It’s been a little while since I’ve shared a project here on Hellobee, but I’m glad to be back! I started a part-time design job in the fall and never got around to making some projects I had bouncing around in my head. Slated for future projects, boxes were fast accumulating in the house and under constant threat of being Hulk smashed by my youngest, so I figured I should do something with them quick! And thus, a mini cardboard chair was made.

I was going for Danish, mid-century modern, but without the cushions and missing design details (like tapered legs) it may not be so obvious. But the armrest template can be modified and square cushions can be sewn if you’re skilled in that area. Here’s how to make your own chair:

You will need:
Cardboard sheets (I used a couple medium-sized boxes) – largest chair piece is 7.5″ x 9″
X-acto knife
Metal ruler
Pencil
Hot glue gun
Printout (onto cardstock is best) of Chair Template

 

Step 1: Cut out template and trace onto cardboard. To add some structural strength, I doubled all my pieces, so you will want 4 armchair pieces. Cut out with ruler and X-acto knife. I typically do two passes with the blade when cutting corrugated cardboard — one shallow cut for precision, and a second, slightly deeper cut completely through the cardboard. Steady the ruler with your free hand but make sure your fingers are clear from the path of the blade!

Step 2: My four armchair pieces are below. I decided that my two blemished pieces (that are marked “INSIDE”) will face in. Sandwich two armchair pieces together, applying hot glue to the “inside” of one of the pieces. Now you have two, double-layered armchair pieces.

Step 3: Cut out seat and backrest parts.

Seat measures 7.5″ x 9″
Backrest measures 7″ x 9″

Again, cut out two pieces of each — double the work, but double the strength. While I should’ve done this for the armrest pieces, cut out the seat and backrest pieces so the cardboard flutes (the wavy layer of cardboard inside) are perpendicular when you glue the pieces together. I took this photo after the fact, but I hope it communicates what I’m trying to say! This will help keep the seat and backrest from caving in, though I’m guessing my kids will make a pass at trying to sit in the chair so we’ll see how the chair really holds up then! Set aside the backrest piece.

Step 4: Before attaching the seat to the armrests, lightly pencil a centered guideline (0.5″ in, to be precise) along the inside, bottom rail of both armchair pieces. Make a tick mark about 3″ in from the BACK leg (the one that slopes out) as I did in the bottom left picture below.

Step 5: Carefully apply a thick line of glue along the 7.5″ long edge of the seat piece. Align with the pencil guides you made in step 4. The back of the seat goes only as far back as the small tick mark. Complete the other side with the second armrest.

Step 6: Now to finish off with the backrest. Apply glue to the 9″ long, bottom edge of the backrest, slide in between the armrests and attach on top of the seat.

Step 7: This very last part is a bit tricky, but only because the space is so tight. Gently push the backrest back so that it slants a bit and apply a bit of glue along the edge that butts up against the armrest (see top right photo). I recommend applying glue from the backside of the chair so in case the glue gets messy, any mistakes won’t be seen from the front. Repeat on the other side, and let set by resting the chair on its side and weighing down with an object that’s medium weight like my fancy but useful stainless-steel travel mug.

I let the chair sit untouched for a few hours before I was comfortable removing the mug. The kids still have yet to play with it, but I’m hoping the double layers will hold up a little longer than the cardboard bed I made way back, especially since hot glue and cardboard bond surprisingly well.