Playing with living hinges

I was experimenting with living hinges today until I successfully made a 1x12 inch long strip that easily bent into a circle. Then I thought… hmmmm… what might be a simple use for that? A little math and some quick circles later and I had this dish. Figured it’d look nicer in acrylic. Turned out shockingly pretty. I was just going to use it as a place to put some of the little pieces of hardware I’m collecting but I think this one might need to go to someone with nicer things to put in it.

My measurements weren’t good enough for a pressure fit but a little acrylic glue did the trick.

The hinge was made with 1/8 inch clear cast acrylic. The cut lines were about 1.5mm apart. The bottom and top ring were 1/4 inch acrylic and I did two engraving passes to carve out the grooves.


Awesome! :sunglasses:


Very cool indeed! And you wouldn’t be limited to circles: ovals, hearts, and bunny rabbits would look great as well.


Yes, this definitely is a giver.


Really nice! I haven’t done much acrylic work yet, what kind/brand of glue did you use? You said acrylic, is it CA?

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I love this! What a neat way to incorporate a living hinge…and so cool that it’s acrylic.


If you don’t mind the smell, I’m finding acrylic really easy to work with. I went to my local Tap Plastics and grabbed 25lbs of the stuff out of their scrap bin for cheap. You want to look for cast acrylic vs extruded. The cast will engrave with a nice frosted look while extruded will remain clear. You can tell the difference just by looking since cast is usually backed with paper and extruded is backed with plastic.
The glue was the Tap Plastic branded Acrylic Cement. It’s a solvent that causes the acrylic to melt a little and welds pieces together. You’ll also want some sort of applicator (squeeze bottle with a needle) because the stuff is really thin and runs easily. It won’t kill you to get some on your fingers (you can wash it off with soap and water) but you should really wear gloves. According to the guy at the store the glue will never evaporate and will last forever so one small bottle will go a long way.


This is interesting. What is a living hinge? I’m going to have to look for a plastics vendor near me. Having access to lower cost supplies would be nice.

Edit: nm google is my friend.

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Thank you for the plastic backing part of that! This explains my immense confusion a few years back when my very thin (what must have been extruded) acrylic didn’t etch worth a darn at all.


No problem. I’ve learned more in the last week about acrylic than I’d ever thought I’d know.


wow, very nice, will have to try that one

Looks great!

This is absolutely gorgeous!! If you don’t mind me asking, how did you join the hinge together?

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The top and bottom disks have a groove engraved into them to hold the hinge. Then I used acrylic glue to bond them together. The stuff is a pain to work with but actually melts the acrylic together for a very strong bond. It comes as a liquid and you use a small needle nose squirt bottle to apply it. I’ve also heard of a more gel-like version that might be easier for these sorts of applications.


Just make sure to put the glue back in the can or it WILL evaporate from the plastic bottle. In the aluminum can it comes in it’s safe.


This is terrific. Thanks for sharing!

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Good call. It evaporates relatively quickly when it’s out of the can.
(I learned this the hard way.) :disappointed:

Wow! Thanks so much for this. My son wanted to do a project so we settled on an “Infinity Gauntlet Stand” (any excuse to try something new). It turned out great!


has anyone tried to use a living hinge on acrylic to roll it up and unroll it like mat? Do you think it could be done?

No. Folks have experimented with living hinges cut from acrylic, but the focus has been on making a curve that is static, not something that can be exercised repeatedly. A mat like you describe just isn’t possible - it’s way too brittle.

Likewise, solid wood doesn’t work well, but plywood and mdf fare better. They’ll snap if used too much or bent with too tight a radius.

Lots of good info if you search for “acrylic living hinge”

Good luck!