EDC: Building a better tape wallet

This is a story about wallets and ambition, and this is my wallet:100_3120

You can probably tell that it’s seen some service. It’s made from a bike map of Edmonton and packing tape. When the carefully flattened, creaseless base layer became frayed, more packing tape was added, for 5 years. It’s thin, light, durable, almost waterproof and cost me only the time and materials. But this year I became unsatisfied. I tried to make myself a more stylish replacement.100_3105 100_3104

So here’s my little paper proof of concept, and everything seems pretty good so far.100_3109 100_3106

I had it all planned out. The original design had been four separate pieces, “laminated” with tape, and then taped together. The new wallet would be a single folded sheet, and instead of packing tape, I’d be using adhesive laminate, which is way easier to work with, and comes in rolls about a foot and a half wide. I even remeasured everything and decided on a marginally smaller design that would still accommodate Canadian money, which seems to be much wider than other currencies (also, more colourful)

The first wallet was produced from the same map as my notebook from earlier, and everything seemed to fit okay. However, there was a problem. When the folds were loaded with my ID, credit card, debit card, student ID, library card, fake business cards for my airship captaining service, stamp cards for tacos, tea, sandwiches and taco sandwiches, my fake ID (in case I need to leave town in a hurry), membership cards for the bike co-op, the independent cinema, the recreational pyrotechnics league, and a 3″ by 1.5″ piece of cardboard that I drew an astronaut on, the wallet refused to stay folded.

It turns out that I was trucking a significant load in my old wallet, and the new one simply couldn’t take it. Undeterred, I carved another one, this time from a map of Hawaii, with an extra 1/4 inch in the spine. it was still insufficient.

The thing is, the pilot wallet took at least three hours to make, carved with X-acto knives carefully guided by rulers and protractors, or a fabric cutting mat. Even with the prototype finished, the mark 2 still took about an hour and a half. The laminate has to be applied painstakingly or you get bubbles and wrinkles.

It also was too small to fold in half properly.

So, here’s the design that will work, someday:100_3096

But you know what? I’m sticking with the original. It ain’t broke.100_3114

Sorry that the light balance in my featureless white void was a little off today.


About Jesse Conlang

Jesse Conlang lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he has trained squirrels to operate pens and pencils at his whim. You can probably tell that by the quality of the work.
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