Cardboard Chair

Course: Studio 1 

Semester: Fall 2019, 4 weeks

Design Prompt: Cardboard Chair 

Skills Developed: Furniture design, human factors design, cardboard folding and tabbing, structural design


  •  Hold 200 pounds

  •  Built in less than 2 hours

  •  Made from two 4'x8' sheets of cardboard or less

  •  Constructed from only cardboard (No tape, staples, glue, etc.) 

  •  Visually appealing and comfortable


In the early stages of this project, I experimented with several chair shapes, proportions, and styles. I hoped to design a chair for use in a lobby or waiting area, so I took into account that these chairs should be seamless and include a feature to keep the user's belongings safe. I chose to include a notched back for the user to place their bag, purse, or jacket while they wait. 

My strategy for this project was to first design the shell of the chair to the desired dimensions based on average human dimensions and then figure out all the folding, tabbing, and structural elements. The greatest challenge by far was coming up with a simple, yet effective internal structure that connected with the shell of the chair and its tabbing while maintaining a clean, seamless appearance.   

Ideation & Iteration

Solving proportion, folding, construction, and tabbing

Quarter-scale and half-scale models. I was only satisfied with my internal structure once the half-scale could hold my weight because the material strength doesn't scale with the chair size. 

Final cardboard chair:

  •   Tested to 200+ pounds

  •   Built in 1 hour and 50 minutes

  •   Made from less than two 4'x8' sheets of cardboard

  •   Constructed entirely out of cardboard

  •   Visually appealing and comfortable