[Maker’s Note] Behind-the-scenes: Reflections & Bloopers for Cardboard Furniture Production

by Yun-Han Lin

A few months ago, I did a story titled Corrugated Fiberboard Creations, as a preface of our production of furniture using cardboard. Later on, I received an invitation for introducing a brand of hot-melt adhesive (HMA) glue gun by making a video about building a piece of furniture. The following are the production process and my reflections.


1. Design

We pitched three ideas to our sponsor about the furniture to be made.

A. Bench
We thought about the unicorn doll in the animation Despicable Me to make a small bench, and also looked up some photos of benches with similar design for reference. Expected materials to be used include cardboard, cloth, cotton, foam, and cotton thread or wool.


B. Small chaise longue
This model is meant to be a small and medium size for 1 to 2 people. Common designs are sofas, with a one-piece cloth wrapping the structure and soft cushions. We also share videos of similar design with our sponsors for their reference. Materials to be used include cardboard, cloth, and foam.



C. Recliner
For the third model, we are thinking about chairs with special structures; geometric structures for instance. It could also serve as a large-scale sculpture that is interactive art installations. However, to present the design in such a structure, there will be less of the use of fabrics and cushions, so that some parts of the cardboard can be shown. Materials to be used are cardboard and cloth.

2. Materials

The following are the materials mentioned in the video for our production.

A. Corrugated cardboard
As mentioned in the other article, corrugated cardboard can be divided based on the thickness, such as A flute (5 mm), B flute (4 mm), and C flute (3 mm). Since we are making a model that can support a human body that weighs about 50 to 90 kg, we opted for AB flute (7.8 mm). I looked up information from two companies that produce cardboard. One is Aqua Janice. They do wholesale only, but the price is relatively lower for each piece. The other is Ancheng, whose unit price is two to three times higher than that of Aqua Janice, but they allow the purchase of single unit cardboard. We were only thinking of using a dozen, so it was more cost-effective to buy from Ancheng.

B. Foam for cushion
The foam used for our sofa comes in different level of softness. There is only one kind of foam that is neither soft nor hard, and we found it in the rubber shops around the rear station of Taipei Main Station. The size was about 180 x 60 cm, and it cost about NT$ 800; we just went for this type to make it easier for our production.

C. Wrap cloth
The fabric used to wrap the sofa was purchased at the Yongle Fabric Market in Taipei. I went for plain cotton, linen, or canvas, and I knew little about the price and quality of fabric, so I was thinking about buying any random one. Yet, most of them were quite expensive, and it was not until the third shop I went into did I find Hua Hsing Fabrics, whose cotton and linen cloth comes in good quality and the price is the lowest compared to that of others! I do recommend this shop for those fabric enthusiasts out there.

3. Adhesive (HMA) glue gun

Although I learned about the glue gun this time only because of the sponsorship, it is by far the best I have ever used, but the price is 10 to 20 times higher than the other two bought from the stationery store, which cost about only two or three hundred dollars. The cheaper ones are not handy, while the professional one this time heats up fast, with stable glue discharge. Users can also set the temperature based on different needs or types of glue strips, and this adjustment actually improves the workflow. It is also highly recommended those who would often need one for works of hobbies or professional use.



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