How to Build a Home From Recycled Cardboard

How to Build a Home From Recycled Cardboard

How to Build a Home From Recycled Cardboard

Building a home from recycled cardboard may seem like an unusual idea, but it can actually be a creative and sustainable way to construct an inexpensive dwelling. Here is an in-depth guide on how to build your own cardboard home:

Selecting Cardboard Materials

The first step is sourcing clean, sturdy cardboard to use for building. Some good options include:

  • Appliance boxes – These are durable and provide flat sheets to work with. Look for boxes from refrigerators, washing machines, etc.

  • Mattress boxes – Mattress companies use thick, stiff cardboard to package their products. These boxes are excellent for structural pieces.

  • Shipping pallets – Wooden shipping pallets can be broken down into long boards and pieces of plywood to frame and support the cardboard.

  • Food crates – Sturdy produce and beverage crates, often made from plastic and wood, can supplement the cardboard pieces.

Make sure the cardboard does not have extensive printing, wax coatings, or other contaminants. Plain brown cardboard works best. Thicker cardboard pieces are ideal as they provide more rigidity and strength.

Design and Layout

Once you have sourced adequate cardboard, the next step is designing the layout and structure for the home. Consider the following:

  • Size – Estimate the square footage needed for the rooms and layout. Smaller cardboard homes under 200 sq ft will be easier to manage.

  • Shape – Rectangular, domed, or circular shaped homes can all be created from cardboard. The shape affects structural needs.

  • Room divisions – Decide how you want to divide up the interior space into separate rooms and areas. Cardboard walls and supports provide division.

  • Insulation – Strategically layering cardboard or stuffing interior walls with insulation will help regulate temperature.

  • Support – Design a framework using thick cardboard beams and columns to provide fundamental underlying support.

  • Safety – Ensure proper fire proofing using gypsum board and fire retardant sprays. Include emergency exits and fire extinguishers.

Structural Construction

The building phase involves assembling the cardboard components into the structural elements for the home. Key steps include:

  • Construct a base floor using overlapping sheets of thick cardboard. Secure with adhesives.

  • Erect bearing walls and columns using corrugated cardboard bonded with construction adhesive. Use triangular shapes for strength.

  • Build the roof frame from cardboard beams and cardboard sheeting. Use plastic sheeting for waterproofing.

  • Add interior walls and dividers. Leave openings for doors and windows.

  • Seal all edges and joints thoroughly using caulk and spray foam to prevent moisture issues.

Use lots of heavy duty box tape, bolts, glue, and fasteners to secure the cardboard for maximum durability. Apply weatherproof coatings as needed.

Finishing Touches

To complete the cardboard abode, apply the following finishing details:

  • Install real windows and doors. Cut openings to size using a utility knife.

  • Add insulation between all walls and the roof. This provides climate control and sound dampening.

  • Apply water-resistant sealants on the roof and all exterior surfaces for weatherproofing.

  • Cover interior walls with recycled drywall or plastic sheeting for an enclosed feeling.

  • Build furniture like beds, tables, and storage from additional cardboard and recycled materials.

  • Decorate with paint, wallpaper,photos, and recycled artwork to give the home personality.

  • Set up electrical, plumbing, and ventilation systems and WiFi/cable.

With the right planning and technique, a cardboard house can provide innovative, affordable, and eco-friendly housing with a unique charm! Let your imagination guide the design.