Cardboard Furniture

Did you ever have one of those cardboard kitchen sets as a kid?


Photo courtesy of Edeenut Creates

Or, maybe your mother helped you make a simply splendid cardboard cottage …


Photo courtesy of A Girl and a Glue Gun

My siblings and I were famous for fashioning elaborate forts out of boxes and blankets (yeah, I might have slipped a doily or two into our DIY décor!).

No matter what you constructed with cardboard, it was fabulous, wasn’t it?

Sturdy, stylish, and real.

So, here’s a point to ponder:

Would you furnish your home with cardboard today?

Here’s a pic of my husband’s side “desk.” It sits right next to his real desk and is the place where he sorts orders every morning. When I’ve offered to replace it with something more “officey-looking,” he gives me that look and says, “Why do that when I have so many boxes coming and going?”


Zach Rotholz is willing to bet that grownups are still as game as my husband is.



Photo courtesy of Chairgami

In the photo above, Zach is perched on one of his creations, collectively known as Chairgami.

“I have a long love affair with cardboard. I began by playing in large refrigerator boxes and teaching children in Central Park to engineer with cardboard. Later, I was a cardboard apprentice at Adaptive Design and designed equipment for disabled children,” Zach explains. “This evolved into a senior project in mechanical engineering and then into a pop-up storefront in New Haven, Connecticut.”

The concept is as simple as it sounds.

Chairgami makes tables, chairs, bookshelves—even an iPhone case—out of Triple Wall, a three-ply corrugated board that is “tough yet forgiving.” The chairs will last about a year, according to Co.Exist, while the tables can make it up to four years. Fortunately, the pieces are pretty affordable, and they’re easy on the earth—no glues or plastic fasteners required, and the board is made from recycled and FSC-certified fibers.


Photo courtesy of Chairgami


From a mother’s perspective, it may sound a bit bonkers when you consider the inevitability of sippy-cup spills, grubby paws, and the occasional tantrum …

but Zach Rotholz is convinced there are plenty of other people who will opt to “play house” in order to help protect the planet.

“I’m ready to save the world,” he says, “One cardboard chair at a time.


Leave a comment 3 Comments

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    In the university town of Gainesville, each semester end results in unwanted furniture piled on the side of the road getting rained on till it gets picked up. Sofas, broken desks, chairs etc. were all purchased cheaply and did not survive the student living. Zach’s idea would be a perfect solution for student furniture! Eco friendly, functional, and I think a great solution to the problem of cheap and wasted furniture. Just think about all the college towns across the US like mine dealing with broken down, soggy junk every semester clogging up the landfills. I say Zach Rotholz is on to something here!

  2. Deborah Granay says:

    Does anybody out there remember the original Barbie Dreamhouse? I received one for my 8th birthday in 1960. All of the furniture included with the house was constructed from cardboard similarly to Chairgami and the pieces were very sturdy.
    My Dad had to follow detailed instructions as to how to assemble the furniture. I had opened the gift before school and my Dad was finishing up the assembly of the furniture when I got home from school. Yes, it took him that long and he was an engineer.
    I especially remember the easy chair which looked very similar to the armless chair above. Why not cardboard furniture? If it was good enough for Barbie, it is good enough for temp use for us!

  3. Denise says:

    Watching my little ones and now their little ones my husband always said we were just going to give them cardboard boxes for Christmas because they always seem to get much more enjoyment from playing with the box more than the gift inside. Of course we never did give them those as gifts but it sure opens up a child’s imagination when you give them a box to play with.
    I think these are a wonderful idea! And saves the landfills to boot.

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