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Papestack – A fireplace made of cardboard

Posted October 9, 2015

Papestack is an open fireplace made out of folded cardboard. Well, not exactly a real fireplace, as the picture of the cosily flickering fire is created by your TV-Set. Still, looks like a real thing.


Doesn’t Santa Claus usually come down the chimney? Too bad if you don’t have one. How is he supposed to bring the presents? But everyone has a TV! So hurry! Let’s turn your TV set into an open fireplace before Christmas Eve. Our loved ones will be completely surprised, Santa Claus can drop off the presents and everything will be alright!

That’s a little bit of humor behind the Papestack: an open fireplace made out of folded cardboard. The picture of the cosily flickering fire is created by your own TV-Set. Papestack comes in a small cardboard box and can be put together quickly and easily without any tools or glue.

An affordable fireplace in every Household

Almost every household has a TV set. Many even more than just one. But only few have an open fireplace. In hardly any flat in urban areas, there is enough room for an actual stack. And not every homeowner can afford this luxury either. At the same time, many would appreciate the cosiness of a fireplace lounge especially in the colder season, for example over Christmas.

With a little bit of printed and folded cardboard, we can make a lifelike open fireplace appear on any wall. A flat-screen TV, ideally in HD quality, delivers the recordings of a real fireplace – the crackling of burning logs included! The only thing missing is proper lighting and some incense sticks and the illusion is perfect.


When the cold season is over and you to free the space in your flat, the cardboard stack can simply be taken apart and stored in its exterior box. Until next winter.

Build it without tools or glue

Papestack comes in a customary shipping box and does not weigh more than 13 lbs / 6 kg. In the box, the individual parts are laid out flat on top of each other. The material consists of 100 % recycled cardboard with environmentally friendly colour prints. A construction manual in the package shows in simple steps how the parts are to be plugged into each other.


Extremely strong

The heart of Papestack is a stable frame made of folded cardboard elements to be plugged together which encases the TV set. The pedestal constructed for this purpose can carry TV sets weighing up to 110lbs / 50 kg. The frame can fit monitors with up to a 50” diagonal (max. width 43,3” / 110 cm). Three provided panels allow for an ideally cut-out section that covers the frame of the TV set for monitor diagonals sized 37”, 44” and 48”. For other diagonals a blank frame is added and can be cut out to your needs.


You still have your TV-Set for normal use

Cladding with a brick pattern and an open “fire grate” in front of the TV monitor give the whole thing the proper touch of reality. Slits in the cladding make it possible to keep using the TV, as an infrared remote control can still get through. Having a nice Christmas decoration doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go without your favourite show or a sports game, say the creators of the idea.

A stable beam of folded cardboard constitutes the final element of the Papestack. It has a natural stone pattern print and forms the mantelpiece. This component, like the pedestal, is created to be very strong. A load of up to 22lbs is no problem. An old lamp, some books, candles, a vase, family photos and whatever else belongs on top of a fireplace can be placed safely on the mantelpiece.

To complete the surprise for your loved ones, it helps to place a few simple decorative accessories all around the Papestack. Put several logs of real firewood next to the cladding, add fake bearskin as a rug in front of it, use the dimmer and light a pine-scented candle for a perfect illusion.

How Papestack came into being:

Papestack is an offspring of the technology forge zkoor technologies in Vienna. Usually, we deal with software development for special applications in 3D computer graphics.

“It all started when we planned the 2014 Christmas party at our office. A meeting room of a technically inclined company like probably thousands of others in this world. Large windows, bare walls, a huge table, many chairs, bright and cold light and a big presentation monitor on a small table with wheels. A purely functional, anything-but-cosy atmosphere – plain nerdy”, says the project campaign page on Kickstarter.

“We wanted to really surprise our team of high-tech nerds with a comfortable ambience. So what to do with a room that is about as charming as a hospital waiting area? That’s where the idea of a fire on the TV monitor came into play. A YouTube feed showing blazing flames was found quickly; the effect, however, was still too weak for true cosiness. We needed decorative cladding. From old cardboard boxes formerly containing computer servers, we built cladding in the shape of an open fireplace in grueling hours of crafting with scissors, cutters, tape and glue guns. Some poster paint and a little creativity transformed the cardboard monstrosity into deceptively authentic stonework made of bricks and marble. Voilà! There it was – our first Papestack!”

Grandpa’s desk lamp three Christmas Star flowers placed on the mantelpiece, some old books, a little bit of decoration and the neon light turned down – and the illusion was perfect. The icing on the cake was someone bringing an old rug and a couple of armchairs and positioning it all in front of the burning and crackling – virtual, yet so real – fireplace. Two incense sticks provided the authentic scent in the room.

The effect left nothing to be desired: There were hardly any guests who did not stand before it with their mouths open, mesmerised by how much this accessory has magically transformed the cold meeting room. Only a little bit of cardboard and paint and a TV-set were needed to bring the cosiness of a “real” fireplace into the house.

Later that evening, one of the team asked the crucial question: “Why can’t you buy this ready-made?” And there it was! The spark that turns ideas into reality. Quickly, someone googled it and established that such a product really couldn’t be bought anywhere. That’s when we came to the decision: “Let’s just do it ourselves then!”

The weeks that followed Christmas were filled with more in-depth research and initial sketches. In the spring of 2015, team found a young group of architects in Vienna specializing in cardboard design who helped us develop the model and the first cutting patterns. Later that year, they had successful meetings with a cardboard producer. Everything had to go really fast, because we were pursuing the ambitious plan to celebrate our debut during this year’s Christmas shopping season.

Risks and challenges

The preproduction of Papestack is done, says the team. Negotiations with a cardboard manufacturer have been successful. The model is finished. The cutting pattern has been drawn and the Print design is ready. What is still missing now are cardboard punching tools for the production. And this is why the team needs the support on Kickstarter.

Source: Kickstarter

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