Introduction: 6 Easy Tinkering Hinges

About: I am a multimedia maker and STEAM educator living in Los Angeles. There are few things more satisfying to me than acquiring and exploring a new skillset, so you'll find a wide variety of materials in my projec…

Sometimes you want to use a metal hinge to make a door. Sometimes it's either too heavy, or just overkill. Take a look at the video, or read on to see some alternatives. These are particularly useful if you're making a temporary cardboard construction to play with. If you haven't built a cardboard playground, consider it. It's so much fun!

Also make sure to check out the last step for a technique that isn't in the video, but is a brilliant addition introduced to me by a fellow tinkering facilitator at reDiscover Center.

Step 1: Skewer Pin

One option that I love is taking advantage of one property of corrugated cardboard: the flutes (the wavy inside part) can act as bearings for pins, and bamboo skewers work perfectly for this. Cut a staggered hinge pattern into two adjacent pieces (see the photos) and then you can thread a skewer through. Cutting the stick flush with the cardboard and covering either end with tape makes it stay in place.

Step 2: Bent Single Wall Board

You can play with the relative strength of cardboard by using single or double-wall board. Single wall cardboard can be easily folded along with the flutes, and create a hinge. It's not the most effective hinge ever, but often that's all you need!

Step 3: Velcro

Velcro is useful for attaching things, and this hinge will not only bend, it lets the door be removed if you want. Cut a couple pieces of either the hook or the loop side (it doesn't matter which, but it does matter that they be the same) to go on the door and the base piece, then use a longer piece of the other type (hook or loop) to attach them together.

Step 4: Duct Tape

Almost as simple as just bending cardboard, but a little more flexible, and you can attach different materials. This method is quick and cheap, but a little less lasting than some of the other methods.

Step 5: Fabric

This is a good way to add some color and texture, and is a fun way to add a hinge/binding to a simple book. It works essentially the same way as duct tape, but it's a good idea to fold the hinge open and then glue another piece on the back, as fabric is often not stiff enough to hold a good angle with just one piece.

Step 6: Wire Loops

This technique can be done with either individual rings or a long coil, like a spiral bound notebook. You can use loose-leaf rings, binder rings, key rings, or do like I did and bend some of your own with pliers and a relatively stiff wire. Punch holes in your material (I used an awl), both in the door and the body you're attaching it to, and run the rings through adjacent holes. I placed one piece on top of the other while making the holes to ensure that the holes were aligned.

Step 7: Binder Clips (BONUS)

This method isn't in the video because it was added after the fact by one of my fellow tinkering facilitators at reDiscover Center, but it is well worth a mention.

Binder clips are ideal for sturdier hinges. Hot glue the metal arms of the clip to the door and body of your material as shown in the photo. If you're using wood, you can also screw the arms in place with large washers to grab onto the metal loops at the end of the arms. We've used this technique in tinkering camp when we didn't have actual hinges available and it works well. One advantage of this method is that it's very good at snapping open and closed. Use larger or smaller binder clips depending on the weight of the door you're attaching.

Enjoy, and let me know in the comments if you have any other techniques you like to use!

Cardboard Contest 2017

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Cardboard Contest 2017