Cardboard Shelves


Having recently arrived in Boston I am still very much in the moving-in stage.  With my books still in boxes I decided that shelves would be a useful thing to make.  And what better material to make shelves out of then cheap and readily available cardboard?


The assignment called for press-fit construction so I ran some tests to discover the preferable method of joining two perpendicular sheets of cardboard.


Below are my test pieces.  There is a sheet of three types of female connections and two male connectors.





Immediately I realized the "V" shaped connector would not work due to cardboard's lack of flexibility along the axis parallel to its face.  I attached the "T" shaped male connector to the "T" shaped female end and fastened a loop of strong zip-tie to the other end of the male connector.




I then filled my backpack with a healthy load of books and let it hang.




Amazingly, the first thing to break was the zip-tie, not the cardboard.  I was satisfied that the "T" connector would be sufficient to hold the amount of weight I expect to put on my shelves.



Though my shelf construction would function as completely press-fit I found that gluing the shelf segments together significantly increased their ability to support weight.  Here is a shot of a fully loaded shelf.



And here is the final product with some stylized shelves.


And some detail on the "T" joints.