Upcycled Two-Way Wallet


For my upcycle project I have created a two-way wallet out of a recycled leather purse. The inspiration for this project originally came from duct tape wallets that I used to make and sell in middle school. The type of wallets I made were able to open in 2 directions, where the geometry of the wallet kept the money/cards inside. For this project I was hoping to extend this design into a more professional form.

These types of wallets are pretty rare (and are not especially practical) but are definitely very unique. I was able to find a few commercially available forms of this product, but not very many.

As far as the aesthetic design, I was hoping for a deep rugged leather look such as this Chester Mox wallet. I liked the differential stain that was used in this wallet, and the thick leather definitely gives it a nice aesthetic and presumably the nice stiffness that any good wallet has.


The graphic below shows my design process map for the wallet. My process is fairly linear, with a couple branches for the two halves of the wallet. This process made it very clear in what order to assemble the wallet.

The design of the wallet was pretty simple. At first, I estimated the straps to be quite thin; however, I decided to use the straps from the purse, which ended up being much wider and much thicker. The overall dimensions of the wallet are 4.25″ by 3″.

After I had purchased the purse from goodwill, the first step was taking it apart and identifying the sections I would need. I used the front and back of the wallet for the main portions, and the purse strap for the cross-straps on the wallet. I undid the major seams and took out the lining of the purse.

I measured out the two 3″ by 8.5″ sections (that would be folded in half), and cut them with fabric cutters. This project was a very adaptive process, since I couldn’t do much planning until I had purchased the purse. This particular purse had a nice zipper pocket in the front, so I decided to try to incorporate that into the wallet to serve as a coin pouch.

I acquired some scrap plastic from the ITLL and cut it with a pair of box cutters. This plastic would be inserted into each side of the wallet to stiffen it. The plastic I found was a bit thicker than I was hoping for, which left the wallet being thicker than I nice wallet should be. However, it was the best recycled piece I could find.

The next step was measuring, cutting, and attaching the straps. The material I used was thicker than anticipated, and so I ended up splitting it at the points where the straps were sewn into the wallet, allowing them to bend easier.

Final Product

Below is the final product. The wallet can open in either direction, and holds your cards and cash firmly. As I mentioned, it is a little thick, but not too thick to be usable. The zipper also acts well as a coin pouch. As you can tell from my atrocious stitching, I would not trust this wallet to last long in my back pocket. Traditionally, leather is punched before stitching, but because of how thin this leather was, I decided sewing would be easier. Unfortunately I did not account for the fact that I am not very good at sewing. It’s definitely not the product that I had envisioned, but overall I’m pretty happy with the final turnout.

[1] https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/319192692361535832/

[2] https://www.pinterest.com/pin/30680841194977773/?lp=true

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • This is very interesting and well done I would say. The end product is functional which is astounding regarding that this is an upcycling project. I especially appreciated in your final report, the linear diagram describing the manufacturing process. The diagram is very clear and concise, especially once followed with further, more detailed instructions on how you created your product. Your documentation on the design of the project is also well laid out for the audience to understand. I think one area for improvement for your post would be to add a section on how you would improve this design in the future if you were to undertake this project again. I fully believe if you kept at this project again, you would produce an even better quality of wallet. Overall, this looks really good and again the quality of the wallet (Especially coming from a recycled purse) is amazing. Good Job!


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