I know some of you don’t even know what an RFID is or why you would want to block it so I am going to have to do a little explaining about this project.
RFIDs are little chips that are used in lots of things. Big companies now use RFIDs to track merchandise while it’s being shipped and they can be awfully convenient if you have a credit card equipped with one.
Information is stored on the chip and it is read by an RFID reader. If you have a credit card with one you can quickly touch it to a gas pump or cash register that is equipped with a reader and you don’t have to swipe your card or sign anything. It’s quite a technology advancement. Many credit cards and state drivers licenses are gradually switching to cards containing RFIDs. All United States passports contain an RFID (we’ll make a passport cover for another project).
As I said it’s really awesome technology, but with most technology comes a downfall somewhere. The thing is, anybody with an RFID reader can read your RFID equipped cards as long as they are in a close enough proximity. Your RFID chip isn’t broadcasting out information, but if it’s within range of an RFID reader all the information contained on the chip can be gathered up. Unless you protect your cards and IDs your identity could be stolen by Joe Identity Stealer sitting outside of the grocery store with an RFID reader.
RFIDs can be blocked by metal or water. Obviously you aren’t going to carry around your credit cards in a bag of water; metal is the way to go. Aluminum foil is thick enough to block an RFID reader from reading your card.
As an IT person I learned about RFIDs and wanted to protect myself from possible identity theft, but upon looking on the internet for RFID blocking sleeves and wallets I found that they were all hideous. Being a person with artistic tastes, those products just weren’t going to do it for me. So I decided to learn how to make my own.
None of my credit cards currently have RFIDs so I use these purely for protection from prying eyes when I’m in line at the grocery store or the ATM.
- Decorative paper you like, thinner is better
- Plain white glue
- aluminum foil
- self-laminating paper, clear contact paper
The RFID sleeve is going to be of an envelope design. You will need a paper for the inside and a paper for the outside, I like to make mine color coordinating. A piece of aluminum foil is going to be between the two sheets of paper.
First of all pick out your paper then measure your aluminum foil.
I used my piece of paper(in this case origami paper) to measure out pieces of aluminum foil. I used a permanent marker to trace around the piece of paper. I then cut it out. After I cut it out I then cut about 1/8-1/4 of an inch off of two consecutive sides because I don’t want to aluminum to stick out anywhere. Next comes gluing.
To prepare your glue, pour some into a plastic container, not very much and then dilute it with a little water and by a little water I mean 1/2 TSP-1TSP. Then use a paintbrush to coat the back side of one of your pieces of paper. Then apply aluminum foil onto the glue covered side. Then put glue on top of the aluminum foil, make sure to get the edges where there is no aluminum foil. Then put the other piece of paper , good side up, on the aluminum foil. You will now have a paper, aluminum foil, paper sandwich, with the pretty sides facing outward.
Take a card and measure it against your paper. Put it in one of the corners as shown. Now you need to fold it. Fold the paper over the card horizontally and then fold the remaining paper down to create a flap.
This is what it will look like when you have it folded up. The card is in there, but you can’t see it! Now you have to cut off the excess on the side. I cut right up beside the card.
Now it’s time to laminate. There are two ways you could do this.
- A. Lift the flap, but leave the pocket closed, then laminate the front and the back. Then use an Exacto knife to cut a slit for the pocket to put your card in. I wasn’t so good at this so I did it a different way.
- B. Unfold the whole thing and laminate all of it both front and back then use pieces of laminating paper to secure the sides. This is how I did it.
I used small pieces measured against the pocket sides to close up the sides of the envelope.
This is how it works. You put the card inside then fold the flap over like an envelope. That way the card is completely shielded from RFIDs and when you have your debit card out in line at the ATM the person behind you can’t see your name and card number because it’s inside one of these!
I use a different paper for each card that I want to cover up. That way I can determine which is which without even having to open the flaps up. You can make this without using laminating paper, but it won’t hold up as well. The first sleeves I made for my cards I covered with scotch tape since I didn’t have any laminating paper, and they held up pretty well, but I wanted to replace the old ones with some new ones.
Remember that the thicker the paper you use, the less likely the sleeve is to fit in your wallet, so find a thin, pretty paper that you like. I would forgo scrapbook paper and card stock since they are so thick. The sleeves on the left are the first ones I made and the ones on the right are the new ones I made with laminating paper.