Introduction: Cardboard Furniture

Inspired by a series of Frank Gehry's furniture design from the 1970s, Easy Edges. This is a short introduction to the versatility of corrugated cardboard and its application as a material deserving of our attention in our living spaces. By laser cutting and layering a shape repeatedly this instructable demonstrates that cardboard is a suitable material for everyday use.

In a utopic society, I would hope that the common person would be encouraged to use eco-friendly/degradable materials, as well as be enabled to construct them for themselves by general access to laser cut machines and open source blue prints.

In this instructable we will explore this proposed concept and examine the fabrication of an end table, ottoman, chair and bench cardboard structures.

Step 1: Find Your Reference

For this example, Chair A by Lucien Engels (1957) was chosen as the reference piece to make into a corrugated cardboard artifact. The chair was selected for its simple shape and acute angles that also communicate a certain amount of character. Ultimately, the basis of your reference should be a form that when extruded, results in a definitive form that achieves its purpose, in this case a chair– requiring a seat and a backrest for the participant.

Once you've decided your shape (as per its side view or the 2D cross-section), save it into a .svg file in Adobe Illustrator to be later exported to your 3D editing software.

Step 2: From 2D to 3D

In this example, we are using TinkerCAD but other 3D editing software will be suitable for the following steps. Essentially, we are only creating the render of what we expect our final physical product to look like after laser cutting our cardboard material.

As demonstrated in the example photo, the 2D shape can be extruded by layering itself repeatedly and can be made into an assortment of seating objects. Depending on the amount of cardboard cross sections used, a chair or even a bench can be made from your initial 2D shape.

Step 3: Other Examples: Ottoman and End Table

Corrugated cardboard when layered together proves to be both durable and sturdy. Beyond chairs, other furniture objects can be experimented with this building material.

As homage to the Architect Frank Gehry, the ottoman and end table set shown above is another example of cardboard furniture.

This set was made in TinkerCAD.

Step 4: Physical Modeling

For proof of concepts if accessibility to a laser cutter is limited, scaled models can be made from cardboard purchased at a craft store.

As demonstrated above, using glue, a drafting knife, ruler and pencil, a model can be made once the 2D cross section is decided upon.

Step 5: Try Your Own Cardboard Furniture Piece

I hope these examples serve as inspiration for your own pursuit of cardboard furniture manufacturing and that they demonstrate the ease of manufacturing.

I recommend experimenting with shapes and ideas to see which best fits your design philosophy and needs.

Good luck!