How to Make a Futon Mattress?

by Max S
How To Make A Futon Mattress

Are you in desperate need of a mattress and wondering how to make a futon mattress? Maybe you’ve just moved into your new flat, or you’re staying over at a friend’s place and don’t fancy sleeping on the cold hard floor.

You’ve heard of futon mattresses and know that this is what you need for a restful night’s sleep. Or maybe, you’re feeling in the mood for some DIY and looking to add a futon to your cosy guest room. Either way, knowing how to make a futon mattress can literally be a lifesaver.

Buying a new mattress is a big decision, especially since a mattress will be with you for around 10 years, based on the average time users keep their mattress. On the other hand, a futon mattress is a simple mattress you can do yourself to save up on cash and room space!


illustration showing key tracking indicators for mattress purchases
Copyright 2016 by Better Sleep Council.

Read more, and we’ll share with you how you can do your futon mattress in three easy steps.

What is a Futon Mattress?

white futon mattress with cross section image showing layers
Futon mattress with wool and coconut filler. Image source: Arpel

A Futon mattress is a traditional type of bedding that originated in Japan. It usually consists of quilted pads stuffed with cotton, fibre stuffing, or foam for cushion. Futons usually include a low-lying frame that is set on the floor.

futon mattress on slightly raised wooden floor
Japanese mat for futon. Source: Futon Company

Most designs have a folding mechanism to convert the mattress into a sofabed. In cases where there is no folding mechanism, people roll the futon and set it aside during the daytime. The general goal, after all, is to save space in the room. This will come in handy for small guest rooms, studio apartments, or compact bedrooms. Saving space and minimalist living are just two of the many unique cultural traits that the Japanese have, where the futon mattresses originated.

Steps in Making A Futon Mattress

Alright, let’s get moving and start making your own futon mattress. You’ll be surprised how easy this is:

rotary cutter, buttons, pins and more for making futon mattress
Image source: Pexels

Take the correct measurement for your mattress.

Before buying the materials, it’s time to measure your desired size for your futon mattress. You’ll need a measuring tape for this. Any excess material will be wasteful if we don’t take preliminary measurements. On top of that, the whole point of a futon is that it’s space-saving, so you definitely want to make sure you keep your room size in mind.  

Begin by setting out how much space you want to have in the room. If you have no idea of mattress sizes, below are the typical UK sizes:

  • Small single-size mattress: 75 by 190 cm
  • Single-size mattress: 90 by 190 cm
  • Small double-size mattress: 120 by 190 cm
  • Large double-size mattress: 135 by 190 cm
  • King size mattress: 150 by 200 cm

Buy the right materials.

With the measurements out of the way, it’s time to shop for the materials to make your futon mattress. So what materials do you need?

Mattress foam or fillings

You can buy foam or cotton batting for the mattress foam or fillings. Cotton batting is commonly used in quilting as a layer of insulation between fabrics. Quilts are filled with batting, which keeps them warm and heavy. Cotton batting is typically made of cotton, polyester, or wool.

You May Like: Foam vs Spring Mattresses

It would help if you made sure that the foam or cotton batting you buy is flexible so that it can be bent over or rolled over to function as a futon mattress. Some stores can assist you to cut the foam to your needed measurements, but you can use a sharp knife at home if they can’t.


natural cotton batting to make futon mattress
Natural cotton batting. Image source: UBuy

Mattress cover

You’ll need two layers for the mattress cover. The first one will serve as the foam or batting liner and be sewn completely shut to protect the mattress. The second one will be lined with a zipper or button, depending on your preference.

The mattress cover serves as the mattress foam protector. It will be the mattress cover that you’ll be washing regularly to keep your futon mattress clean. Hence, you’ll want the mattress cover to be easy to clean and remove. Buy fabric that will serve as the mattress cover. You can choose from the following:

  • Cotton
  • Wool
  • Linen
  • Polyester

You can also consider buying a pre-made mattress cover if you can find one that suits your budget and measurements.

gold zip for securing futon mattress
Image source: Pexels

Zipper or Buttons for enclosure

If you’ve chosen to DIY your mattress cover, you’ll need a zipper or buttons to secure the final cover around the mattress. Place the opening so that it will be easier for you to remove the cover now and then for washing.

Make the futon mattress

Let’s start making the first mattress cover. This will serve as the lining for your filling (foam or cotton batting).

women in red measuring materials to make futon mattress on table
Image source: Pexels
  • Cut two fabric pieces using the dimensions you took earlier.

women sewing materials together to close futon mattress
Image source: Pexels
  • Stitch the sides together and keep one side open.
  • Turn the fabric inside out such that the rough stitches are on the inside and you’ve left a clean stitch outside.

close up on women using sewing machine on fabrics
Image source: Pexels
  • Place the foam or cotton batting inside, whichever you bought for a filling.
  • Completely seal the last open side by stitching.

For the second mattress cover, repeat steps 1 to 3 above. This will serve as the final cover. One side of the cover should consist of a zipper so that the mattress cover can be removed every time you want to wash the cover.

Benefits of Using a Futon Mattress

Now that you know how to make a futon mattress from the steps above, maybe you just need a little more convincing to make a futon mattress. Here, we listed the benefits of using a futon mattress to fully convince you:  

It saves space and can double as a chair.

Futon mattresses are thin such that they can be rolled out or folded during the daytime when it is not in use. This makes futons perfect for small spaces. A futon mattress can also double as a sofa for studying or working days.

It is affordable.

price of mattresses in UK bar chart
Copyright 2022 by NimbleFins.

Mattresses on the market range from £200 to £3000, depending on the mattress’s size, type, and quality. On the other hand, a futon mattress can go as low as £50. Or, since you’re already on this page, you can save on some cash and do the mattress yourself!

It doubles up as a baby area.

Since a futon mattress is placed on the floor, there is no risk of children falling out. A futon mattress can be used as a baby area during the day. If you worry about babies crawling out, you can put up safety gates around the mattress like this

Since futon mattresses are easy to clean, any accidental pee or milk vomit from the babies can be easily taken care of.

It is easy to clean.

Cleaning a normal mattress type involves loads of steps and includes potentially moving it outside. Whereas, a futon mattress is lightweight, and you can take it outside to shake the dust off pretty easily. The removable cover is also machine washable.

If you want a thorough clean and have the time, a thin futon mattress can be washed with water and dried out in the sun for a day.

Related Read: How To Clean A Futon Mattress?

It decreases allergic reactions.

Since it is easy to clean and maintain a futon mattress, dust won’t accumulate in the long run. Thicker mattresses usually have more chances of trapping dust and dirt that can cause allergic reactions.


That’s it! You just made your futon mattress. Futon mattress is a cost-effective and space-efficient alternative to spring and foam mattresses using a few materials. You can roll or fold it up during the daytime when not in use. It is also easy to clean and maintain since the covers are removable and washable.


Photo of author


Max S

Chief Editor here at The Sleep Checklist. Suffered from a seemingly infinite knot in my thoracic area (between the spine and shoulder blade) due to my lifelong side sleeping habits. With my girlfriend, we look to provide the most relevant and best mattress advice.