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How To Make Leather Wallet


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Berri Deans



Welcome to the world of DIY leathercraft! Creating your own leather wallet can be a rewarding and fulfilling project that allows you to personalize your accessories. Not only will you end up with a unique piece that showcases your style, but you’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing that you crafted it with your own hands.


Before we dive into the process, let’s go over some basics. Making a leather wallet requires a few essential materials and tools to ensure a successful end result. You’ll need high-quality leather, a sharp cutting tool, a stitching awl or needle, waxed thread, a ruler, and some patience.


The first step in creating your leather wallet is selecting the right type of leather. There are various types of leather available, such as full-grain, top-grain, and vegetable-tanned leather. Full-grain leather is the most durable and highest quality option, while top-grain leather offers a balance between durability and affordability. Vegetable-tanned leather is a great choice if you want to personalize your wallet through the process of tooling.


Once you have your leather, it’s important to prepare it properly before cutting and stitching. Start by cleaning the leather to remove any dirt or debris. You can use a damp cloth or leather cleaner to gently wipe the surface. Next, apply a leather conditioner to keep the leather supple and prevent it from drying out during the crafting process.


After preparing the leather, it’s time to cut the necessary pieces for your wallet. Use a sharp cutting tool, such as a utility knife or leather shears, to carefully cut out the main body, card slots, and any other components you want to include. Measure and mark the dimensions to ensure accuracy, and double-check your measurements before cutting.


With the leather pieces cut, it’s time to start assembling the wallet components. This involves folding and creasing the main body, attaching the card slots, and creating any additional compartments or pockets. Pay close attention to the alignment and ensure that all edges are straight and even.


Once the wallet components are in place, it’s time to stitch everything together. Thread a needle or use a stitching awl to join the leather pieces. The type of stitch you choose will depend on your preferred style and the durability you’re aiming for. The most common stitches used in leatherwork are saddle stitch and backstitch, both offering strength and longevity.


Finally, add the finishing touches to your handmade leather wallet. This can include burnishing the edges for a polished look, applying a leather finish or dye to enhance the color, and adding hardware such as snaps or a money clip. These final touches will give your wallet a professional and refined appearance.


Now that you have a basic understanding of the process, it’s time to dive in and start creating your own leather wallet. Get ready to unleash your creativity, put your crafting skills to the test, and enjoy the rewarding experience of making a unique accessory that will stand the test of time.


Gathering Materials

Before you embark on your leather wallet-making journey, it’s important to gather all the necessary materials. Having everything at hand will ensure a smooth and uninterrupted crafting process. Here’s a list of essential materials you’ll need:

  1. Leather: Choose a high-quality leather that suits your needs and preferences. Full-grain leather is recommended for its durability and natural character. Top-grain leather is a more affordable option that still offers good quality. Vegetable-tanned leather is ideal if you want to personalize your wallet through tooling.
  2. Cutting tool: A sharp cutting tool is essential for precise and clean cuts. You can use a utility knife, leather shears, or a rotary cutter, depending on your preference and comfort.
  3. Stitching awl or needle: To stitch the leather pieces together, you’ll need a stitching awl or a needle. A stitching awl makes it easier to create consistent and straight holes for stitching.
  4. Waxed thread: Waxed thread is strong and durable, making it ideal for leatherwork. It comes in various colors, so choose one that complements your leather or adds a contrasting accent.
  5. Ruler: A ruler is crucial for measuring and marking the dimensions of your wallet components. Choose a sturdy metal or plastic ruler with clear markings.

While these are the essential materials, you may also consider acquiring some optional tools to enhance your crafting experience. These may include:

  • Leather conditioner: A good leather conditioner helps keep the leather supple and prevents it from drying out during the crafting process.
  • Leather edge beveler: An edge beveler is a specialized tool used to round and smooth the edges of the leather, giving your wallet a finished look.
  • Burnishing agent: If you want to achieve a polished and professional look, a burnishing agent can be used to smooth and seal the edges of the leather.
  • Dye or leather finish: If you wish to add color or protection to your leather wallet, consider using leather dye or a leather finish of your choice.
  • Hardware: To add functionality and style to your wallet, you may want to include hardware such as snaps, buttons, or a money clip. These can be found at craft supply stores or ordered online.

Once you have gathered all the necessary materials, you’ll be well-prepared to start creating your leather wallet. Having everything readily available will help you maintain focus and efficiency during the crafting process. So, get your materials organized and embark on your leatherworking adventure.


Preparing the Leather

Before you can start cutting and stitching the leather for your wallet, it’s essential to properly prepare the leather. This involves cleaning and conditioning the leather to ensure its longevity and optimal performance. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to prepare the leather for your wallet:

  1. Clean the leather: Begin by removing any dirt, dust, or debris from the surface of the leather. You can use a soft cloth or sponge dampened with a mild leather cleaner to gently wipe the leather. Be sure to clean both sides of the leather to remove any dirt that may have accumulated.
  2. Condition the leather: Once the leather is clean and dry, apply a leather conditioner to keep it moisturized and supple. Leather conditioners help prevent the leather from drying out and cracking over time. Apply the conditioner evenly on both sides of the leather, using a soft cloth or sponge. Allow the conditioner to penetrate the leather for the recommended duration, as specified by the product instructions.
  3. Buff the leather: After conditioning, lightly buff the leather with a clean, dry cloth to remove any excess conditioner and restore the leather’s natural luster. This step helps to evenly distribute the conditioner and bring out the leather’s inherent beauty.

By cleaning and conditioning the leather, you remove any impurities, prevent it from drying out, and maintain its pliability. This preparation process not only ensures a better end result but also helps the leather age gracefully over time.


It’s worth noting that different leathers may require specific cleaning and conditioning methods. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and test any cleaning or conditioning products on a small, inconspicuous area of the leather before applying them to the entire surface.


Additionally, if you’re working with vegetable-tanned leather and plan to do tooling or carving on the leather, you may want to wet the leather before starting your design. Wetting the leather softens it and makes it more pliable, allowing for deeper and cleaner impressions during the tooling process. However, be sure to follow specific wetting instructions for vegetable-tanned leather to avoid over-soaking or damaging the leather.


Once your leather is clean, conditioned, and ready to go, you can move on to the next step of cutting out the leather pieces for your wallet. Remember to handle the prepared leather with clean hands and on a clean surface to maintain its pristine condition.


Cutting the Leather Pieces

Now that you have prepared the leather, it’s time to cut out the necessary pieces for your wallet. This step requires precision and accuracy to ensure that all components fit together perfectly. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to cut the leather pieces:

  1. Measure and mark: Begin by measuring and marking the dimensions of each piece you need for your wallet. Use a ruler to measure the length, width, and any specific angles or curves required. Mark the measurements using a pencil or a scratch awl, making sure the marks are visible but not too deep as they may affect the appearance of the finished wallet.
  2. Cut straight lines: For straight lines, use a sharp cutting tool such as a utility knife or leather shears. Place the ruler along the marked line, ensuring it is securely in place. Hold the ruler firmly with one hand and use the cutting tool to make a smooth and even cut along the line. Take your time and cut in a continuous motion to avoid jagged edges.
  3. Cut curved lines: When cutting curved lines, it may be easier to use a rotary cutter or a pair of small, curved leather scissors. Take your time and cut along the marked line, making small, precise cuts to maintain the desired shape.
  4. Double-check measurements: After cutting each piece, double-check the measurements to ensure accuracy. Place the cut pieces side by side and compare them to your original measurements. If any adjustments are needed, now is the time to make them.

It’s important to note that different wallets have different components, such as the main body, card slots, and any additional compartments or pockets. Make sure to measure and cut each piece separately, taking into account the required seam allowance and any specific design features.


While cutting the leather pieces, it’s crucial to maintain focus and steady hands. Take your time, work in a well-lit area, and use proper cutting techniques to achieve clean and precise cuts. Remember to always cut on a safe surface that won’t be damaged by the cutting tool, such as a self-healing cutting mat or a smooth wooden board.


Once you have successfully cut out all the necessary leather pieces, you’re ready to move on to the next step: creating the wallet components. With careful attention to detail and precise cutting, you’re well on your way to crafting a beautifully crafted leather wallet.


Creating the Wallet Components

Now that you have cut out the leather pieces for your wallet, it’s time to assemble and create the different components. This step involves folding, creasing, and attaching the various parts to form the structure of the wallet. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create the wallet components:

  1. Fold the main body: Take the main body piece of the wallet and fold it in half along the centerline. Use a bone folder or the back of a spoon to create a crisp and defined fold. This fold will form the outer shell of your wallet.
  2. Add card slots: If your wallet design includes card slots, measure and mark the placement of each slot on one side of the folded main body. Use a stitching awl or a small punch tool to create evenly spaced holes along the marked lines. Then, fold the slots inward and secure them in place using stitching or adhesive.
  3. Create compartments or pockets: Depending on your design, you may want to incorporate additional compartments or pockets into your wallet. Measure and mark the desired dimensions, and use a stitching awl or punch tool to create holes for stitching. Fold and secure the compartments or pockets using stitching or adhesive, ensuring they align properly.
  4. Check alignment and symmetry: Throughout the process of creating the wallet components, regularly check the alignment and symmetry of the pieces. Ensure that the folds are even and straight, and that the slots, compartments, and pockets are well-placed and aligned with each other.

It’s important to take your time during this step to ensure precise and accurate assembly. Use a ruler or measuring tape to double-check the dimensions, and make any necessary adjustments before proceeding. Paying attention to the details at this stage will result in a well-constructed and visually appealing wallet.


Additionally, consider adding any personal touches or embellishments to your wallet components. This could include decorative stitching, embossing, tooling, or any other creative elements that reflect your individual style. These customizations will make your wallet truly unique and showcase your craftsmanship.


As you create the different wallet components, keep in mind the overall structure and functionality of the wallet. Consider how the pieces will fit together and how the wallet will open and close. Visualize the final product and make any adjustments or modifications as needed.


By the end of this step, you should have a well-formed and organized set of wallet components. The careful attention to detail and precise construction will set the stage for the next step: stitching the wallet together.


Stitching the Wallet

Now that you have created the wallet components, it’s time to stitch them together to form a sturdy and functional wallet. Stitching not only provides structural integrity but also adds a stylish and handmade touch to your creation. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to stitch your leather wallet:

  1. Thread the needle: Start by threading a needle with a length of waxed thread. Double up the thread to make it more durable or use a single strand depending on your preference.
  2. Choose a stitching technique: There are various stitching techniques you can use, but the most common and durable ones for leatherwork are saddle stitch and backstitch. Saddle stitch involves creating two parallel rows of stitches that interlock, while backstitch creates a single row of stitches. Choose the technique that best suits your design and desired aesthetics.
  3. Create the first stitch: Begin stitching by inserting the needle from the inside of the wallet, pulling it through one of the pre-punched holes. Leave a tail of thread inside the wallet to secure it later.
  4. Continue stitching: Move the needle to the next hole, either on the same side or the opposite side, depending on the stitching technique you chose. Pull the thread tight but not too tight, allowing the leather to lie flat.
  5. Repeat the stitching: Continue stitching in a consistent pattern, weaving the needle in and out of the pre-punched holes. Make sure each stitch is even and secure before moving on to the next one.
  6. Secure the thread: When you reach the end of your stitching line, create a secure knot by double-backing the needle through the last few stitches. Trim any excess thread, ensuring it is neatly tucked into the stitching.
  7. Repeat for other stitching lines: If your wallet has multiple stitching lines, repeat the stitching process for each line, ensuring a consistent and professional finish throughout.

As you stitch, maintain a steady and even tension to ensure the stitches are tight and secure, without distorting the leather. Take your time, as stitching is a meticulous task that requires patience and attention to detail.


Remember to use the appropriate needle and thread size for your leather thickness. A larger needle and thicker thread are suitable for thicker leathers, while a smaller needle and finer thread work well for thinner leathers. This will ensure the stitches are proportionate and strong enough to withstand daily use.


Once you have completed the stitching process, your leather wallet will start to take shape. The carefully stitched lines not only provide durability but also add a distinct handmade aesthetic that sets your creation apart.


Next, it’s time to add the finishing touches to your leather wallet to truly make it shine.


Adding Finishing Touches

Now that you have stitched your leather wallet together, it’s time to add the final finishing touches. These details will elevate the overall appearance and functionality of your wallet, giving it a polished and professional look. Here are some key finishing touches to consider:

  1. Burnishing the edges: To create smooth and refined edges, consider using an edge beveler to round the edges of the leather. After beveling, use a burnishing agent and a slicker tool to rub the edges vigorously, creating friction and heat that seals the fibers and gives a polished finish.
  2. Applying a leather finish or dye: If you desire a specific color or added protection, consider applying a leather finish or dye to your wallet. Leather finishes come in a variety of options, such as matte, glossy, or semi-transparent, allowing you to customize the final appearance of your wallet. Apply the finish evenly and let it dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Adding hardware: Depending on your wallet design, you may want to incorporate hardware to enhance functionality and style. This could include adding snaps, buttons, or a money clip. Ensure that the hardware is securely attached and aligns with the overall design of your wallet.
  4. Personalizing with monograms or designs: If you want to add a personal touch to your wallet, consider stamping or embossing it with your initials or a design. This can be done using specialized leather tools and stamps that create an impression on the leather surface.
  5. Cleaning and conditioning: Once all the finishing touches are complete, wipe down the entire wallet with a clean, damp cloth to remove any excess dye or finish. Then, apply a leather conditioner to keep the leather moisturized and supple. Conditioning periodically will help maintain the longevity of your wallet.

As you add the finishing touches, pay attention to the details and ensure that they align with your vision for the wallet. Consider the overall aesthetics, functionality, and durability as you make these final enhancements. Remember, the small details can make a significant difference in the final look and feel of your leather wallet.


With the finishing touches complete, step back and admire your handcrafted creation. Your personalized and carefully crafted leather wallet is now ready to be used and cherished for years to come.



Congratulations! You have successfully crafted your own leather wallet. Through careful preparation, precise cutting, skillful stitching, and thoughtful finishing touches, you have created a unique accessory that reflects your style and craftsmanship.


The process of making a leather wallet requires patience, attention to detail, and a passion for creating something with your own hands. By choosing high-quality leather, gathering the necessary materials, and following the step-by-step instructions, you have transformed simple materials into a functional and aesthetically pleasing wallet.


Not only does your handmade leather wallet showcase your creativity and personal flair, but it also possesses the durability and timeless appeal of quality leather. Each stitch, fold, and finishing touch has contributed to the overall integrity and beauty of your creation.


As you begin to use your handmade wallet, take pride in the fact that you have made not just an accessory, but a piece of functional art that will accompany you on your daily adventures. The wallet’s unique character and your craftsmanship will only grow more apparent as it ages and develops a rich patina over time.


Remember, the skills and techniques you have learned through this process can be applied to future leathercraft projects, allowing you to expand your repertoire and create more personalized accessories.


So, go forth and confidently carry your handmade leather wallet, knowing that it is a testament to your creativity, dedication, and craftsmanship. With your newfound knowledge and skills, you are now equipped to take on more leatherworking projects and continue to explore the world of DIY leathercraft.


Enjoy the fruits of your labor and embrace the satisfaction that comes from creating something truly unique and functional. Your handmade leather wallet is not just an accessory—it’s a testament to your ingenuity and the joy of crafting with your own two hands.