While it’s not always true that making something yourself is greener than buying it ready-made,
DIY objects are often easier on the planet than mass-produced, factory-made items. Swedish designer Pål Rodenius has a fantastically unique idea for helping DIY enthusiasts fill their homes with inexpensive, custom-made, low-waste furniture: a single piece of plywood that can be cut in different ways to form different pieces of furniture. A few sheets of plywood turn into an entire apartment full of furniture.
The idea is simple but ingenious: a single piece of plywood is printed with outlines of various colors. Depending on which furniture piece you want to build, you cut on a specific color of outline: cut on the grey lines for a table and chair, cut on the blue lines for a bedroom suite, and so on. Then the pieces fit together easily and you’ve got a whole new set of furniture with minimal drama. The project is called “2440×1220 Saw, Assemble” and, if you’ve ever sewn using a pattern before, you’ll easily recognize the concept of squeezing a bunch of sizes or styles onto a single pattern.
Of course, shipping these 4′ X 8′ pieces of plywood all around the world would be almost as environmentally unfriendly as buying those ready-made pieces of furniture that take up massive amounts of energy being shipped here and there. Rodenius decided that the best remedy would be to offer the patterns on a giant sticker that the end user will simply slap onto a piece of plywood for an even greater degree of DIY spirit. Currently, the designer is only offering the pre-printed plywood version on his website for €100 (around $140), but he has plans to start offering the sticker version to interested buyers at some point. Check his website for future updates on the project.