Just the other day, I was trying to hit my $25 Amazon free-shipping threshold after sitting at $23 on the items I needed. I racked my brain for a consumer staple we were in need of more of.
To prompt some creativity, I rolled open the junk drawer to find (much to my horror and disgust) that we were down to about less than a yard of duct tape.
So I added the cheapest duct tape I could find – a 20 meter roll of “Duck Tape” for $3.37.
Meanwhile, I had been thinking about getting a new wallet. I have a traditional leather tri-fold and it was starting to look a little like…
Monstrosities like this are commonly referred to as a “Costanza”, in honor of George Costanza’s (of Seinfeld fame) explosive wallet. Lately, I’ve wanted to be more like Jerry (clean and organized) than George, as I adopt more of a minimalist lifestyle.
However, I did not want to pay the $40+ that most minimalist trendy leather wallets or card holders cost these days.
I knew that duct tape was a solid material that I could possibly use to make a wallet, so I started looking around on Google for “duct tape wallet” and “how to make a duct tape wallet”. I found a few tutorials, but many of them had ridiculous amounts of pockets for credit cards that could help organize, but mostly served to fatten the wallet. The more pockets, the more Costanza’d the wallet.
When the duct tape arrived, I decided to make a bi-fold duct tape wallet with just the one main pocket. 15 minutes and 3 meters of duct tape later, I had myself a bomb-proof minimalist duct tape wallet for a total cost of $0.50.
Luckily, I had the foresight to take pictures along the way in order to provide a tutorial. So here it is…
How to Make a Duct Tape Wallet Tutorial (with Pictures)
Get Your Supplies
Unless you need to buy more tape, you should probably have the supplies needed to make your own duct tape wallet:
- 1-sided duct tape – color of your choice
- measuring tape
Step 1: Measure Out & Cut First Piece of Duct Tape
I measured out the first piece of tape to get things started by first measuring a dollar bill. You don’t want the wallet to be exactly that size, because it will result in a tight fit, length-wise. And, you want some room for error to cut, later on. Given that, 9 inches is a good starting length. Simply measure it out, and cut it with the scissors. Then place it sticky-side-up on a flat surface.
Step 2: Make One Side of the Wallet
Measure out and cut 4 more pieces duct tape of approximately the same length, and then overlap them, all sticky-side-up. I overlapped each by about one-half an inch.
Step 3: Make the Other Side
Now, make the other side of the wallet by doing the exact same thing, but this time, placing the pieces sticky side down, 1-at a time. The goal is to have no sticky parts of the duct tape exposed. When you’re done, it will look like this:
Step 4: Trim off the Wallet Edges
I first tried this step using an X-acto knife and a straight edge, but it would only cut through one side of the tape. I found it easier to just use scissors and take my time. You’ll definitely want to have a sharp pair of scissors and keep the tape towards the scissor-tip, where they are usually the sharpest.
Step 5: Tape the Edge
Simply put two pieces of duct tape under the edges of the wallet.
Step 6: Fold the Edge and Trim
Next, you’ll want to fold the wallet in half, and THEN tape the edge shut.
Then, trim off the excess on the top.
This leaves you with a choice. You can either:
- Trim off the excess on the edge.
- Fold the edge over and tape it down.
I chose #2, in order to provide a more solid design. I didn’t want the edges to be the weakest point in the design.
The result, is this:
It’s not going to win any fashion awards, but it’s not half bad for $0.50.
In order to get the wallet to adopt a fold, just fold it in half and pile on some weights or a stack of heavy books.
Step 7: Add Money & Cards
You don’t need this step, but I decided to clip my go to cards on to the wallet, with a tiny binder clip. I later moved the cards in to the wallet, clipping them to the inside of the pocket. This is my first iteration, but it probabaly won’t be the last!
Making a duct tape wallet turned out to be a fun, cheap, quick, and purposeful DIY project that anyone can do.
Have you made a duct tape wallet or built or re-purposed anything from a common material like duct tape, Tyvek, or denim? Share your creativity in the comments.