Cardboard Creations

posted May 2, 2011, 6:20 PM by Daniel Vu   [ updated May 2, 2011, 7:24 PM by Jen Mankoff ]

Creating Sustainable Cardboard Solutions and Replacements for Common Household Goods.

Today people touch cardboard in some way shape or form on a daily basis. It’s used widely in shipping boxes, packaging material, and even as corrugated sheets. Most of theses applications require that the cardboard to be used a single time after which it is discarded. The use of cardboard has been growing extensively around the world. After having saturated the developed world it is slowing becoming vastly popular in developing countries that have a growing demand.

Our group's goal was to find ways in which cardboard, especially any that can be found lying around a typical household, could be better utilized since cardboard is rarely ever recycled to its complete potential.

The problem that we are addressing is to expose people to the various possibilities of utilizing waste cardboard in easy meaningful ways in their daily lives. We wanted to show people how we can recycle cardboard utilizing simple techniques that take minimal time and require few simple tools.

We wanted to target college students since as college students ourselves, we saw the need for products that were:
  • cheap
  • disposable/sanitary
  • recyclable
  • easily stored
  • easily assembled/disassembled for easy transport
This was because as college students who lived in one place for only a semester or two and many of us who were living on a budget, it was a priority to find some alternative to having to buy new things each time we moved. We also understood the necessity to find a better more sustainable way of living that did not involve throwing away materials that could be better put to use.

What we did was over the span of the project we had collected cardboard, researched possible designs by surveying people on what products they thought might be useful in their everyday life, studied DIY culture to find existing ideas and modify/improve upon them, and collected enough cardboard to create our objects.

The end result was 2 large furniture pieces -- a chair, and a coffee table/shelf unit, and 3 smaller designs -- laptop/tablet stand, cereal gift box, and a small trashcan.

Chair                                                                                                      Coffee Table

Laptop/tablet stand, gift boxes, trashcan

As part of our process, we wanted to share our designs and show our documented steps to constructing these pieces so that other people could then build them, themselves.

Laptop/Tablet designs

Gift box design

Todo: Step-by-step instructions for building coffee table and instructions for making chair

Coffee Table Guide
Tools: Ruler, box cutter, hot-glue gun with glue sticks, pencil or other marking tool

The coffee table uses 9 rectangles of cardboard that are 13"x22" for each of the rib inserts. 

The top and sides are made from a single piece of 48"x48" cardboard that is bent to form 2 sides that are 13"x48" and the top section that is 22"x48".