Making chairs and other furniture out of cardboard is good for the environment and fun to design and create. By itself, cardboard can be flimsy and weak. When pieces of cardboard are layered upon one another, it becomes solid and strong enough to hold a person�۪s weight. Kids can gather old cardboard boxes and scrap cardboard to make their chairs. Begin by making a simple chair with a straight back. Move onto harder projects using cardboard, such as cardboard tables, desks, and other furniture. Kids can then customize their chair projects with paint, stickers, glitter, cardboard cut-out shapes, feathers, buttons, and any other craft supply.
To make a cardboard chair, you will need:
- Cardboard box
- Scrap cardboard
- Ruler, yardstick, or measuring tape
- Craft supplies
- Clear finish (polyurethane)
Find a sturdy square cardboard box. Spread glue along the inside surface of each of the four flaps. Press each flap inside the box to glue it to the inside walls of the box. Flip the box back onto its base and allow 2 hours of drying time.
Overturn the cardboard box so that the bottom base is now on the top. Measure the base of the box to find its length and width. Use a ruler and pencil to draw a square of the same length and width onto a piece of scrap cardboard. Create a total of 6 cardboard squares of the same size.
Spread glue onto the base of the box. Place the first square cut-out directly on top of the box base. Repeat with 5 of the square cut-outs. Press each square cut-out down firmly and wipe any excess glue with a paper towel. Allow at least 2 hours of drying time.
Use the last square cut-out to make the back of the chair. Spread glue along the bottom edge of the square cut-out, approximately 1-inch in width. Press the bottom edge onto the back of the square box. Give the chair 2 hours to completely dry.
Paint the chair with acrylic or tempera paints, if desired. Paint 2 to 3 coats of paint and allow 2 hours of drying time in between each coat. Apply a coat of clear finish over the dry paint. The clear finish should only be done by an adult or with adult supervision. Decorate with stickers or other craft items.
- Use corrugated cardboard, such as from a cardboard box, for the chair as it is stronger.
- Create a comfortable seat for the chair by adding a cushion, pillow or foam material.
- The more layers of cardboard you use, the studier the chair will be.
- Get the help of a parent when using sharp scissors or other dangerous tools.
- Work with a partner to help speed up the process.
- Work quickly if using hot glue to put the cardboard chair together.
- Plan your cardboard chair project out on paper first.
- Find free cardboard boxes at grocery stores, from neighbors, or even in your own garage.
- Avoid using cardboard that has creases as this can weaken the chair.
- Use colored cardboard or spray paint to easily add color to your chair.
- Call your local recycling center to check for free pieces of recycled cardboard.
- Use stencils to create patterns on the chair.
- Cut out shapes from scrap pieces of cardboard and reattach them to the chair.
- Use a bigger box and bigger cardboard cut-outs for a larger piece of furniture.
- Cover the chair in felt or other fabric to resemble real furniture.
- Packaging tape, screws, and other fasteners can be used for extra support.
- When the glue dries, test your furniture carefully by easing onto it.
- Be cautious when working with cardboard to avoid getting paper-cuts.
The following resources will provide additional information and tutorials on making cardboard furniture:
- Foldschool ��� How To
- Cardboard Chair FAQ and Instructions
- Kid Designer ��� Comfortable Cardboard Chair
- The Chair Project
- How to Make a Cardboard Desk
- Cardboard Table
- Students Collaborate to Build Cardboard Chairs
- Making a Cardboard Table
- Cardboard Furniture Project (PDF)
- Designing Your Own Cardboard Chair Lesson
- Cardboard Chair Project
by: Kylie Richardson