Engraved Moleskine Cahiers

I haven’t done a burn test on a hardback Moleskine yet (yet!), but the cardstock-covered Cahier notebooks engrave beautifully. There’s a sliding scale of success from dark (win) to kraft (fail) – best outcomes are from colors where there’s a good contrast between the surface layer of paper and the kraft core. Myrtle green, coffee brown, and grey pictured here. Black also looks great.


Those look great. Just ordered some black ones to test.


The black ones are my favorite. I didn’t think I’d like the brown but it turns out to have a very cool, leather-like look.


They look great and thanks for the new material to laser, have them on the way now. Think they will make customized Birthday gifts.


On Moleskine, prior to some year (I think it was 2010, but that is probably wrong) they used PVC for many of their products. The company isn’t very definitive about their materials even still so there is some risk that some may contain PVC. If somebody can find a definitive statement from them that they no longer use PVC, I’d really appreciate the link as I’m sure others would as well.


Looks amazing, what did you do to make the engraving standout. I am new to this so Sorry if it is such a simple question.

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I know, the Moleskine issue is ongoing and hard to pin down. This thread has a good discussion and an actual answer from Moleskine CS:

Multiple google searches give me a consistent answer of Moleskine removing PVC from all products in 2012. That said, I am not going to put one of their hardback polypropylene books (or the soft polyurethane ones) in my machine until I’ve picked up some copper wire and done a flame test. The ones I’ve engraved here have cardboard covers (the Cahier line).


The reason the engraving stands out is because the top layer of the paper is a different color than the inside layers. Not all cardstock will give you this look (kraft-colored cardstock usually doesn’t work because it’s the same color all the way through) but it’s fun to experiment!


this is correct. but you can also buy “duplexed” cardstock. one of my favorite brands for that is Neenah. it can be hard to get their paper in smaller quantities, but there’s a called Glodan (glodan.com ) that will sell smaller quantities. I think they buy up extra stock from printers who have leftovers from larger print runs and then cut it down to sell to end users.

for example, the Classic Columns is very nice.

i haven’t tried to etch through them yet, so i don’t have any settings. but i have a big stack of older samples back from when Neenah was very generious with samples.


Thanks for the link! Some cool stuff there. I’ve been eyeing the French paper site and idly thinking about doing some diy duplexing with Pop-Tone for engraving experiments, though of course that means figuring out a laser-safe glue…

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yeah, the world of specialty paper can be fun. and if they mill it duplexed, it’s less likely to have the potential to delaminate than if you glue it yourself.

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Bookbinder glue is safe – PVA (polyvinyl acetate) used with a brayer can do nice things. It’s the C in PVC that’s dangerous, not the vinyl part.


Kelly Paper sells several colors of the duplexed Neenah paper. If you can get to a store (they’re all over) you can get as little as one sheet. They usually give you up to 5 sheets of any one paper as samples. :smiley:

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Thanks, I was hoping that was the case with PVA!

Just noticed some black and brown Cahirs at Dollar Tree this morning, wonder if they’d be any good for this?

Would you please explain what the flame test would be and how you determine something is PVC by it? (If I understand you correctly. My GF is suppose to ship this week and I’m excited to start playing with it.

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You’ll want to read this first:

Caution About Using the Burn Test

Then watch this video:

Chlorine Burn Test


Oh and the Cahir notebooks look great! I might try a few of those, they look as nice as moleskine, IMO. :slightly_smiling_face:

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The caution is a good note – no plans to use the burn test as my only gatekeeper in general but in this specific case I was just wanting to confirm the Moleskine CS statement that my notebook was chlorine-free (it was).

And, thanks! I am really happy with the Cahiers. I’ve been doing some test engraving on one of my hardback watercolor sketchbooks and so far I am not impressed with the results. I need to test more settings but I am not getting anything that looks like the super-clean engraved books we’ve all seen – possibly because the cover material has changed. At this point, I 100% prefer the look of the Cahiers to anything I’ve managed to do with the hardback Moleskines.

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I got great results on Moleskine Cahiers Black using a manual engrave, speed 1000, 4-6 pews, 450 lines per inch, 1 pass. PS thanks for the great idea reliablepants.