Win a bedside table from ‘The Cardboard Man’

Today’s guest blog is from ‘The Cardboard Man’ aka Gareth Swarte. He came up with cardboard man logothe idea for an ‘unewsual’ business (combining the unusual and the new) – making and selling cardboard furniture. ‘Cardboard furniture?’ we hear you say…we’ll pass over to Gareth who explains more. We also have three cardboard bedside tables to give away. Your children can come up with their own ideas to customise and decorate their tables, making them totally unique. Scroll down to find out how to enter.


The Cardboard Man

The best thing about making cardboard furniture is explaining to people what I make. Cardboard manWhen I say ‘I make cardboard furniture’ they look at me with a quizzical expression and a smile, replying ‘Cardboard Furniture?’.

The idea for cardboard furniture originally formed from a conversation between myself
(Gareth Swarte) and my partner (Jasmine Sarwar) at a small business talk in London. After revealing to my partner my childhood obsession with making toys out of cardboard cereal boxes, at one point I even made a malteser dispenser, the light bulb hit… cardboard is perfect for making furniture.

I approached the Start-Up Loan programme, which is helping people across the UK to set up their own businesses, and received £6k funding and business support to set it up.

With a bit of further research, and a flight abroad, soon we had our first range of cardboard
bedside tables arriving at our doorstep, with some very awkward looks from the neighbours.

To make things worse, in order to cut costs I had to store the cardboard in my room. I now
wake up to it every day.

Soon after, at Grand Designs Live in Birmingham, we exposed a wide variety of people to
our Idea. Some people loved it, some were confused but all came up and touched it. People
were amazed, some didn’t even realise it was cardboard due to its design. We designed the
product to fit in with the home, especially smaller homes.

But it was parents with small children loved the bedside tables. They loved the fact that Cardboard man - beside tablethe material was softer than regular furniture, making it safer for little daredevils, but strong and water resistant enough to survive years of abuse. I often had to explain that, unlike your cereal box or Ikea box, this cardboard is strong, it is used to ship heavy goods around the world.

The blank frame also meant that children walked away with a million and one ideas on how
they wanted to decorate their own bedside tables at home, much to the bemusement of their parents.

cardboard box coloured

After the event we left with a new sense of purpose and 4,998 leftover leaflets, which we
mainly use for collages and heating our student home in the winter.

The main thing that I have learnt from this experience is that all of this would not have been possible without the support of my loving partner and my infinitely patient and loving parents.

Even now, coming to the end of University, I still go to my parents for advice and moral
support. They supported my idea from the start and let me pursue my dream, instead of
pushing me towards graduate employment, like so many of my peers. Though they still like to laugh at the idea that I still play with cardboard 18 years later.


Cardboard table

We have three cardboard bedside tables to giveaway. To enter simply leave a comment below answering the following question: ‘What do you look for when buying children’s furniture?’. Usual Netmums terms and conditions apply. We will pick out three lucky winners from all comments received by midnight on 31st March.


Find out more about The Cardboard Man and visit their website here.

Follow him on Twitter @iamcardboardman

About The Netmums Blog

The Netmums Blog brings you a behind the scenes look at Netmums, as well as some fabulous guest bloggers and an up to date look at what's new on our Parent Bloggers Network.
This entry was posted in Art for kids, Competition, Giveaway, Small businesses and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

69 Responses to Win a bedside table from ‘The Cardboard Man’

  1. Fran Burkill says:

    Nothing to age orientated so they won’t decide they’re too grown up for it in 12 months time and nothing with a shiny surface so I’m not constantly trying to polish sticky handprints out!

  2. Samantha Christian says:

    I look durability wipe clean sturdy and funky child friendly when buying furniture for my children

  3. Dana Marsden says:

    Something that will stand up to 3 children running around.

  4. Safety and storage potential

  5. Catherine Lister says:

    A good price and sturdy design, also not too complicated to put together

  6. Kelly McNeil says:

    I’ve bought my son furniture based on colour and size. Fun bright colours mainly primary colours and nothing oversize as boys like to climb.
    This concept is genius, he attends a weekly arts class and would love doing this for his big boys room.

  7. Emma Peachey says:

    Something that they will not grow out of and claim is ‘babyish’ after a year. Simple and stylish, with a funky twist.

  8. Andrea Butler says:

    Some thing sturdy with no sharp corners and that they hopefully won’t jam their fingers in it. I like things that are nice bright colours, and preferably not too expensive.

  9. Amanda says:

    Something that will allow crayon scribbles to be washed off! 🙂

  10. deborah schofield says:

    Something that will withstand little hands

  11. Emma Russell says:

    Something a bit different, something that not everyone else has!

  12. Mary says:

    I look for something that has a lot of storage and fits in with my daughters pink explosion room.

  13. nicola chacko says:

    I consider price, size/storage and then kid appeal when looking for children’s furniture.

  14. Amanda says:

    Durability and timelessness

  15. leah says:

    Durable and fun to use

  16. Emma Larkman says:

    I usually buy used furniture that is sturdier than much of the modern stuff within my budget. I’m seriously impressed with this and love that children ( and adults) can put their personal touch on these.

  17. Cindy says:

    Durability, easy to clean, fancy and probably something no one else has around..

  18. emma says:

    price , durability, size , that it safe for young kids

  19. kim plant says:

    make sure it doesn’t chip easily and sharpness or corners x

  20. Clare Bryant says:

    When looking for furniture for my 5 year old daughter’s room, we look for practical, sturdy furniture that won’t look oversized in her small room!. However, we do also like it to be pretty and girly. Something a bit different is ideal and I love that you can decorate these yourself. Her room has been recently decorated and we have an old bed to revamp for her. I love that this bedside table could be revamped to match her bed!

  21. Wendy Beach says:

    I look for good value, something that is going to last and can be adapted to suit future needs too!

  22. Maisie moo says:

    What a wonderful idea! I’m very impressed and wish I had come up with the idea myself!! 😉 I don’t want to spend too much money on something they might break, damage, draw all over, put stickers on or ultimately outgrow! But I like something oldy-y, vintage-y and with character, too… I still haven’t properly gotten around to properly furnishing our home yet but that’s the kind of furniture I’d like!

  23. Emily Eden says:

    Safe, sturdy and inexpensive. These look great!

  24. Clair logan says:

    I look for something that has that it’s make for a child’s bedroom. Non grown style up but still stands up to its purpose. 🙂

  25. Toni Glenn says:

    price first and foremost, but of course it has to look good too

  26. Kerry valla says:


  27. Rachael Guinness says:

    Functional furniture that can take a knock or two!

  28. Sue Stimpson says:

    I look for practical pieces, that will stand the test of time, can be cleaned – as she will get it dirty and no sharp edges.

  29. Maxine Goodfellow says:

    Something funky and fun.

  30. amanda hayes says:

    Combination of price, looks, storage space and something that will wont be grown out of too quickly

  31. Florence hammond says:

    Classic design that will last

  32. Jane Wright says:

    I love childrens furniture to be “child sized”.. Think that sometimes it is quite daunting for youngsters when having to sleep in their own rooms, that they have full sized furniture. I remember it myself as a child

  33. Suzanne Wallbridge says:

    Durability! And something that fits in the fairly small space we have.

  34. Carol Hassard says:

    A smooth finish so that it is wipe clean but more important is the design and colour. Something that my child likes and makes him smile.

  35. Susan Carroll says:

    Low price and a good match to the room’s decor

  36. Bev Hopkins says:

    Something durable that will last them for years & withstand spillages, drawings & temper tantrums!

  37. Kelly Harvey says:

    I look for good value for money. It must be long lasting, a practical design which is in keeping with their room and no sharp dangerous edges.

  38. zaraz says:

    Safety,cost,will it become out of fashion quickly, how child proof is it baring in mind most children climb,pull etc.

  39. Aniela Radu says:

    To be safe!!! To have round corners and to be funny

  40. Anne Ribertson says:

    Usually I look for durability but, now I’ve read this, compost-ability when it reaches the end of usefulness is obviously a must!

  41. Jessica L says:

    My kids have a mishmash of furniture in their rooms, we don’t really go for ‘matching’ furniture. Price is always a consideration, but also sturdiness and practicality – easy for kids to open etc, but not damage. I tend to go for bright plain colours, but nothing too babyish that they’ll outgrow.

  42. Lisa Cleaver says:

    I try to balance price with style first and then I look at the durability of the furniture. This is a cracking idea! I’m not surprised there are really good reviews on it. I’m looking to get one for my grand daughters room for when she stays over, and a cardboard bedside cabinet would be perfect. I would leave it ‘au naturel’ so that my grand daughter, who is two, could draw or paint her own designs on it. What a fab keepsake to have too.One last thing, the fact that this furniture is made of cardboard means it is bio degradable, so good for the environment!! What more could one want! : )

  43. Francesca Bell says:

    Something sturdy, with storage room that doesn’t take up too much space and will last a good few years!

  44. Safety, style and durability

  45. michelle molloy says:

    i look for something that is durable, can grow with my daughter, that both of us like and is within my budget

  46. Nicolle Hill says:

    Hmm… well my daughter is a complete devil, she just runs head first into things with no thought at all of getting hurt! So I tend to look for things I can toddler-proof or things that are padded or soft. Durability is also handy as I don’t have the money to buy several replacements for items. Storage options are always good too, kids always end up with SO MUCH STUFF.
    I love the customisable features of this! My daughter is going through a “draw on EVERYTHING!” phase, so this would be perfect! Haha

  47. Vikki Bond says:

    When i look am seeking stuff thats going to last where maybe you can change handles for bigger kiddies, i also look for stuff that is sturdy neutral coloured and most of all fairy prices oh yes and that can be easily dusted or wiped.

  48. Nathalie Edghill says:

    Something that’s not going to topple on top of them when the decide to yank at it, something that can withstand a bit of being jumped off and mostly something that they can easily access themselves – a bit montessori led is perfect.

  49. Amanda fawcett says:

    I wish I’d gone with durability! My nearly 2 year old keeps climbing his and bends the runners!

  50. Michelle Jones says:

    Versatile storage that can be accessed by child, but which they won’t grow out of too quickly.

  51. Katie newman says:

    Wipe clean and versatile for all ages and gender so can be used again

  52. Rhonda Buijs says:

    I make sure that the furniture is free of potentially harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, which usually rules out furniture made of MDF.

  53. Lisa Hilton says:

    I look for something that is going to be safe, in the little ones room, something that is durable and something fun and interesting for my son

  54. Roxanne Hill says:

    I alway look for furniture that is safe and durable and also easy to clean 🙂 I also like something that is a little bit unique with bright colours

  55. Lucy bunn says:

    I always look for down grind sturdy, a great price, design and colour .

  56. Megan says:

    I always look at price first (they’re going to draw on It anyway, so don’t want to spend too much money). That, and sturdiness. My kids seem to be quite hard on furniture and are likely to break even furniture that appears quite sturdy!

  57. louisekathryn89 says:

    I look for something sturdy so I know it won’t fall over or get broken easily, safety is an important aspect. I also look for something that looks good though, and not just something that’s in trend but will look good and be liked for a reasonable amount of time. I must admit a reasonable price also comes in to it. And something like this that can be customised is great, my son loves drawing and to be able to draw on it to make it his own without being in trouble is ideal!

  58. hannah malins says:

    I look for how well it will wear whith a 3 year old constantly climbing on thr furntiure lol

  59. i know what my child likes and dose not so i simply find something to do with, trains, dinos e,c and as long as long as i know my little boy will like it its good enough for me storage is always handy but cant go wrong with a train shaped box 🙂

  60. Elaine Webb says:

    I went for real wood, so that it doesn’t fall apart with their battering of it and you can also sand out any drawings on it!

  61. Louise hamilton says:

    We look for strong and unique furniture that will grow with our children. I love the idea that children can create an individual unique piece of furniture for their own rooms. My children would just love one :))

  62. Jade Charlwood says:

    I look for something creative, something that is child friendly and something my child can make their own

  63. Carmen says:

    The furniture should have sneaky dark areas so that my kids can stash away their treasure for example blue tack, various items from the house such as spoons, deodorants, the list is endless. Lots of open and shuting compartments because it’s fun opening and shuting doors and draws. It should also have an area to display favourite things such as old clock, latest Lego build or kid’s objects of art.

  64. Liz says:

    Practical, stylish and timeless so my boys won’t grow out of it too soon. Long lasting is a must too.

  65. Dannielle Robinson says:

    I look for items that will last my daughter or are so affordable that t doesn’t matter if they don’t!

  66. I just want to say thank you to all of you for entering and leaving such incredible responses. I’m looking forward to reading more.

  67. janec1985 says:

    I look for something that will last a while and are safe for young children

  68. Reynel says:

    For me, children’s furniture needs to be safe, functional, look good and be reasonably priced.

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