Is this your wallet? Then maybe this DIY is just for you. I would have either the Costanza wallet or a jean pocket blowout I got tired of sitting at a 40 degree slant and my frog butt can only handle so much pressure. So I decided to make a cool wallet that serves as a notebook that I can keep in my front pocket. To save you boredom and whether or not you want to keep reading this, I am making a run of the mill “Madori” or Traveler’s notebook that is wallet sized and holds a couple of 3.5 by 5.5 inch notebooks and credit card pouch insert. I will also be including pictures of the progress of a large notebook that holds (3) 7 by 10 inch notebooks that I made at the same time as this wallet. 3, 2, 1 Blast off I used: · 1/8 inch of Marine Grade Dacron Polyester Bungee – Brown · Top grain vegetable tanned leather 5-6 oz. cut to 6 1/8” by 8 7/8” · Wood burning tool · Coffee (this is understood to be constantly drank throughout the entire process) · Chamberlain’s Leather Milk · Paper and pencil · Printer · Photoshop · Utility knife razor · Adjustable square · Headlamp --------------------------Quick Notes----------------------------- -- Before you begin make sure you keep your leather away from any windows or places where UV light will touch it until you are ready to begin forcing the patina. If you accidentally leave let’s say a piece of paper or some other object on it or if the leather is close to a light source where a shadow is perpetually on it you will see darkening on the uncovered area and a non-patina portion on the leather which will look really strange and uneven, unless of course that’s what you’re going for. -- Throughout this DIY I will mention mistakes I made and things I noticed on the first wallet I made that you see in the picture it is the darkest caramel colored one. This DIY outlines and shows the progression of the lighter colored one with the design etched in it. -- When cutting the leather treat it like glass. Score first, then cut. (more on this later) Step 1 – 3. Oh look it’s later. Remember to treat the leather like glass. It is flesh if your knife is sharp it will cut. Do not cut the leather with the idea of trying to cut all of the way through the first time. Your first cut is just creating the “track” that the blade will follow on your next passes. Personally, because I don’t get in a hurry I “score” or just lightly apply pressure 3 or 4 times and the leather will all but separate. I do this because the first wallet I made I got a little too ambitious and close to the end of my cut, the blade swerved and gave me extra leather that I had to shave off later and it was a lot harder removing than you might think. Get your leather and cut it to the dimensions listed above or whatever size fits your needs. When making your marks at each end of the leather I take a straight edge like my trusty adjustable square and lay it across the two ends and cut as just described. Now admire your cuts. Step 4. Turn on the wood burner. While it’s heating up, pull up a stump and I’ll tell you a story. On the first wallet I made I measured where I wanted holes and drilled them with the smallest bit I had and then used the larger bit to accommodate the elastic cord. The drill bit did ok but it left an ugly and rough hole. Now that we are to the hole making stage lets compare wallet 1.0 vs wallet 2.0 Ok so the wood burner should be hot by now let’s make a hole like the one on the right. This hole should be centered from length and height where the spine will be. Before we get to step 5, I want to show you the differences of the hole patterns and how it affected the fold of both wallets. I circled the hole pattern in red on both wallets. I made two separate bends creating a squarer spine this was a mistake because even though I have two main bands for holding notebooks they are inherently too far apart at the spine, but I needed to space them apart so I could run the elastic through the holes enough times to get the desired amount of elastic on the inside. Another thing you will notice is that on the 1.0 the knot I tied on the inside was too big and created a thick part where it smashed In between the notebooks which made it that much thicker. It wasn’t until version 2.0 that I had the idea to orient the same number of holes in a single straight line and thread it like you see in the pics with a single bend at the center of the spine. There is a much noticeable difference in the thickness, you really feel it when its in your pocket. Step 5. Measure, mark, and burn your remaining holes. Step 6. Pick a design and print out a size that you want it to be on the wallet. Step 7. Reverse the image in paint or photoshop or whatever else will let you make it backwards. In the step 7 picture notice the graphite reflecting in the flash of the camera and the area I had not yet colored with a pencil as it does not reflect. I wore a headlight to keep the light on the lead of the paper so I could see where I still needed to color. You want to press hard on this step to get as much lead/ graphite on the paper as possible for a crisp transfer. Step 8. I turned the image over and aligned it where I wanted and began coloring the backside of the image with a pencil everywhere the image was on the opposite side which transfers the image to the leather. Step 9. Make sure it looks aligned and the way you want it before you start burning the image in. Welcome to the point of no return. Step 10. This is probably the most nerve-racking step for me because I have put in a lot of work at this point and one slight mishap with the burner and I’ll have ruined my wallet. I used several pieces of scrap leather to get a feel for how the woodburning tool burns I suggest you do the same if you are unfamiliar. It is hottest and burns fastest at first and with prolonged contact with leather it cools the tip so there is always this up and down wave of hot and warm while using it. Here is a picture of the woodburning tool and tips I used. I used the razor blade attachment to lightly score and trace out the image and letters I did not use the blade to cut into the leather like the cuts to get the leather to size, this was more or less like a fillet or very light scratching of the surface of the image. I then went back with the fine tip you see in the burner above and used it to color /burn in the image. The first two on the same piece were practice pieces and the last one is the one on the actual wallet. Step 11. Forcing the patina. I do this last because it helps blend any slight imperfections or “Happy Accidents” that have occurred. This is easy to do just leave it in the sun. To make sure it is even be mindful that there are no constant shadows on the leather that lasts the entire day. Notice how the picture with the hammer there is a half shadow on the left side of the symbol? It is about 4:00 pm and the sun is getting lower I put this out around 8:00 am though and the left side was getting sun while the right side was shaded. So if there is a descent balance of UV light it will look uniform. You can also use this technique to create designs that will be lighter in color and stand out against the darker leather, but I have only seen others do this I have not done it myself. Don’t let it get too dry if it feels a little dry and rough just put some Chamberlain Leather milk on it and it will re-hydrate the leather. And yes it will still be able to develop a patina. Now you are pretty much done if you haven’t already you can thread the holes with the elastic cord. I’m not Captain Knots so I just play around with it until I get what I’m looking for. I avoided the knot on the inside by running both ends through the middle from inside to outside and will use a bead to tie off the closing strap when I find one I like; however right now I just have a knot tying it off. On the larger notebook I made a small strap and the tie off knot is on the other side hidden. I’ll post some update pictures when patina gets a lot darker. I hope someone found this useful.