Introduction: Cardboard Chair for Children

Good morning

Usually, parents DON'T WANT that children draw on furniture, isn't it? Unless you give children some cardboard furniture.

Moreover, children will decorate it as they want, so a chair become definitively THEIR OWN chair, for example.

Here an Instructable about a "3 ages" chair"; you can use it in (at least) 3 different position, each one having a different sitting height : so you just turn the chair to adapt it to grown-up child.


Step 1: The (old) Idea

This chair has (at least) 3 way to seat on, at 3 different heights; in this way children of different ages can find their preferred way to sit.

I had this kind of chair at school when I was 4 years old, those were in wood and difficult (for me) to move as I wanted. So I made it in cardboard for my daughter.

Step 2: Tools & Materials

- Cardboard, of course.

- glue; I used liquid vinyl glue (good for porous materials, like paper, wood, textiles).

- cutting tools (I used cutter and electrician's scissors).

- spring pliers, and weights to firmly keep cardboard pieces in place during drying.

Step 3: Cutting and Folding Cardboard; Back and Sides.

Let's suppose the chair to be cubic; mine is 30x30x30 cm (about 12" each side).

The first piece of cardboard has the same height of the chair, and its length is 3 times this height ('A'); fold the 'A' piece in 3 square parts.

Before to fold it, you can 'mark' cardboard with a non-sharp object (a roller pen, a small plastic object, the nail of your finger...) the folding line: folding will be easier and more precise.

Step 4: Grooves Orientation.

As you know, cardboard structure has many parallel grooves; this direction is somewhat 'weaker': if the folding line is parallel to these grooves, folding will be easyer; to make the cardboard chair much more resistant, we can paste more layers taking care that the grooves on the different pieces are NOT parallel (see picture).

Step 5: Central Piece.

Cut a cardboard piece with the same height of the chair, and a length that is a little less than 2x the height. (mine was 30 x 50 cm); let's call 'B' this piece.

Fold it in 3 parts: the length of the central part has to be a little less than the height (mine was about 2 cm less, so 28 cm long), and positioned in the middle of the the cardboard (see picture). Notice: in the picture there is a cut in the middle of the 'B' piece: this cut was already there (scrap cardboard...), and it's not a problem.

In the first picture you can see how the pieces 'A' and 'B' will be put together;

On the 'B' piece, put some glue on the exterior of one of the smaller sides; put this prepared side on the corresponding part on the 'A' piece (where 'glue' is written, on the picture); keep firmly in place with some flat heavy object;

Let it dry (in my case, about 20 minutes);

Once the glue is completely dry, you can trim the exceeding 'B' cardboard.


Step 6: Central Part Reinforcing.

Cut a square piece of cardboard, whose height & length is a little less than the chair's height (mine was about 28x28 cm).

Paste it on the middle part of the 'B' piece, taking care to cross the grooves' directions (see picture).

Of course, you can add more layers in the same way, in order to make it more resistant; this valid even after you complete the chair, if you think that's not strong enough.

Step 7: 'B' Piece, Again...

Paste together pieces 'A' and 'B' as in the picture; as usual, keep firmly in place with a suitable weight, and trim the eventually exceeding cardboard.

Step 8: Central Upper Part, I

Cut a piece of cardboard: the height is the same as usual, the length is a+b+a, as in the picture (in my case a was about 21 cm); let's call 'C' this piece.

Please note that in the picture the 'B' piece is in the lower part, with the two vertical flaps facing downward.

Put some glue on the horizontal part ('B'); put the middle part of the 'C' piece on the glue; again, keep firmly in place, let it dry and trim the exceeding.

Step 9: Central Upper Part, II

At this point, the two lateral parts (vertical) of the 'C' piece are not pasted, yet (see picture).

Put some glue on the left part to paste the 'C' vertical flap, as in the second picture. An then again, keep tight, dry, trim.

Do the same thing with the other lateral part (on the right side) of the 'C' piece.

Please note that the grooves orientation is crossed (last picture).

Step 10: Central Part: More Stiffness.

As you can see in the picture above, the junction between 'A' and 'C' (in the blue oval) is free, no fixation at all.

To fix this, we can paste an L-shaped cardboard to keep together the two parts.

Cut a cardboard, as large as the inner sitting place (2nd picture); its length has to be at least as the a+b that were shown in STEP 8;

paste it as shown; please note: in my case the cardboard was too short (3rd pict.), so I had to complete with another piece of cardboard (4th picture, the "drying in progress" part).

Again, keep-dry-trim.

Step 11: Back and Side Reinforcing.

The 'A' piece need more stiffness; moreover, the cardboard I used already had a cut, as indicated by the white arrow; so I pasted an additional layer ('D' in the picture) on back and sides;

The 'D' piece has the same height of the chair, and its length is a little more than three times this height; in my case, 'D' was about 30 x 94 cm. Once again, please take care to cross the directions of the grooves.

I began to paste it at the side of the chair (1st picture, violet arrow and 2nd picture);

Once it was dried, I folded the the 'D' piece and pasted it to the back of the chair (3rd picture).

The last picture shows the crossing direction of the grooves.

Step 12: The Complete Chair.

At this point the chair is already usable;

If you wish more stiffness, you can in the same way add some others layer: flat layers to reinforce sides, L-shaped to reinforce joints between 2 perpendiculars sides.

The second picture shows the final test: the testing weight was a 60kg colleague.


As a handle, I cut out a rectangle of about 3x8 cm (some more than 1"x3", Last 2 pictures); in this way young children could move it more easily.

I didn't decorate the chair; I know some children who will do the job with pleasure :-)


I hope this Instructable will be clear enough and it will be useful to somebody.

Thanks you for your attention,

and thanks too to Instructable website for this (free!) space.

Besides, I will propose this Instructable for the cardboard Contest; I would be happy if you vote for it, if you like.

Have a good day

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