This project was inspired by Ryan McFarlan’s fantastic instructible on how to create a wallet from an old computer keyboard. He explained it best in his article:
In all likelihood there is a keyboard within a few feet of you. Inside that keyboard there probably is a circuit sheet that makes for a surprisingly durable and thin material for making a wallet.
Unfortunately, from a fashion standpoint, wallets are bulky and can give your pants and unattractive bulge in a far-from-flattering place. For men, particularly men who wear suits or dress pants, we want straight lines going from foot to waist. And when you start stuffing a bulky wallet, a phone, car keys, change and whatever else into your pocket it hurts your look. I personally like to carry my cash in a money clip and carry the least number of cards I can. For most people, the bare minimum you really need is your ID/Drivers License, a debit card, a credit card, and maybe a health/insurance card to get by with during your day-to-day or, if you enjoy the nightlife like I do, your evening adventures.
A card holder, then, made much for sense for me. It combines the cool aesthetics of the wallet, only thinner and smaller. It also requires far less material, so you can make one with only one circuit sheet.
What You’ll Need
Pretty much the exact same as when making the wallet.
- A desktop computer keyboard (for the circuit sheet and a metal piece as a straight edge) A screwdriver to open the keyboard
- A ruler or tape measure
- A cutting board or cutting mat
- A razor knife
- Sharp scissors
- A roll of clear packing tape
Step 1: Open the Keyboard
There will be a series of screws on the back of your keyboard which should be easy to remove with a small screwdriver. You should then be able to separate the top and bottom portions. There will sometimes be additional screws inside that need to be removed in order to free the circuit sheet.
You should only need one circuit sheet for your card holder, but there will sometimes be two circuit sheets separated by a clear piece of plastic. These are sometimes melted or glued together at several points. Be careful when separating these, as the plastic can sometimes rip.
Step 2: Plan Your Card Holder
Given that I only need to carry about four cards with me at any given time, we only need two slots on either side. So to make a four-card holder you will need:
- 1 8.5″x2.5″ piece
- 1 8.5″x2″ piece
- 2 4.125″x1.5″ pieces
Depending on how the screws were laid out in the keyboard, there may be a lot of holes or indents around the edges of the circuit sheet. Feel free to cut around and trim these areas.
Step 3: Taping It Together
I thought that McFarlan’s taping diagrams we’re very useful, so I made something similar:
Step 4: Trim Unsightly Edges
Trim any unsightly bits of tape anywhere on the edges. Any bits sticking out will get black very quickly and will make the card holder look dirty. They can also catch on things as you move the card holder in and out of your pocket and will eventually start to peel.
Step 5: Recycle Remaining Materials
Feel free to use the remaining materials to make others for your friends, family, or people who you are too cheap to buy real gifts for. Depending on the keyboard you can probably make two card holders per circuit sheet. And if you’ve got two sheets then you’ve got a whole bunch of gifts already taken care of this year!
McFarlan also has some great suggestions for recycling any leftover materials:
Keys – make magnets, clocks, or notes to loved ones (I Ctrl U!)
Plastic casing – If your area accepts #6 or 7 plastics for recycling do that.
Metal – Recycle as scrap or use as a surface for projects that use glue, solder, or other messy activities.