Cardboard Sofa





Introduction: Cardboard Sofa

Want affordable furniture? Easily stored? Easily shipped? Easily replaced if it breaks? Sustainable? Recyclable?

Perhaps I have the answer!

Step 1: Prototype

Before I start any project I like to make a quick prototype to work out any problems I may have when i produce my final design. For this piece I used some old cardboard I had and made the cuts using a Stanley knife. By using this piece for about a week I felt that although the form was correct, the weight of the card was too heavy. I needed to make it from lighter card. Also, to ensure adequate support at the back, I deceided to evenly space the card, rather than rely on just two main spines, as seen in this prototype.

Step 2: Production

I had thought of making the final piece using the same method I had employed previously however given the clean lines I wanted and the precision required, I felt I needed to get the piece produced by machine. I research in my local area and found a packaging company that had just invested in a CNC cutter and were keen to try different designs to experiment with its capabilities, speed, accuracy etc and so my project fitted well within their needs. We agreed that if I could prodcue a 2D CAD file, they would produce the piece. The machine used was a Kongsberg XL24.

Step 3: Assembly

Following the cutting process, it was a simple procedure to just slide each of the pieces together. The sofa was made using 4 individual pieces multiple times. I kept the design simple to ensure that replacment parts were simple to identify and easy to insert. The four parts are 1. Seat, 2. Arms, 3. Centre, 4. Back. If this item were to be manufactured and produced at a large scale, it would be very easy to just produce multiples of these parts and assemble the overall sofas using a combination of the 4 parts. These parts can also be used in other pieces I designed. These can be seen later.

Step 4: Pre-Cushions

Fully assembled the sofa is strong enough and large enough to seat 3 fully grown adults. In case of damaged or ripped pieces, each section can easily be removed and replaced.

Step 5: Finished

Here the finished piece can be seen with cushions and with other pieces to compliment the sofa. A simple coffee table is made using the same technique and a sheet of 8mm plexigalss added to the top. A single seater was also produced, using 2 of the 4 existing pieces used for the sofa.


My idea was that given the increase in online purchasing, the main cost of buying furniture can often be associated with the shipping. By creating furntiure in this way, it is much lighter and much easier managed and it can also be assembled/disasembled by one person. In the last picture a measuring tape shows the width of the single seater AND coffee table, when broken down - only 250mm in width.


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Cardboard Contest 2016



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    14 Discussions

    This absolutely amazing! Wondering for how long it would last?

    3 replies

    This project was done in 2006. I still use the sofa and coffee table today. I have replaced 2 parts in total. It has 'softened' at the edges but is still as structurally secure as it was the day I first built it. I have moved it, disassembled and reassembled it about 4 times in total.

    Do you still have the files you used to do this? I'd be interested in trying it out myself.

    It looks great! I too have a cardboard chair that I've been using for a year now - no problems whatsoever.

    Can you tell me where did you get such big sheets of cardboard?


    In the study and technology of packaging and materials- there are two universities that offer degrees; one is the University of Michigan (I think) and the other is a smaller school in North Carolina (again, I'm not certain)- the sheets of material you used are properly referred to as "corrugated" because it's the inner corrugated layer that gives it the strength so you might want to change it from "card" to corrugated. A podcast covered the material very thoroughly not long ago; I think it was "Stuff to Blow Your Mind" but if it wasn't I can't imagine it would be very hard to find. They brought in an amazing amount of detail like how long it would take to run out of raw materials we didn't recycle, why China wants our cardboard, the history of accepting its use and what's going on with the stuff printed on the bottom of the box. Check it out; it's a great podcast. It's also a great couch that you made and should have been added to the podcast as one of the amazing things you can do with cardboard. I'm looking for ways to make a frame for a dog bed and found some great ideas. Thanks.

    That is a very cool idea. I work at a gunshop and when we get shipments I always have tons of cardboard. This is a good project for me to do. I will put it in my room to read on. Thanks

    Wow that actually looks NICE!!! I was surprised. Well done!

    Incredible, really like it! Good work

    Cool! That looks sofa-n to sit on! (no pun intended!)

    How much does it weigh in total?

    This belongs in a MoMA museum!

    great job, but question:

    why you no include cut file?
    I have a zund and want a coffee table....but am too lazy to lay it out haha


    1 year ago

    awesome man! i love cardborad forniture and you did a awesome job!