How to Make Your Own Japanese Paper Wallet

Paper Wallet and Business Card Holder

Paper Wallet and Business Card Holder

Japanese paper is surprisingly strong!  It is a fantastic paper to use when making your own paper wallet or business card holder.  Here is how to do it.

Supplies you will need

Supplies you will need

Some supplies you will need are:  decorative paper, solid colour paper, utility knife, ruler, paste, bone folder (not pictured) and konnyaku starch, mixing jar and brush (optional).

I chose to konnyaku the paper for my wallets before hand.  Konnyaku is a starch processed from the tuberous root of the devil’s tongue plant and is used in many food products in Japan. It has also been used for centuries to coat papers for use in making kamiko (paper clothing).  Paper treated with konnyaku becomes much stronger, water resistant and more flexible.  This step is optional but will help your wallet last longer.  Directions for mixing and application can be found with the konnyaku starch label.

Paper pieces cut to size

Paper pieces cut to size

Start by cutting all your pieces to size with a utility knife and ruler.  You should have decorative paper for the outside roughly 25.5cm x 12.5cm, as well as two pieces of decorative paper 12cm x 4 cm.  The two pieces of solid paper you will need should measure 27cm x 9.5cm and 8cm x 9.5 cm.

Scored pieces ready to assemble

Scored pieces ready to assemble

Next use your bone folder to pre-score the folding points.  On the outside decorative paper score a border all around the edge of the paper that measues 1cm wide.  To help reduce bulk at the corners when folded, cut off the corner points of the paper at a 45 degree angle.  Next, starting from inside your scored border, measure and score a line at 4.5cm and 19cm.  On the solid interior paper score a line at 11cm , 17.5cm and 23.5cm.  The smaller inside piece just gets folded in half on the 8cm side.

Gluing down the first interior section

Gluing down the first interior section

Now it is time to start gluing and assembling.  First start by folding the two small decorative pieces in half on the 12cm side and glue down.  You are left with two double sided pieces measuring 6cm x 4cm.  At this point you can also glue down the two end border flaps on your decorative paper.

The first pocket is made by lining up the first score line on the exterior paper and the fold of the 8cm x 9.5cm interior paper.  Keep the paper folded and bring the top and bottom flaps over and glue down.  The top and bottom flaps can be glued down 3/4 of the way across the length of the wallet.  But be sure to leave the last quarter of the flap free at this point.

Folding the outer flaps over the interior

Folding the outer flaps over the interior

Fold the section over and paste down… sandwiching the tabs in.  This is the first pocket completed!

First pocket completed

First pocket completed


Positioning and gluing in the accordion pocket sides

Positioning and gluing in the accordion pocket sides

The next step is to build the interior accordion pocket.  Fold the two small decorative pieces into quarters, making a zig-zag shape.  Position the pieces straddling the folds of the interior paper and glue into place.

Sandwiching the flaps between the folds of the interior paper

Sandwiching the flaps between the folds of the interior paper

Next you can glue down the front flap, trapping the folded edge of the decorative paper inside.  The accordion pocket insert is now complete!

Accordion pocket complete

Accordion pocket complete


Lining up the score lines and gluing under the outer flaps

Lining up the score lines and gluing under the outer flaps

To finish assembling the paper wallet, line up the fold of the small flap with the pre-scored line on the outer paper.  Just like we did on the first pocket, line up folded, bring the top and bottom border flaps over and glue everything down.

Fold over to glue down

Fold over to glue down

Fold over and glue down, sandwiching all the tabs of the decorative paper between the solid paper.

The last step is to fold over once more, tucking the small overlap inside the first pocket.  Make sure everything is pasted together well.  It is a good idea to place your wallet under some heavy books or other weights to keep in from warping while all the glue dries.

Tucking the end into the first pocket and gluing down

Tucking the end into the first pocket and gluing down

Your paper wallet is complete!  Enjoy!

For the wallet I made in the photos I used Katazome-Shi decorative paper and Moriki Kozo solid colour paper, they can both be found in The Paper Place online shop.

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2 Responses to “How to Make Your Own Japanese Paper Wallet”

  1. heather says:

    Hi Christine,

    Sorry, I just saw this now. In the future, emailing us would be a faster way to get a hold of us as it is checked much more frequently than the blog. It is fine with us if you are linking to the tutorial if you would like to use one of the photos in your posting. Let us know if you need anything else.

    Thanks!

  2. Christine says:

    Hi there,

    My name is Christine and I’m the managing editor of http://www.landlines.ca – the blog of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. We’re publishing a blog post about upcycling gifts for the holidays, and we are including a link to your paper wallet tutorial.

    I was wondering whether you’d also let us use a photo of the finished product to go along with your tutorial? Full credit would go to you, of course.

    I realize this is extremely short notice, but we are hoping to get this up tomorrow (our holiday calendar is starting to get a little crammed solid, which is not a bad problem to have!). Is there any way you could let me know either way as soon as possible?

    Thanks so much in advance,

    Christine

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