Can't flatten jeans enough to etch

I was inspired by the glimpse of the etched jean jacket. I did the same etch/burn tests others have talked about. But there’s a problem: That was on a single layer of cut out denim. How do you fold a adult size pair of jeans to get a flat surface and stay within the clearance for the head assembly? Everything I’ve tried either gets hit by the moving arm or starts flapping in the breeze.

Laying out just one or both legs means the fabric is not flat (my little neodymium magnets won’t hold through 2 layers of denim let alone through 4 layers), and the rest of the fabric will interfere, and the leg with vibrate/flap in the exhaust wind. I tried inserting cardboard into the legs to get a flat surface. I’ve tried folding into various positions, but no luck. I’m about to tear my hair out!

If this is a “You have to have a Pro with pass through” issue, I’m going to be mighty pissed that I missed the cut-off date for a founders upgrade. -Crickett

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Pass through is only like 1/4", so I don’t think you would get the seams on two legs through that. Taking out the tray and elevating the jeans to the correct height might work. That should give you enough room to wad up/fold the rest out of the way.


Maybe try a cross stitch hoop. They come in bigger sizes that would hold thicker materials


you may try removing the crumb tray and folding the jeans over a board and then do the calc to set your depth.
Check out some other threads like


BwaHaHaHa! Removing the tray and using some sort of stand is an excellent idea! Now if I only had something that would cut out all pieces for stand…Oh Wait!

But in the meantime, I found a usable solution…ELASTIC!



That’s the ticket. You usually need a couple of pieces of 1/8 or 1/4 underneath it all to get the denim up into range but works like a charm. :slight_smile:


Glad you found a work around! Will you share your final project? Looks intriguing!

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I was able to get a fairly decent run, but I’m now building a legged acrylic shelf to use instead of the crumb tray. Right now, the laser head still bumps into the pile of extra material, causing the fabric to shift in the middle of the pattern. And the exhaust wind still billows the fabric at the edges, causing the laser to defocus on parts of the pattern. On the good side, I washed and dried the sacrificial jeans, and they came out just as good as they went in.

I’ll share a pic when I get a pair done without the problems. Promise! Because I sat looking at the pair out of the drier, with a big shit-eating grin on my face!


If you’re going to that trouble, I’d get a sheet of 20ga steel from Home Depot to put on top of your new shelf. Then you’ll be able to put magnets on the fabric to stop the air from moving/billowing the fabric.


What settings are you guys using for denim? I wish Glowforge had presets that were for denim, fabric etc, but I can see that everyone uses different types of denim. Screenshots are a big plus. Thanks.

If you search “denim” you will find some settings others have used. Testing on your own material is probably your best bet.

This is a very general starting point, but there’s a lot of variables in fabric so it makes it tough to know what will work well for you.

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Thank you for this starting point.

I had been searching but couldn’t find much for the time frame I had. Thanks for the response.