Experimenting with living hinges and notebooks

I’ve had my GF a few weeks now and it’s time to start sharing some of what I’ve been making.

The first thing I was drawn to was using living hinges for notebook covers. I found an Inkscape extension on GitHub for generating the cut lines, but I really liked the idea of cutting rectangles rather than just lines. I modified the extension to do it (you can get my version here)

The hinges seem quite a bit more stretchy/flexible than a similar pattern of lines. The downside is you’re doing about twice as much lasering in a small area. It takes longer, and the back side is prone to burning. I’ve had good luck adding a second layer of mask on the back side of my wood. It stops most if not all of the damage.

Turning that into a notebook cover took some iteration. I decided to go with an A5 notebook and ended up attaching pieces of leather on the inside to create pockets to hold the notebook in place. (laser cut holes to stitch the leather to the wood)

I’m pretty happy with the results.


I have found that the more you can spread the stress out the easier it is for the material to handle the stress

Sharp points focus stress, ovals spread it out.


Thanks for sharing your process and photos. The notebook is lovely.


Very nice work! I agree with you on the rectangles vs lines. And thanks for the masking tip.


Welcome to the forum! Love the notebook cover. I never thought of stitching leather to the cover, though I’m sure others have. Brilliant.


That’s beautiful! That shape makes a ton of sense.

I’d thought of doing curves at the end of my cuts, but it would have required more extensive changes to the extension I was using. I might have to revisit that.

Thanks for sharing.

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Being able to cut exactly the same holes in both the leather and wood makes it pretty easy.


In Inkscape there are 2 ways to put a shape copied along a path, that one is just two long ellipses cut and joined together then divided along a line copied and moved down a half length. and then the pair arrayed as wide as needed,


About a year ago I was trying to do the same thing. Found 10 different patterns on thingverse or somewhere and cut all 10 on the same wood to see which had the tightest radius. Settled on the right one and cut my notebook.


Guess I used the wrong wood (1/8" Birch Ply from HD). What thickness and type of wood are you using?

Of course you can just engrave them om the inside as I did with this oak plywood producing a shape under 2" that I could still engrave,


I’ve done this in PG Medium Basswood, Cherry, and Walnut plywood.

My first try was walnut hardwood and that was way too brittle.

I haven’t tried lasering plywood from HD, but when doing other types of woodwork I’ve noticed a lot of their plywood is brittle and prone to splintering.

You might give the extension I linked to a try to play with different dimensions. Longer and wider cuts tend to give more flex.

Oh wow!!! I’m going to have to give that a try.

Will do. I tried a lot of things, scaling the ones I have in AutoCAD, widening the gaps, etc. It’s most likely the wood - I’ll give some PG a chance.

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Measure and divide work especially well in Autocad for this, having a Block "b"that is multiple block "a"s and using LISP to turn the "a"s into "b"s and exploding them and doing it again can make terrific fractals too!

Ok, my “inkscape brain” just infarcted…

Not sure how to do that in inkscape, but I was able to make Hilbert curves in Autocad that way.

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I made one the other day from 1/8" baltic birch and it was like fabric. I was making a box, but I kind of wanted to just keep the hinge to play with!