Super Simple Cardboard Table




Introduction: Super Simple Cardboard Table

About: I make stuff.

This is a really easy project and you may already have the materials lying around the house.

The table is lightweight, fairly study, and useful for putting things on.

And when you don't need it anymore, you can recycle it!

Step 1:

Things you need:

1 box, the right size to be the top of the table. I'm using a flat box that I think was originally part of the packaging for a laptop computer.

4 mailing tubes. The length of the tubes will be the height of the table. (The diameter doesn't matter too much.)

Some sticky-backed plastic, and/or anything else you want to decorate your table with. Plastic is good because it will prevent the table top from disintegrating if you spill a drink on it. You may like to put clear plastic over a collage or a painted picture, in which case you will need materials for that.

You will also need glue, tape, a pen or pencil, and a utility knife.

Step 2:

First, decide which side of the box is going to be the top.

Turn the box upside down.

Stand one of the mailing tubes on the box. Position it near the corner, and try to make it equal distances away from the two sides of the box. (A ruler may be useful here.)

Trace around the bottom of the tube.

Repeat for the other four legs. You should now have four circles drawn on the bottom of your box.

Step 3:

Carefully cut out the four circles. (Cut through the bottom of the box only.)

Make sure your cuts are inside the line. You want the legs to fit tightly into the table top. Don't worry about making the hole too small - the edges of the cardboard will bend when you stick the legs in.

Open the box and remove the cardboard circles you cut out if they fell inside. Set them aside, and close the box.

Push the four tubes into the holes. Turn the table upright.

You can start using your table now if you want, but it will be sturdier once you glue the legs in.

Step 4:

It's easier to decorate your table without the legs in, so take them out again.

You may find it useful to tape the sides of the table top. (You can use any kind of tape for this.)

My table has a layer of white plastic, then a picture, then a layer of clear plastic over the top. Painting a design on the table and then putting clear plastic over it would also work well.

You can of course decorate your table any way you like, but since it's cardboard you need some kind of protective covering if you want to put drinks on it.

I didn't put anything on the legs of my table, but if you're going to color the legs do it now. (Remember that the top of the tubes will be hidden inside the box.)

I started by putting two pieces of white plastic on the short ends of my box. Then I used a large piece of plastic to cover the entire box top, overlapping the other plastic, with the ends wrapping around the sides of the box to the bottom.

I also used small strips of plastic to wrap around the corners and cover the gaps.

Since I already had the box covered, the clear plastic didn't need to wrap around the sides. I just cut a rectangle the same size as the box top, and stuck it down over my picture.

Step 5:

Now that your table top is finished, you need to glue the legs in.

Put some glue around the outside edge of one end of a mailing tube. Then put some glue around the edge of one of the holes in the box.

Push the leg, glue end first, into the box as far as it goes.

Then put a ring of glue around the join between the tube and the box.

Repeat for all four legs, and let the glue dry.

Step 6:

Turn your table upright again.

You may find that your table wobbles if the legs are not quite the same lengths. If that's the case, then figure out which leg is the shortest.

Now find one of those circles of cardboard you cut out of the table top earlier. (If you lost them, find a new piece of cardboard, trace the end of one of the legs, and cut out a new circle.)

Test your cardboard by putting it under the short leg of the table. Mine worked with one cardboard circle on one leg, but you might need to adjust multiple legs, or you might find that your cardboard is too thick.

Then turn the table upside down again and glue the circle onto the end of the leg.

Let the glue dry.

Step 7:

All done!

Put your table somewhere useful and take a break.

Epilog Challenge

Participated in the
Epilog Challenge

Be the First to Share


    • New Year, New Skill Student Design Challenge

      New Year, New Skill Student Design Challenge
    • Fix It Speed Challenge

      Fix It Speed Challenge
    • Raspberry Pi Contest

      Raspberry Pi Contest



    11 years ago on Step 7

    nice design. i am just wondering,
    how much weight can it hold?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    If you used the tubes from plotter paper, it would hold just about anything, but generally the ones I've used at work are 36" long. You would have to shorten them for a table like this, but the one by wholman uses angles and may use them full length. They might come in shorter lengths but I've only seen the 36"


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Vertical tubes are pretty strong.

    I've put my netbook on this table several times. I would be confident putting 2 netbooks on it, or a large stack of books.

    I would not put a television on it, but I think that's mostly because most televisions are wider than the table is.

    Callum Snowden

    Drill holes in the tubes every inch or so and put holes in the table top and then you can adjust the height of the table by taking out the bolt from every pole, lowering it, then putting the bolt back in :)


    12 years ago on Introduction

    If you glue some 2 inch or 3 inch triangles against the legs and the bottom of the table it should strengthen it quite a bit


    12 years ago on Introduction

    I want to get into making my own furnishings out of cardboard. This simple, straight forward project will help me launch my burgeoning, enterprising spirit. Thank you.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Hey! This is a really great idea! I don't need a table right now, but when i do, ill do this. =]