The Disadvantages of Corrugated Cardboard

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Corrugated isn't always best.
Corrugated isn't always best. (Image: cardboard box image by MAXFX from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Due to its being readily available, inexpensive and strong relative to its weight, corrugated cardboard is a popular packing material, as well as a popular material for a variety of large-structure arts and crafts products. However, there are times when corrugated cardboard is not the best choice for a project or packing need. Consider some of the disadvantages of this material when you decide if it's right for your current purposes.

Appearance

Corrugated cardboard has an appearance that's generally less than desirable for craft projects where beauty is a main goal for the finished product. Corrugated cardboard, due to its internal structure, has a rough, ridged appearance over its surface that's prone to wrinkling and bending. Any structures built from it will have an untidy appearance, whereas non-corrugated cardboard holds a smooth, neat shape.

Strength

Corrugated cardboard is relatively strong for being so lightweight, but for projects and purposes that need a bit more heft, you may prefer a denser material. Much of the mass of corrugated cardboard is air, due to the shape of the corrugation inside. If placed under much sideways pressure, corrugated cardboard will bend, pucker and crumple.

Water Resistance

As a packing material, corrugated cardboard provides very little resistance to moisture. When made wet, either from ambient moisture in the environment or from direct contact, corrugated cardboard will soften, eventually becoming pulpy. Corrugated cardboard is also highly absorbent, and will thus readily transfer moisture to its contents.

Edges

Due to the layered construction of corrugated cardboard, cutting any kind of intricate or curved shape from a sheet of this material is likely to yield untidy-looking results. The corrugated inner layer will often show on the edge of a cut.

Folding

It's difficult to create neat folds in corrugated cardboard. The inner layers will both dictate the shape of the folds (not necessarily in the direction you want) and cause the material to stretch and crumple in unintended (and undesirable) ways.

Bulk

While the curvy, air-filled corrugation inside the layers of the cardboard provide excellent cushioning, their bulk makes them inconvenient for many craft projects or structures that might require more detail and finesse in shaping. The thickness of cardboard, relative to the structural strength it provides, is sometimes a disappointment for such designs.

Cutting

When cutting a piece of corrugated cardboard into a certain shape, it can be difficult to get the angle just right so as to make a clean cut through both the two outer layers and the inner corrugated layer. Without an even cut with a blade positioned at a consistent 90-degree angle to the cardboard, the cut will angle, making the two sides different sizes.

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References

  • "Cardboard (Craft Workshop)"; Emma Hardy; 2004
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