Introduction: Giant Fn Computer Key Stool/Chair

Extreme Geek Valentine's Day gift.  Give the Fn key to your heart. Use it as a footrest and show some love to your tired doggies or else use it and pamper your significant other with a footrub. Truly functional and multipurpose.  Yeah, you could buy this thing with $$$ but the best gifts are made with love XOXO.

What is this meaning behind this? You can start looking at  Lithium Rain's xkcdian SkiFree 'F key pendant instructable.  You have to get your own Fn key.   What's love got to do with it? Maybe ask singer Tina Turner.  

This is made entirely from recycled box cardboard. Be good to Planet Earth.

WARNING: This seating device has not been tested with IKEA's repetitive sitting test to conform to any industry safety or durability standards and has not determined what the maximum static and dynamic load capacity is.  Your mileage may vary. Implement at your own risk.

Step 1: Glue, Paper, Scissors...

Doing cardboard projects like this requires a lot of glue.  The cardboard is porous and there is a lot of area to cover.  Thinning out glue with water helps with being frugal but it weakens the glue.   I used about 4 small bottles of school glue.  It helps to buy it in the quart size to refill the small ones.

You can search for "wheatpaste" to make a batch of homemade glue which others have used in making cardboard furniture.

Most cardboard furniture tends to be heavy masses of cardboard but this design gets it strength from parts tied together similar to an I-beam.  The Fn computer key stool is essentially a trapezoidal box with an internal reinforcing structure.  Reinforcement comes from a standing pipe with radial fins connected to the shell of the seat. 

We will take thin sheets of cardboard and laminate them into a thicker and stronger material.  Try to alernate the "grain" or the direction the internal corrugations are running in each layer to get the most strength just like a sheet of plywood. 

The walls of the seat should be at least 3 layers of cardboard to make it sufficently stiff for a chair.  The sides should not bend in when you press on it.  If it does, just glue another crossgrain piece on the back to reinforce it.  This could even be done with thinner IKEA cardboard box remnants, just add more layers.

It would be nice to have big perfect sheets of clean cardboard to work with but as you will see, you can piece together scraps from smaller boxes into what we need.  The outside cover paper is peeled from the cardboard for use as paper mache for a smooth finish.

The cardboard needed for this project is probably about 4 or 5 medium sized Amazon shipping boxes.

Slice and Dice
You can use heavy duty scissors or a utility knife to cut the cardboard.  Be careful with sharp instruments.  Cut over a scrap piece of plywood or a few layers of cardboard to protect your flooring or carpet.

It may help to have clamps, a stapler, and some tape just to hold some parts together as you try to glue up the structure.

Step 2: Core Exercise...

The Fn key gets it strength from having a rigid core.

Take one box and peel away at the seam to get a long flat sheet of cardboard.

Cut is so that you have a strip of cardboard 15 inches high along the entire length.  You can vary this depending if you want your seat higher or lower.

Start creasing the cardboard so that you can roll it up into a tube.  The open inside diameter should be about 4 inches.

The corrugations should be running perpendicular to the length of the strip.

The closer you make the creases, the easier it is to get a better formed tube.

Apply glue to one surface and start rolling it tightly like a sushi roll.

It helps to staple/tape the start of the inside roll so that it doesn't spring out.

Staple/tape the roll to keep its shape and let dry.

You should end up with a nice heavy duty cardboard pipe.  Mine turned out like a cast iron 4" drainage pipe.

Step 3: Saddle Up

The piece of cardboard I had was from the end of a box.  It looked about right for the seat.  It is about 12 inches square.

You can make a wider seat if needed.

Since this was pretty stiff cardboard, I just laminated the two ends to be my seating surface.

Glue the end of the cardboard pipe to the center of the seat.

Use a heavy weight to clamp down.

You now have a pedestal type seat.

I guess you could test it out by sitting on it and rotating.

Step 4: Give It Wings to Fly...

Get some more box panels to use as the sides.

Attach to the sides of your seat.  I was lucky to have some excess cardboard to use as glue tabs.  If not, just cut some scrap cardboard in small strips to use as a bridging strip to glue on.

I took advantage of the preformed crease and will use that as the break in the side.

The width of the bottom portion is 16 inches wide.

Taper that up to the seat.  Cut and that will give you the slope of the other sides.

Step 5: About Face...

Lay out how the sides will drape and place in position.  The sides may still be flimsy.

The bottom flaps should stand vertically.

Measure the bottom between the two end pieces. 

Make a cross piece to fit the gap and height of the bottom strip of cardboard.

This has a 25 inch gap.

I laminated several small pieces of cardboard to make the bottom crosspiece.  If you have to join cardboard to make different lengths, just make sure you overlap the joint with a solid piece of cardboard.  Don't worry about the joints that appear on the visible side.  They all get covered and smoothed with paper mache later.

Step 6: Web Design...

We need to now build up the pieces that connect the center pipe to the walls of the seat.

Cut pieces a little larger than the gap.

Crease at the ends to make a gluing flap.

It helps to start out with smaller pieces to fit along as you go.  Bash and glue in place.

The four pieces that eminate from the pipe fill out the entire inside profile of the seat.

Laminate two or three layers of cardboard.  Be sure to bridge any seams or joints between the pieces of cardboard.

Step 7: Side Orders...

If you had any excess cardboard in the side pieces,  bend them to create glue tabs to fit the slope of the seat wall.

Glue on some extra cardboard pieces for glue tabs to attach the side top panels.

Cut pieces for the remaining side panels and glue.  You can also piece these together if you don't have a big enough piece of cardboard.

From the inside, laminate a few layers of cardboard fitting everything to shape.

Step 8: Makeover Magic...

I glued on a few extra pieces to simulate the curved top of a key.  I guess the top could have been formed with a curve by cutting out curved top sides for slightly bent cardboard seat center.

So cover all the exposed edges with paper mache.

You can strip the cardboard outer layer by peeling it away from the corrugation.  With some practice it does come away cleanly. 

I cut the cover paper into small strips. Just use glue at full strength. Spread the glue out to saturate the paper on one side and apply. 

When everything is dried, it feels like the Fn key was made from welded aluminum plates.

Step 9: The Prime Directive.

Prime and paint the Fn key.

Step 10: Alternate Keys...

Find a graphic to print out to decorate the top of your key.

I printed out the letter "F" in 600 point font size.

Cut out and affix to the top of the key.

So make a set of giant computer keys for the dining room or living room.  Make a giant set to match all the keys found on your computer keyboard.

Just tell your guest to pull up the Fn chair. Sit down and chill.

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