This is not a craft blog. (I don’t know what it is, but it is definitely not a craft blog.) All the same, I can’t resist writing about this thing I made, which is all a craft blog is, right? Hey, look, I made a thing! Anyway, this particular thing is a foot stool inspired by my BF who likes to squat next to the coffee table and put undue stress on his knees. It was also inspired by a lack of funds and an excess of cardboard and time. Here’s how I did it.
List of Ingredients
Lots of corrugated cardboard: Two or three large moving boxes ought to do it. If the stool you’re making measures 1 cubic foot, say, you’ll need 16 pieces of cardboard measuring 12” x 12”.
A box cutter
Batting for the sides and some thicker padding for the seat
Duct or packing tape
Fabric: I used less than a yard.
A staple gun or really strong adhesive
Metal ruler (optional)
Cutting mat (optional)
Decide on the dimensions of your project. Mine is about 14” long, 12” wide, and 12” tall. These measurements are based on a piece of particle board that I had lying around and that I used as a template. But you could make this stool pattern into something the size of a double bed and it would still support your weight… probably. That’s because at the core of the stool is matrix of cardboard panels which—even when shoddily constructed—is super sturdy.
Start by cutting five panels the same height and width that you want the stool to be, in my case 12” by 12”. Then cut another five panels that measure the same height and length as the finished stool, or 14” by 12”. Precise measurements are a good thing here.
Next draw a horizontal line through the center of one of the panels. This line should run perpendicular to the corrugation lines. Then divide the bottom half of the panel with five evenly-spaced lines. Refer to super-crude diagram below:
If your panel is 12” across the vertical lines should be 2” apart. Cut along each of the vertical lines removing a thin strip of cardboard each time. The space should leave enough room for another piece of cardboard to fit very snugly inside. Repeat with all the panels. (Hint: use the first panel you cut to trace lines on all the other panels of that size.) Once you have five slots cut in all ten panels (Did I mention I have lots of time on my hands?) fit the panels together until you have this lovely, three-dimensional, honeycomb doohickey with flush edges on all sides.
At this stage you could stop and have a functional, if slightly uncomfortable seat. If you want to make it all pretty-like, take a deep breath and cut six more panels of cardboard. The four side panels should be the same dimensions as the inner panels, except for an additional .5 to .75 inch in height. This extra bit will hold the top cushion in place.
Tape the sides together with duct or packing tape and check to be sure that fits snugly around the matrix. Take the seat panels and tape them together, one on top of the other. (You could use one cardboard panel for the seat, but two will prevent you getting staples in your bottom. It’s a safer bet.)
Wrap the sides in a piece of batting a few inches longer at each end than the cardboard. You can glue it in place, but it’s not necessary. Sew a piece of fabric into a tube also leaving a few extra inches of fabric at each end. Slide the fabric over the batting and fold it over the top. Push the matrix down into the tube to hold the fabric in place. Then turn it over and tuck the bottom edge of the fabric in between the matrix and the cardboard sides.
To make the seat, simply layer some padding (I used some pillow filler with a piece of batting) on a piece of fabric and place the doubled cardboard on top. Fold the fabric over and staple it into place and nestle the finished seat into the cardboard base. And voila: furniture.