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DIY: Cardboard Projects-Book

Rack and a side table

N K Srinivasan


Cardboard furniture is fun to make and rather easy; you

do not need to use power tools. You need to use a box

cutter --be careful with this.

You can assemble cardboard parts using a glue [school

white glue will do] and decorate with colorful paper or

paint the surface with poster paint or water color or

acrylic paints.

cardboard furniture is a green stuff--environmentally

friendly and recyclable. It costs very little except for

your time! It is light and easy to carry

It can be

quite strong, as you know that boats and even bicycles

have been made using cardboard.

Here I describe two projects: a "Book Rack" that can sit

on your table or any shelf;

a "Side Table" to keep coffee cups or time piece or


Keep ready a number of corrugated cardboard sheets,

taken from container boxes.

Materials Required:

1 Cardboard sheets [corrugated, 2 or 3 ply]

2 White glue or other glues. Do not use glue gun.

3 A box cutter or X-acto knife

4 Colored paper for decoration.

5 A rule to measure dimensions

6 Scissors

7 Paints--poster or water-color or acrylic.

[My preference is for acrylic color paints.]

8 Sealing tape or duct tape [for project 2.]

Project 1--Book Rack

The rack has three parts:

1 The base plate

2 The side plate

3 Bracket for support.


1 Base Plate

--Make the base plate using three sheets of corrugated


--Cut a rectangle of 16 in x 9in sheet.

---Cut out 2 in squares from the four corners and


You are left with two stubs along the width; the stubs

are of size 5in x 2in.

---Bond the three identical sheets one over the other,

by using white glue


the glue using a plastic

knife uniformly over the total area and press the sheets

together,after stacking ,using your palms, press gently;

later keep heavy books on top and allow the glue to set

for 2 hours.

Now you have formed the base plate.

Side Plates

You need two side plates.


--Cut a square sheet of 9in x9in.

---Draw a line 1 in from one of the edges.

--On this line, draw a slot of 5in x 1/2 in , centered

along the side.

---make a slot of 5in x 1/2 in , using the box cutter.

--- make curved edges at the top corners for nice


Note : The slot width of 1/2in is arbitrary---it depends

on the thickness of your base plate, which will be

inserted through the slot.

You have to paste two sheets of this shape to make one

side plate.Glue as before and let it set for 2 hours,

under a heavy book.

--make two such side plates.

Support Brackets

You need two support brackets to keep the side plates

firmly positioned.


---Cut a slot at the edge of the pieces , one inch above

the bottom side; the slot dimensions are 1 in x 1/2 in.

Note that the support bracket slides into the stub of

the base plate and touches the side plate to keep the

side plate secure and prevent side plate slipping out.

---Make a curved shape for the top outer edge of the


--paste the two pieces together with glue and press with

a weighty book.

--Allow the glue to set for 2 hours.


Now comes the fun part of the assembly.

---Insert the two side plates on either side of the base

plate through the slots, keeping the side plate

vertical.Align properly the edge of the side plate near

the slots; make minor adjustments as needed. Fill the

gap at the slot with lot of glue.

---Insert the support bracket on either side into the

stub of the base plate, all the way till the edge of the

support touches the side plate. Apply glue along the

vertical lines of the bracket.

vertical lines of the bracket. ---Paint and decorate the base plate,side plate and the support.You can

---Paint and decorate the base plate,side plate and the

support.You can use paints or pictures cut from paper

images or any other method


free to use your

imagination, keeping with any theme you may have in mind

for the rack.

--Cover the edges of the cardboard plates with sealing

tape to cover the ugly corrugations.

The image of the rack is given above. I have used white

acrylic paint for the side plates and brackets and

pasted a sticker-- paper for the base plate.

Enjoy and display on your table/shelf!

Project 2: A Side Table

This project uses some engineering principles since we

want the table to carry some weight and it should not

wobble or buckle.

The table consists of three parts:

1 Central Pillar

2 Top plate or table top

3 Bottom plate

Central Pillar:

For this, we construct a central leg or pillar with

triangular tube construction.

Triangular tubes:

You need six tubes.

Each tube is of length 18 in and with cross section of

a triangle [equilateral] with width 3 in.

---Cut a rectangular sheet of 9 in width and 18 in


---along the length, make two creases separated by 3 in.

You can make the crease with the blunt edge of a knife

or cutter. Do this gently.

---Gently fold the sheet along the crease, so that you

get a tube of 3in side and a triangle shape and 18 in


---Use sealing tape or duct tape along the length to

secure the edges so that the tube is firmly formed.

.Make sure that the tape firmly holds the sides to form

a rigid tube.

--make six tubes.

---The central pillar is formed by placing the six tubes

vertically together [to form a hexagonal cross section]

and a rigid pillar. Again use tape to secure all the six

tubes together. Wrap the tape tightly, so that the tubes

are kept together.

Top Plate or table top --Cut cardboard pieces of 11in x11in --4 numbers --Paste them

Top Plate or table top

--Cut cardboard pieces of 11in x11in --4


--Paste them one above the other, using the

instructions given above and setting with

the glue for 2 hours, using a heavy book to

press on the sheets.

---Cover the top surface with a paper sheet

or plastic laminate or any board.

surface with a paper sheet or plastic laminate or any board. The bottom plate : --Cut

The bottom plate :

--Cut two pieces of cardboard 9in x 9in and

paste them together.


Now comes the fun part.

-- Just paste the top plate to the central

pillar and the bottom plate to the other

side of the pillar. Liberally apply glue to

secure the bond


some heavy book to

press well.Allow 2 hours for the glue to


--Cover the sides of the central pillar with

paper or paint the surface in any manner you


---Paste or paint over the exposed parts of

bottom plate.

The central pillar construction and the

finished side table are shown in the images.

Contact for

additional details/instructional help.

Have fun with construction of cardboard

furniture for your home or for gifts to