pieces of leather on work table

Most men own a leather wallet, but men’s leather wallets don’t just appear out of thin air. The leather wallet is a timeless accessory that has been around for centuries. The process of making a leather wallet is actually quite simple and only requires a few materials. 

If you share today’s DIY ethos and have considered making your own leather wallet, it’s wise to do a bit of research to fully understand just what it takes to make leather wallets for men. Although the process is simple in principle, it might take a bit of practice making fold lines and punching holes in leather scraps before you feel confident enough to take on making your own leather wallet. 

How to Make Your Own Leather Wallet

leather wallet with wooden containers

The first step in making a leather wallet is sourcing high-quality materials. The leather thickness significantly affects how long your leather wallet will last. All wallets look great when sitting on the rack, but the test of a superior wallet is how it looks months and years later. Thin leathers simply won’t stand the test of time.

Seek Out Vegetable Tanned Leather

finished edge of several leather samples

About 10% of all leather products are vegetable tanned leather. Proper tanning is essential since it is the process of creating leather out of hide. Vegetable tanning produces rich colours and is known for its superior presentation and lifespan.

Interestingly enough, the Romans took the lead in vegetable tanning, allowing Tuscan to become the heartland of leather sandals, a role that has lasted into modern times. 

Prepare the Materials to Make a Leather Wallet

Now that you know what type of leather to purchase, it is time to lay out your work area. You will need two needles, a stitching pony, a stitching chisel to create the stitching holes, a leather groove to punch holes, some sandpaper, an x-acto knife, and some strong wax thread. You will also need oil or glycerine soap to soften and burnish the finished edges once you are done.

How to Make Leather Wallet Patterns

The internet should make it simple enough to find a paper pattern you can use to create your wallet. You will need to determine how many wallet pockets you desire ahead of time and the overall size of the leather wallet.

Remember that leather working is not a simple process; you will most likely be hand stitching the entire creation. Therefore, a simple bifold is probably the best starting point.

While you can eyeball it, a template gives you a smooth curve and makes it easier to keep consistent lines. If possible, a rotary blade will create smoother curves, but a sharp knife will work if you don’t have access to professional tools. Keep in mind you need to cut out the wallet pockets as well and should ensure that all pockets match the initial curve of the wallet.

Condition the Leather

Leather working can be difficult; if this is your first project, bending the leather can prove challenging. Conditioning the leather is a great way to fight the natural stiffness of the leather. Neatsfoot oil is a great way to help soften the leather.

Your edges need to be perfect, and both the left side and right side should have equal amounts of leather. After your cuts are made, you will also need to burnish the sides. This can be done with glycerin soap and sandpaper. This is a time-consuming process and the key to the physical appearance of your wallet.

Time for Stitching Holes

At this point, it is time to start stitching holes. A stitching chisel is excellent if you want to create uniform holes down the wallet side. Then you need to take a waxed thread and saddle stitch the wallet closed. Saddle stitching is an effective way to strengthen the closures and compliment the visual appearance of the wallet.

Trust the Leather Specialists at MANCINI

At this point, the only thing left to do in the process is to condition the leather, but as you can see, getting to the finished product is a lengthy process. Although making your own wallet can be a satisfying and rewarding DIY project, there is an easier way to get a gorgeous leather wallet that suits your personal style: Browse the selection of men’s leather wallets offered by MANCINI! 

Established as a premium leather goods manufacturer since the 1980s, MANCINI leather wallets for men fuse style and function in a myriad of designs and colours.