World's Best Cardboard Chair





Introduction: World's Best Cardboard Chair

(OF COURSE you can just skip to the pictures :-D)

This instructable is about making a die-cutter to make THE WORLD's BEST CARDBOARD CHAIR. The chair design is simple --a profile cutout that is stacked.


The project can be found here as well:

Our goal was create a project that was relevant to college students and, as always, to challenge conventional thinking about sustainability. We found that as college students, we deal with very little reality. Our food is prepared, the electricity bills are paid, and we never have to mow the lawn. However, one reality we deal with more than most is relocating (between college and home). Imagine moving everything you own twice, sometimes more, times a year. It can become very tiresome, especially if you want large furniture. We asked the question: How could be both improve this situation while introducing sustainability? The "Cardboard Chair" project was born. Light, recyclable, cheap, and comparably comfortable  Cardboard furniture has all the workings of a great solution.

Overall, we want to present cardboard furniture as a viable option as opposed to currently available dorm room furniture. Additionally, we will introduce sustainable practices by reusing waste cardboard to build said furniture (rather than recycling it, saving energy needed to do so).

Our first prototype is based on Frank Gehrys Wiggle Chair," popularized in the 1970s. Gehry discovered that cardboard layered many times builds enough strength to make it suitable for the everyday use. He went on to create a series of furniture objects, such as the "Easy Edges Wiggle" side chair, that take advantage of the versatility of cardboard as a medium. We will do the same with our chair.


Step 1: Materials and Design!

- Cardboard - We got all the cardboard we needed at the township's cardboard recycling dumpster. Look for large pieces, but be careful of double ply and triple ply as they are hard to work with (with our system). FREE!

- Plywood -Two sheets large enough for the chair's profile. Look for the hardest wood you can find. It needs to stand up against a lot of wear and force! About $40.

- Router -Yes we need powertools! Price varies.

- Bandsaw blades (2 or 3) -Thin blades, look for flat teeth, and about 1in tall. About 25 each.

- Design! -Be creative!

- Projector -This will help with the design.

- Design -You will need a design! We picked the Wiggle-like chair. So we took drew an image in MS Paint, then used a projector to project the image onto a plywood board. Then we trace! Now we have our design perfectly on the board!

You can likely do this freehand...

Step 2: Build Tool!

Okay, here we are building the die-cutter to make the cut outs!

1. Route out groove for chair profile! We went in about .5 in. (The plywood is 1in thick) You will need to do this on two boards, one will have the blade (male), and one will have the matching notch (female).

2. Bandsaw blade! Note when picking bandsaw blade, you want the thinnest one you can get! Get the 1in tall blades. Carefully open package! The bandsaw blades to spring open from the packaging!

3. Cut Bandsaw blade! Bandsaw blades come in closed loops. You will need to cut it open. We used a grinder to cut it open. BE VERY CAREFUL.

4. Install Blade! Wear gloves! You can place the blade into the groove (you will need help!). We wedged ours in with small slices of wood and lots, and lots, and lots of hot glue. I know it sounds dumb, because it is. But it worked!


Step 3: Cut Cardboard!

How it works!

Note: I made up a word in the video. "Unveal," an odd mixture of the word 'reveal' and 'unveil' both meaning to make visible.

Step 4: Repeat...

Now you need to do this about ... 70 times.

Yes, it is going to take time. BUT this will turn out better than other methods, and this will give you the best cardboard chair of all time!

Now that you have all the slices:

Lets put them together! We used two methods, hot glue and wood glue. We found that the hot glue was fast and easy, but the wood glue made the most solid product. I would recommend a mix.

You can speed things up by alternating a slice with small square inserts (See picture).

Step 5: Sit and Enjoy!

This seat is actually VERY comfortable!

You can improve this whole project by finishing the chair with fabric and batting. It would be very simple to do with this design.


Yes, that's me.



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    is the chair stable can you sit in it?

    Now paint it with stain, let it dry and then varnish or lacquer it or use a two part acrylic to cover the entire chair. Repeat the hard surface cover several times until your desired thickness is achieved.

    Just a word of warning about hot glue. It's hard to find the high heat glue sticks now and the low heat glue will melt if set in front of a window with direct sunlight.
    As for strength, I made a rocking horse using similar technique when I was in college and it held up to several years of abuse until my husband got tired of having it around

    Hi everyone .. its been a while I'm searching for a site with good instructions on cardboard furniture making and i found it here.
    I am very much satisfied with the quality of information provided here in free and even i'm planning to move on to Pro version.

    Anyways, thanks for this useful content :-)

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    How is this sustainable? You have to grind up a bunch of trees to make the cardboard in the first place.

    Be serious , he is taking cardboard that was already used and reused it again . Also after using it as a chair it can be recycled again .

    I am being serious, that's not what "sustainable" means. This is called "reuse" or "recycling". Words have meanings. Just because "sustainable" is this weeks eco buzzword doesn't mean what ever anyone is doing is that all of the sudden.

    But even using that semantic logic, cardboard *is* sustainable. Virtually all cardboard is made from fast growing pine trees, discarded paper, lumberyard waste, and cornstarch glue. The major cardboard manufacturers maintain their own forests (the trees are much cheaper when you own the land) and replant seedlings for each tree they cut down. They also use discarded paper and wood pulp that might have been sent to a landfill. Since the definition of "sustainable" is "conserving an ecological balance by avoiding the depletion of natural resources," even virgin cardboard can qualify as sustainable.