My Very Own Moleskine (and Moleskine-like) Paper Wallet Hack


I use my pocket Moleskine agenda as a light daily wallet. I like having all of my business in one place and having that place take up rather little space.

For 2012, I bought a large-sized Moleskine-like red hard cover agenda. The dimensions are the same as Moleskine large agendas (about 13 cm x 21 cm…just a hair narrower than an A5 notebook), and the pocket in the back is the same as well. [Sidenote: I compared the red hardcover Moleskine Weekly agenda side by side with my Moleskine-like red hardcover Weekly agenda. Indistinguishable on the outside. Same ivory paper on the inside. The bonus is that mine has a month-view calendar at the beginning of each month, and then it proceeds with the Moleskine week on-the-left, notes-on-the-right pattern. Mine was less than half the price of the Moleskine version.]

I also wanted to have an integrated light wallet for this agenda, but the larger size means that credit cards and cash won’t fit as snugly. I want something tailored, organized, secure. I don’t want unnecessary bulk.

I considered making a cover for the agenda that would include an inside flap for credit cards, etc., but I thought of the dog fur and dust and wear and tear on a cloth (felt, actually) cover. Plus, it would add bulk.

An easier option? Paper wallet insert.

I’d Googled wallet hacks and other options for DIY ideas, but I didn’t find anything I liked. (This is the only one that came close, but I found it too messy…I wanted simplicity and clean lines. It might be perfect for what you want, however, so check it out!)

Ok. So, what did I want?

  1.  One simple, elegant (to me ;P), removable wallet (option to glue into book)
  2. A place for 4 credit/health/ID cards AND where that they wouldn’t be likely to fall out.
  3. A place for Euros and USD—a cash slot
  4. No glue (just for funsies…and because glue always lets you down, eventually…except for hard-core glue, which I won’t use because I’m all kinds of pregnant, and I don’t want the fumes.)

What did I have?

  1. Time 😉
  2. Patience to figure out how to do this
  3. Heavy, nice colored paper sheets – card stock, I think- measuring 24cm x 34 cm and with a weight of 270g/m2
  4. A ruler
  5. A pencil
  6. A soft white foam eraser (or some soft eraser that doesn’t damage the paper)
  7. Embroidery needles
  8. Embroidery thread
  9. Scissors

Section 1 will be the top layer of the wallet. It will fold over Section 2.

Sections 1 and 2 will sandwich your credit cards.

Section 3 will fold under Section 2 and become your cash slot… there will be a 1 cm tab overhanging for ease of sliding your cash into the slot.

The final wallet will be 18cm tall and 12cm wide. This is smaller than the inside of the back cover of the agenda, but just small enough to slide into the back pocket. It could also be glued onto the extra thick paper adjacent to the back cover. (You pick!)

THE PROCESS:

FIRST, lightly trace in pencil the outlines of the sections. Use a ruler and keep your lines clean and straight.

SECOND, cut off the excess paper (you only need 18cm, so you need to cut 6cm off the top to leave the part of the paper you’re going to use).

BEFORE WE BEGIN IN EARNEST:

The wallet can fold two different ways, depending on which side you want your money slot to open. You can fold Section 1 over on top of Section 2 and fold Section 3 under so that the money slot opens on the left hand side OR you can fold Section 1 and Section 3 so that the money slot opens on the right hand side. Decide on your preference before you begin, and then treat “Section 1” as the FRONT-FACING side according to your choice. If you don’t decide first, it’s ok…you are tracing in pencil and you’ll erase all your lines anyway 😉

Now, lets focus on Section 1.

1. See the two borders on the sides? These are 1cm wide. The middle strip is 9cm wide. Trace this lightly with your pencil.

 Rationale: The credit cards are about 8.5cm wide and about 5.5cm tall. I decided on a 9cm width for ‘breathing space’ for the cards so they could slide in and out with relative ease while hopefully still being secure enough not to fly out.

2. Now, draw (lightly, with pencil) a margin of .5cm along the bottom and along the top of Section 1.

Your Section 1 should look like this:

3. Starting from the margin line on the bottom of the page, and within the two side margin lines, go up 3.5cm. This will be your first ‘cut’ line. The ‘cut’ lines are the slots for the credit cards. Mark the ‘cut’ line with a dashed line (lightly, in pencil). This line will be 9cm long.

4. Starting from the margin line on the bottom of the page (again), and within the two side margin lines, go up 4 cm. This will be your first ‘secure’ line. The ‘secure lines are the bottoms of the pockets for the cards. Mark the ‘secure’ line with a solid line (lightly, in pencil). This line will be located .5 cm above the ‘cut’ line and will be 9cm long.

Markings for Card slot #1, done.

5. Repeat the process (‘cut’ and ‘secure’ lines), starting this time from the ‘secure’ line that you just drew. These are the markings for Card slot #2.

6. Do this again for Card slot #3.

7. For Card 4, make the ‘cut’ line 3.5cm up from the ‘secure’ line from Card 3 (as you did for the others), but use the top margin as the ‘secure’ line.

8. Go back to the bottom margin, and make this a ‘secure’ line.

You should have 5 ‘secure’ lines on the page and 4 ‘cut’ lines. The top and bottom ‘secure’ lines are your top and bottom margin lines (between the two side margin lines).

NEXT STEP 

1. Fold Section 1 over Section 2 (do this according to the direction you want your money slot to open). Be sure to make a clean fold. Use your ruler, or a bone folding tool thingy if you have it. The paper is thick, so take your time and avoid crackly, messy, wrinkled folds.

NB- if you have a cork board, it might come in handy while punching the holes into the card paper. If not, that’s fine too. I didn’t use one.

2. You are going to punch holes along the ‘secure’ lines and along the frame formed by the top and side margins, using your embroidery needle. Be careful not to bend the paper while you are punching the holes, as it will leave creases in the paper. Depending on your preference, you can punch the holes through Section 1 first, and then use these holes as guides to then punch matching holes in Section 2 (though NOT Section 3), or you can punch through Section 1 and 2 at the same time.

The point of these holes is to provide guide lines for your sewing. You will end up sewing all three sections together, however only Sections 1 and 2 will have holes for the ‘secure’ lines. Sections 1, 2, and 3 will have holes for the margin edges.

When you finish punching the holes, your wallet should look something like this:

The unfolded wallet with holes
Section 1 folded over Section 2, with holes
The folded wallet, with holes

Now, of course you could use a thumb tack, a T-pin, or better, a sewing machine to do this. I didn’t have any of these handy, so I didn’t.

I did use a larger embroidery needle to punch the holes and eventually a smaller embroidery needle to sew. The holes need to be big enough that your whole needle (including thread) can get through comfortably. However, if you attack this business with a sewing machine, I’m sure it’ll be a piece of cake. Maybe. I don’t know. I don’t have a sewing machine.

You’ll notice that I erased all of my guidelines after punching the holes.

You’ll also notice that the ‘cut’ lines have begun to be cut in these photos. I recommend (but clearly did not use) an exacto knife. (Take care not to cut through more than the top sheet of paper!)

NEXT

Go ahead and cut the ‘cut’ lines.

Now, you can start sewing.

For Stage One, you will AVOID the holes shared by Section 3. You will only sew through the holes of Section 1 and 2.

It’ll look something like this:

Sections 1 and 2 Sewn- front view of Stage One
Stage One backside...see the little knots?

Once Stage One is complete, move onto Stage Two….

Stage Two

Sew through all three sections along the border (the part you haven’t sewn yet.)

It should look something like this (plus or minus your own artistic variations):

Stage Two complete! You're finished 🙂
Stage Two backside view

And finally, here’s how my finished product looks:

Wallet, stocked
Finished, stocked wallet, hiding in pocket
Finished, stocked wallet on back page
Side view- Full wallet in the Moleskine
Top view- stuffed wallet in agenda

So, folks, there it is in too many words 😉 Simple, pretty slim line even while holding 4 credit cards and several bills, and infinitely tweakable. Glue it, sew it, embroider it pretty… do whatever. Just make it work for you.

-Gradissima

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