Just got my GF and I have a project idea and want feasibility feedback

The project idea is to 3D engrave the pages of a book/journal. So when the book/journal is closed it looks like a book, but when you open it, you have a 3D engraved image.

Is this even possible or will I have to cut individual pages?


Sorry. I just don’t follow what you’re after here. Can you explain further? Or have an example of what you’re talking about?

Cool idea! I have no idea if it will work, unfortunately.

So take an existing book/journal, with lots of pages inside - flip the cover open and then do a 3d engrave on the interior pages.

It would be interesting to see how it translates!

If I were to try it with a book, I might bond the outside edges of a set number of pages achieving a specific thickness and then try and have a few thick “pages” in the book you could flip through.

Please be wary of fire with stacked paper like that though!


Oh! I think I get it, @rwebb! So you’re looking to treat all of the pages inside the book as 1 piece of material, yeah?

The one word that immediately comes to my mind is “fire.” I definitely look forward seeing your attempt though!

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However, you might be able to treat the paper.


I think you might want to take the time and glue all the pages together first. Then I think it will work well. Can’t wait to see!


This has been done before, I think. There was a post on here long ago of someone who engraved sculptures from books. And then painted the surface. It looked great. I remember landscapes as the subject. But now that I think about it, maybe they used something like an airbrush with an abrasive. I’ve just spent too long looking for it and couldn’t find it. But I know I saw it here. @rpegg, @marmak3261, do you remember this?

There are notepads that have been perforated, so that after the pages have been torn out, you are left with a sculpture.

As others have noted it would be a huge fire risk. One way it could be done is from an elevation grayscale that has 256 shades of gray. Without any ability to be halfway between there is an outline between any two shades and Inkscape could manage that vector but you would have 256 cuts to do one at a time as you did each Level.

There were 3d printers that actually worked that way but you would have to find a setting that could cut one sheet and not the one below it.

Depends on how the book is bound, but if you glue the pages together the book may no longer open (or, I guess, close as the case may be) since the pages can’t move.

I believe this would be the way to go, if you wanted to do a 3d engrave with minimal fire risk. From my understanding, the fire risk due to cutting multiple sheets is because there is space in between them.

@Tom_A is also correct, you might have to experiment to get it to open correctly.

Either way, this is a fantastic idea! I can’t wait to see what you do! I’m just picturing a copy of Moby-Dick with a 3d engraving of a whale inside!


or there’s always the really complicated way to do it. build the object in 3D and then slice it in .011" thick slices and cut each sheet separately, then bind it. :slight_smile:


RIP my e-mail inbox. Thank you all for the feedback.

You guys have worked out the concept of the idea. I figured that the issue would be fire, and that even on the lightest settings possible the laser may well just eat the paper. I wasn’t intending to engrave the cover, just the pages inside, I wonder if I could start with a spiral bound notebook/sketchbook, take out the spiral, glue the pages, engrave, and then rebind the pages. But @joe you nailed it, my other concept idea was to do thematic engravings in famous literature.

Cheap way to do it would be to get a hardback of whatever novel I am working with, hollow out a “frame” in the pages, do a wood 3D engraving, and drop the engraving into the hollowed out book… but I REALLY want the engraving to be made out of the pages of the book itself.


I see what you did there - very esoteric !


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I remember this, but never read how it was done. Don’t think it was by laser.

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That’s it! Thanks!

And here’s the image from that post.

This would probably never work but…

Make a weak glue solution
hang book into the solution, saturating the pages
let excess glue solution drip off
close book between two clamping surfaces
Allow to dry (would take ages)
Maybe book would be a solid block?

Would you even need the glue or would wet paper fibers bind enough?

Not even sure how else you would glue an entire book without going nuts.