When I was a high school student, I used to find it both ironic and a little bit silly that some of my schoolmates would spend close to a hundred dollars on a wallet, but when you took a peek inside said cash keepers, they would have at most 10 dollars in them. I mean, I could have 50 dollars in my pocket and that would make me richer than them even though they had a snazzy wallet that was the latest trend in town. I never believed in buying things for the sake of trends or status.
If you’re a student who only has 10 dollars to your name, here’s what you should do instead of splurging on a branded or “in-trend” wallet. Buy yourself a drink at Starbucks, to go, get your hands on one of their paper bags, and use that paper bag to make your very own, surprisingly awesome wallet. Instructions after the break!
Taiwanese digital advertising designer Mr. Zhou noticed that his wallet was falling apart, and it struck him that he could make a simple replacement with a Starbucks paper bag he had on hand. Not only did his new wallet not cost him a cent, it was eco-friendly and fully functional–it even has slots for credit cards. Here’s how you can make your own paper bag wallet!
Things you’ll need:
– A craft knife
– Double-sided tape
– A paper bag (it doesn’t have to be a Starbucks one, but as a general rule it should be wide enough to contain the largest note you have, and tall enough to fit the note after folding the bag into three equal parts)
Step 1: Carefully remove the handles of the paper bag.
Step 2: Flatten the bag, then cut the it into five pieces according to the creases that shape it.
Step 3: Taking one of the bigger pieces, use the biggest note you have as a guide to determine the height of the wallet. With the printed side facing down, fold the piece from the bottom up, enough to cover the note.
Step 4: Using the fold created in Step 3, fold the piece upwards again to get three equal parts. The side that appears at the top will be the outer face of the wallet.
Step 5: Flip open the flap created in Step 4. Fold in the sides slightly to fit the width of the note, but not too snugly as that will make it difficult to put in or take out your money.
Step 6: Using the craft knife or a pair of scissors, make a cut on the folded borders along the crease of the open fold.
Step 7: Open the whole piece and fold the borders in.
Step 8: Fold the top flap again with the borders folded in.
Step 9: Fold the bottom portion over, leaving the borders sticking out.
Step 10: Place double-sided tape on the borders that are sticking out.
Step 11: Remove the protective layer of the double-sided tape and carefully insert the border flaps into the sides of the wallet. Apply some pressure to ensure that the sides are well sealed.
Fold the wallet in half lengthwise, and tadaa ~ the note compartment is complete!
Want card slots? OK, let’s get craft ninja on this thing!
Step 12: Take one of the side pieces of the bag, apply double-sided tape along the bottom of the piece and fold it in, sticking it down. This will make the slot more resistant to fraying.
Step 13: Using one of your cards as a sizing guide, fold the bottom up and over the card, but do not fully cover the card as that will make it difficult to take it out of the slot.
Step 14: Fold the sides of the piece backwards to fit the width of the card.
Step 15: Fold the top of the piece backwards to fit the height of the wallet. Fold the excess up and over the bottom of the card holder.
Step 16: Insert the excess portion into the folds from the bottom of the holder.
The first slot is complete!
Step 17: Taking another piece of the bag, create the second card holder by repeating Steps 12 and 13.
Step 18: Fold the sides of the piece inwards. Create a cut on the side along the crease, similar to in Step 6.
Step 19: Finish the second card holder using the same method as in Steps 8 to 11.
Step 20: Slot the finished holder in behind the card in the first card slot.
Step 21: Repeat steps 17 to 19 to create the third card holder.
Step 22: Slot the finished holder in behind the card in the second card slot. Secure the parts in place with double-sided tape.
Repeat Steps 17 to 23 if you wish to have another set of card holders on the other side of your wallet.
And there you have a fully functional paper bag wallet! It even comes with hidden slots behind the card holders.
If you wish to further upgrade your paper wallet, you can even make it water-resistant simply by applying a layer of laminating film on the pieces before starting to fold and form the wallet.
▼ Here’s a different method of making a paper bag wallet.
And here’s how you can make a water-resistant long wallet out of a paper bag (in Chinese).
With a little time and effort, you can have a brand new one-of-a-kind wallet without burning a hole in your pocket! In fact, you could even make multiple wallets with different paper bags to match your outfit of the day. Who’s giving this a go? Leave us a comment below!