Saturday, May 18, 2013

Hinges 1: Card Type

There are countless ways to make hinges for doors, shutters, hatches,. whatever. Here are the methods I usually use. They may seem a bit fiddly and time consuming but they’re not really, especially when you’re making many at a time.

Be sure to check out TOOLS: Hinjig Tool. It’s a multi-tool I made while developing the hinge making posts.


These are the easiest to make. For demonstration purposes I’m using a standard white index card so you can see the processes better but for “The Real Deal” I use cards that have been blackened with a marker. Begin by bending the end of the card about 5/16” from the end. Next, mark off 1/8” segments. Then cut off a 3/16” column strip with the markings off the card. Finally, cut the individual hinges. By the way, I originally tried black construction paper but found it to be a bit too thick.

The Real Deal: The thick door was made by gluing 1/16” scribed basswood back-to-back and aligning the planking. It was cut to the correct height but left a bit wide so it could be sanded to fit its jamb once the hinges were glued on. Shallow slots were carefully sanded into one door edge to minimize a gap between the door and its jamb.

Hinges glued on. Note how they stick up above the door surface. Gives a better look when the door has been installed.

The edge opposite the hinges was sanded until the door fits snugly into its jamb. Here you can see how the edge needed to be beveled so the door can close completely but still be able to close.
A craft knife was pressed into the edges for top and bottom detail.

1/8” wide card straps that were a bit overlong were glued on to both sides, then trimmed to length. Nail indications were made with a scribe (a small headless nail that’s been glued into the end of a dowel works fine. Or use a large needle). Ready for paint and handles.

- Door is all done and flipped around. The handles are Vintag JR 20 4.75 Jump Ring, attached with black 24 gauge craft wire.
- Glued into its jamb, opens inward. This is the building exterior and a balcony will be added.
- Open door from inside the building. Needs its floor.

UPSIDE: A cheap, quick and easy method.
DOWNSIDE: You only have the hinge’s surface itself to glue to the door’s edge and it’s jamb so not very strong. And card hinges are springy, not allowing the door to remain fully open.

After being opened and closed many, many times the door will wear and won’t “stick” to its jamb, popping open on its own. Easy to fix, just glue a tiny scrap of card to it or the jamb to tighten them back up.


Similar to the previous technique but more gluing surfaces: Bend over the card… indicate where the cut outs need to be and cut them out… slice off the hinge bar.

The Real Deal:
LEFT - The door and the bar. Just need to glue the two together. Note that notches aren’t needed since the bar runs along the entire length of the door edge.
RIGHT - Hinge bar glued on and the door sanded to fit its jamb, remembering the bevel. Straps were added as well as some rivets. Ready for paint and such, then final gluing to the jamb.
(Hmmm, looks like I’ll have to have a chat with Lionel Uptuss, our Lower Hinge Strap Aligner.)

Have you ever noticed it’s never MY fault when something doesn’t get made right? That’s because I’m the boss and the one who writes this little blog. It’s good to be the king.

CARD STRAP HINGES FOR THINNER DOORS (like 1/16” basswood or mat board)

The previous ideas work fine for thicker doors but what do you do when there isn’t enough of a door edge to glue the hinges to? Hinges as part of a strap is the answer!

I bent a 1/8” wide card strap into a Z shape (1/16“ “zig“), then bent the right side down.

- I made another one, glued both to a pre-painted door and trimmed the left edges. (Flat straps were added to underside as well).
- Added nail indications and roughly painted the strap. Door is ready for install. I’ll add a handle once I decide which way the door will open and trim the hinge’s right strap ends as needed.

Obviously this method can be used for thicker doors as well.

NEXT: Fully Working.