Tired of running around looking for the perfect presents for the folks on your list? Or maybe the thought of all that holiday packaging waste is getting you in a preemptive tizzy? Relax, and let Plenty be your guide with these simple DIY gifts. Using mostly materials you already have around the house, you’ll be able to whip up offerings that are far more personal than anything you could buy premade.


Adapted from dangerouslyfun.com

With all the boxes you’ll have lying around after the holiday gifts are opened, this project presents a great opportunity for reuse. It also makes a useful host or hostess gift on New Year’s Eve, when seating may be in short supply.

Requiring just three large sheets of cardboard, this two-foot stool can seat folks up to 250 pounds. If you don’t have any boxes big enough to fold to the necessary dimensions, stop by your local art-supply store and pick up some recycled cardboard —it should only set you back a few bucks.


  • Three 3/8”-thick corrugated cardboard sheets: One 30” x 40” (Section A), One 23.5” x 48” (Section B), One 24” x 72” (Section C)
  • White glue
  • Extra-large compass
  • Box cutter
  • Pen or marker
  • Yardstick

1. Start with Section A, which will form the seat: Set your compass to an 11.5-inch diameter and draw six separate circles (make them close together so that you have enough room for all six on one cardboard sheet). Cut the circles out, glue them together in a stack, and set aside to dry.

2. Next, for Section C, measure and draw lines along your cardboard as shown, to make a two-inch border along the top edge and a one-inch strip along the middle. With the pen or marker, mark every two inches along the borders and every inch along the middle rim, then connect to make a series of 18 diamond shapes (to 36 inches, halfway along the sheet). Using the box cutter, carefully cut out the centers of the diamonds, which will allow the cardboard to fold in and create the stool’s hourglass shape. Cut out the large shaded areas shown to create the seat’s rims.

3. For Section B, you won’t need to draw or cut anything — just roll the sheet of cardboard up tightly to create a column. This will be the weight-bearing element of the stool.

4. Test-fit everything before gluing together as shown. If anything does not line up, trim off excess cardboard a little at a time until it fits. Be sure Section B will fit inside Section C before gluing. Glue all parts together along the seams as shown, taking care to make sure none of the glue is visible.

5. Let the glue dry completely (a full day is best) before you sit on the stool. It should be quite sturdy, but always sit fairly still on it, avoiding tilting or leaning, which will wear it out quickly.

Story by Christy Harrison. This article originally appeared in Plenty in December 2006. This story was added to MNN.com in June 2009.

Copyright Environ Press 2006.

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