Work in Progress: Cardboard Cut

Work in Progress: Cardboard Cut

The other day I went to IKEA. As you might know, in Ikea they pack most things to flat cardboard boxes. I left with a few of them, came home and assembled my furniture. Since I have a tendency to throw nothing away, then obviously I didn’t discard my new cardboard boxes, but instead stored them behind my couch. Why, I could need them one day!

And so I did. A few weeks later I was bored and remembered that I have all this cardboard just sitting behind my couch. It had been a while since I started a new project and my fingers were itching to make something. My computer was already full of patterns, a result of playing with  my favorite shape – triangle (does anyone else besides me have a favorite shape?), so it was about time to make my hands dirty. Or cardboardy, in this case.


Usually the stuff that I make from cardboard doesn’t have a very edible look. I make cardboard models to test the overall shape or size of the final product. I still like to present them while presenting the final product since they give such a huge contrast between the starting process and the final product. But this time it was different. I wanted to make cardboard beautiful. I had a mission: to create something that is easy to produce and affordable, yet aesthetic, functional and also recyclable. Something completely different.

Another goal was to find an optimal way of production. Something that would allow me to keep an eye on quality and at the same time be efficient. Cutting cardboard to make expensive handicraft lamps with the speed of 1 lamp per day is really not my cup of tea.

IMG_20150227_155005488My first full size model looked as good as a hand cut cardboard project can. Okay from the distance… not that great when standing right next to it. Luckily it still looked cool enough to continue working on it.

I was struggling with connecting the parts for a while. I wanted to keep the product glue-free and easy to assemble. At first it wasn’t really possible to assemble it at all. As it all comes down to finding the strong suit of cardboard, I still had some work to do.


The answer to my quests: laser cutting! Sleek lines, precise angles, minimal material loss. Perfect for handling cardboard. Also, did you know that laser cutting cardboard smells like an Estonian smoke sauna? Mmm…

Laser cutting took some experimenting, of course. At first my lamps didn’t hold together. Okay, the slots were too wide – I forgot to take the thickness of a laser beam into account. So, next test – and the slots became too narrow. It took me a while to get to the perfect result, with a moody laser cutter not being of much help. Still, after each test the product started making more sense. It was all coming together.