Instructables

Recycled Cardboard Shelf

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Picture of Recycled Cardboard Shelf
I set myself the challenge of building a shelf from cardboard. Not a temporary, flimsy shelf but a permanent, rigid and functional shelf.

The cardboard I chose was from shoe boxes. It was thin corrugated cardboard with a thicker, nicer looking presentation side.
 
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Step 1: Step 1

Picture of Step 1
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To make the brackets start by cutting 1.5” (40mm) wide strips. For maximum strength cut the stips so that the corrugations run along the length of the piece like the grain in a piece of wood. Glue (school glue) them together in an L shape. Be sure to alternate where the joints are so that no two joints are directly on top of each other. Make these L shapes the same thickness as a pencil. In this case it was three layers.

Trim a pencil and cut a notch into the bracket about a third of the brackets width. Cut these notches to fit the pencil as tight as possible. Add another layer of cardboard to each side to cover the notches. Once the glue dries, trim the brackets to 1” (25mm) thickness.

I know its a bit of a cheat using pencils as struts but i didn't have enough cardboard to make them. I'm confident 1” wide cardboard struts would work instead of pencils.

Step 2: Step 2

Picture of Step 2
To make the top layout 5 or 6 layers of cardboard pieces and trim them to make sure none of the joints overlap. Alternate the direction of the corrugations for maximum strength. Use the biggest pieces possible and use the best pieces for the top layer. Glue and allow to dry.

Step 3: Step 3

Picture of Step 3
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Glue up a 1” (25mm) wide back brace as shown in the picture. Allow to dry thoroughly and trim all the pieces square. Notch the outer corners of the brackets to fit the back brace. Glue and screw the back brace to the brackets.
lightpen1 year ago
i like it a lot
ccarreer1 year ago
That is an awesome shelf! I am going to do this. I need a place for my knick-knacks, and this is perfect! Thanks for the how-to! =D
foobear1 year ago
Those are the cleanest cuts of cardboard I've ever seen. Did you use a laser cutter or something? Industrial yet perky. Good!
english tea (author)  foobear1 year ago
Nope, no laser cutter. Just the cheapest extendable craft knife I could find with break-off blades.

1. The flat handle helps control the blade
2. Extendable blade allows you to push it out just over 1” cut at a nice shallow angle
3. Sharp blade! These blades are really cheap, I broke off the end for a fresh tip three or four times during this project.
4. Don’t press too hard. Let the blade do the work in multiple passes.

easy peasy lemon squeezy :)
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Brilliant! I think the pencil struts compliment your shelf.
english tea (author)  WillieWickedly1 year ago
Yeah i think so too. I like how it turned out. I think il make more things using pencils.
Voted! awesome idea! I'm going to make one ASAP!