Hi Tyler, that’s an excellent question! At first thought I bet you wouldn’t think that it's possible to make a strong chair out of cardboard since it's such a bendable material, right? After all, cardboard is fairly easy to fold, easy to rip, etc. However, give this a try: fold a piece of cardboard in half, and stand it up with the fold running up and down. You’ll notice that this is actually fairly strong and you could probably put a pretty heavy book on top of the piece of cardboard without it collapsing.
By using a whole bunch of these V-shaped pieces of cardboard, you can actually make something that is strong enough to support your weight! V-shapes aren’t the only shapes that will work; you can also put the cardboard together in a checkerboard pattern with the pieces running up and down. You can experiment and see what other cardboard arrangements are strong...
Believe it or not, there was an entire *class* at the University of Illinois that was all about making strong cardboard structures. Most of these sculptures could stand by themselves, and some of them were even strong enough to stand on!
(republished on 07/12/06)