In this post I’ll follow up a post from over a year ago in which I discussed a wallet prototype that I designed and fabricated. To recap, I never had a wallet that I felt was well designed for me so I decided to design one of my own. I had a couple of key criteria including that it was super thin, protected my business cards, and allowed my to get my cash and license out of my pocket without having to take the entire wallet out. My first prototype was fabricated out of duct tape and worked quite well. It survived a surprisingly long time as well, till about a month ago.

Granted, it had some issues that prevented me from fabricating another one out of duct tape, but it was clearly good enough to keep me from making something better until it literally fell apart. It’s amazing how durable duct tape is! One downside of the material is the fact that it can get a little sticky at the edges where the adhesive is exposed. It also tends to stretch out over time which wasn’t ideal. Ok, so on to the next generation!

Before fabricating something usable, I decided to make some prototypes out of paper to determine the best possible fabrication pattern. Now that I was going to use a sheet material (rather than strips) the parts would be quite different. I can up with four potential fabrication plans which put the seams in different places … and one that was made from a tube of fabric. Some required glued, or bonded, seams others did not. Ultimately, I settled on a minimal design that requires only six straight-line sewn edges, or six heat-bonded seams depending on the fabrication material.

The final design uses lass material, requires three pieces of material and includes several other improvements. These include:

  1. better business card protection due to a slightly deeper pocket.
  2. reduced lint/dirt contamination due to openings at the bottom of the pockets.
  3. slimmer, due to less material used.
  4. better edge protection for bills due to outside seam placement.
  5. easier card access due to shortening of the inside pockets, fabric with less friction, and the removal of triangular cut outs.
  6. more durable, due to synthetic fabric.


Now that I’ve got a super solid design that I’m happy with, I’m looking forward to moving away from the white material (which was helpful far marking) and fabricating samples in higher fidelity with the use of a heat cutter and sewing machine. For those interested in seeing some of the process I went through to get to this design, I’m including images of some of the earlier prototypes below.

Earlier Prototypes









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