An illustrated guide to making a stool out of three FedEx or similar triangular shipping tubes. They're free at shipping stores, and most big companies probably have a bunch on hand in the office somewhere.
It's plenty strong enough for an average adult, but is not the most durable piece of furniture you'll ever have. I originally built this in 2004. It still survives, but is a little busted around the enges and saggy in the middle.
As in my other work here, I am interested in making things 1) for free, 2) that are recycled, 3) make imaginative use of material limitations, and 4) are fun to have around. I tried to take advantage of the graphics on the boxes in the design. Perfect "nomadic" furniture for the college student, frequent mover, or cheapskate.
Step 1: Cut
These drawings are to scale, but that is difficult to translate to other computer screens. You can print these drawings as templates, or just go after it approximately. If you print the drawings, measure the length of the box in the drawing, then the real-life box, and divide out to get the approximate scale. There are a lot of angles and things that are tricky to describe with words, so the drawings should be a primary guide. Solid lines are cuts, and dashed lines are folds.
Lay three tubes out flat, graphic-side down. Grab a ruler, some wood glue, and a sharp x-acto knife or box cutter. Generally, the stool should be about sixteen inches high, so you can find the center of the box, length-ways, then measure sixteen inches to each side to start your cuts. Cut two boxes as shown. These will be the legs of the stool.
Step 2: Cut 2
Cut the third box as shown. This will be the "bridge" that connect the legs and prevents them from kicking out and collapsing when you sit on it.
Step 3: Legs!
Fold up the tubes, using the included adhesive strip to stick them together.
Step 4: Bridge Assembly
Fold the bridge, sticking the tube together in the very middle with what remains of the adhesive strip. Leave the others free to fold further.
Step 5: Seat
Use the leftovers to make a seat by cutting them into half-inch or so strips and weaving them together. Fit the loose weaving to the top of the A-frame and trim to fit, keeping some strips long. Fold the long ones inside the upright tubes with some glue. Finish the edges with mitered strips laid flat and glued on top of the weave, making a nice hexagon.
Step 6: Finish Up
Fit the upright A-frame into the bridge. The long strips on the bridge that you left free to fold further earlier -- fit those up and into the inside of the A-frame and glue them together. The two short flaps on each side get glued to the outside of the tube, effectively sandwiching the uprights.
Say a silent thanks for your local delivery services manager for providing the building material, and have yourself a sit.