the external face of the inside plates. Use a cyanoacrylate glue, so it will be very fast and sturdy. To decide the right length of the belts stretch them strong and make the plates corresponding one over the other, then glue the far ends. 

Step 7: The Trick Is Ready

it's the turn of the central belt. This is a little tricky to insert in position, but after gluing the first end you will not have difficulty to stretch it and glue the opposite end on the external face of the wood plate.
The trick is already ready to try if you wish!

Step 8: The Toast

Attach with vinyl glue the other two rectangular pieces on the external sides of the first couple of boards. Then put everything under a weight, some heavy books are good.
Wait some hours, maybe all the night to let everything dry.

Step 9: Let's Refine the Ugly Thing

Now it's time to think to beautify our creation. Let's begin sanding with fine sandpaper the wood surfaces. The same way let's rectify the borders, paying attention to not ruin belts.

Step 10: Some Make-up

Some wax will make our wallet much more smooth and with better vain. Treat inside and outside surfaces, and open the wallet in both ways to reach the hidden areas.

Step 11: A Bit of Tanning

If you're not satisfied with the light wax treatment, you can darken the wood with a coloured oil. I made dark the external faces, to avoid staining the money.

Step 12: Moviola

Looking the animation you see how the wallet can be opened from both sides. The real trick is not showed here, and consists into the next procedure:

  1. place the pack of banknotes (not too much please, send me the surplus!) on the inside of the wallet, over the ribbon, or the ribbons, of one face
  2. close the wallet, paying attention that all the banknotes are inside the borders
  3. open again the wallet, but this time from the opposite side
  4. all the banknotes are now magically held by the ribbons as in the pictures

If you're good enough to not let your audience understanding that the wallet can be opened from two sides, they hardly believe that you're so fast to insert the money underneath the ribbons!

Step 13: Time to Fill It!

Now your magic wood wallet is ready! Beware to give it full of money to experiment the trick, indeed I can imagine it will become a wallet with money vanishing capability!