How to Carry Less Stuff - Pocket Wallet and Key Holder Tutorial


Need a wallet that will force you to minimize what you carry?

The design for this wallet came out of frustration with how many different things I had to carry to go anywhere. As a human, I tend to fill the allotted space in my purse or wallet to max capacity. The idea here is that by minimizing the available space in a wallet, it forces you to prioritize what you need so that you only carry the bare essentials to leave your house: keys, ID, and currency. No keychains, no forgotten membership cards, no overstuffed coin pocket full of pennies. Cell phone is optional.

I made this key/card holder, honestly, as an afterthought for a fashion collection about 3 years ago, but it turned out to be the most useful thing I made that year. I’ve used it daily and it’s still as good as day one.

Reason #1 that I love working with leather: it ages so gracefully! 

After being used for 3 years

Materials Needed

Thick Leather

Getting leather for this project might take some creativity if you don't have cowhide laying around. (suppliers usually only sell full hides) 

The material used in this project was from an industrial leather scrap bin that I had access to through my school, but another cheap way to source leather is a thrift store. Leather purses and motorcycle jackets are a great way to get pieces for a small project. For this project, make sure the material is thick enough that you can't fully pinch it.

If you're really ambitious, buy a used leather couch and strip it to stock up for the future! It's still cheaper than buying a full hyde.

Waxed Lacing

You can really use anything here. Find a thick thread, double it up if you want, chip off a piece of a candle and rub the wax across the thread. Don't skip the waxing step it's so important for durability! 

If you work with leather often, I highly recommend this waxed lacing tape. It's a very strong, corded thread that doesn't fray like linen thread. 


I found the key holder hardware from a thrift store wallet, cut it from the glittery neon blue pleather, and selvaged it for this project. If you can't find a used one, you can buy it here.

Snap fasteners are a good thing to have on hand. The one I used is a standard heavy duty .5in size fastener. You can get a set here.


Print the pattern "actual size" on letter. Download below.

  1. Cut shapes 1 and 2 out of leather

  2. Attach key holder hardware to the unfinished side of piece 1

  3. Lay piece 1 *unfinished side down. Place piece 2 *unfinished side down so that the pieces are bottom and center aligned, clamp in place

  4. Using an awl or sharp object, pierce holes through both layers simultaneously at marked lacing holes

  5. Saddle Stitch together using waxed lacing (stitching tutorial here)

  6. Punch appropriate holes and attach snap fasteners to each side

*Leather has two sides. Finished side is smooth and often stained. Unfinished side is raw.

Pocket wallet pattern-02.jpg

Use it!

The cool thing about publishing a project 3 years after it was made, is that I'm past the idealistic this-is-how-I-want-it-to-work mindset. I can say what it actually does instead of what I want it to do. I can say that carrying this and my phone is often all I take when I leave the house, and that it does indeed wear well. better than anything I've purchased.

That's what I love about making everyday things. I have control over what components can be cheap and what needs to be quality, and can make those decisions to make something that will last rather than a have competitive market price.

Photo by Nick D Weiss |

Photo by Nick D Weiss |

Thanks for reading