How can I make a futon mattress for 100$ or less?
August 11, 2007 3:28 AM   Subscribe

How do I go about making a futon mattress or something close to that on a 100$ budget?

Ok here is my dilemma, recently I had to make a big move to a new apartment.
Sadly I got myself in over my head in debt doing so and have lost a lot of my bigger furniture in process. I'm stuck in a very small studio now and on top of that I'm broke.
After looking at how long it will take me to pay off my two credit cards it will be a good 6 months before I can afford to go out and buy a nice proper bed.
I have looked and looked for people selling used futons and so far they all want more then 100$ and I'm just not going to part with that much for a used one if I can avoid it.

At first I thought an airbed would work but it's just not holding up to time.
I got a rather nice one for about 75$ two months ago but it sprang two leeks after the first month. I was able to patch them up and keep it up ok until a friend sat on it tonight and it somewhat exploded. Seeing as there is now about a 7 inch hole I don't think it's fixable.

I was going to just go out and buy a new one but then that's 75$ more down the drain.
Plus I'm sure it will just die like the last one in a month or two.

This got me thinking, how hard would it be to make a makeshift full bed?
I know there is a store that sells zip up futon mattress covers for around 15-20$.
And they look like I could stuff them and make one out of them.
So that just leaves the question of could I find a material to fill it with to work as a bed?
I'd have about 80$ to spend on stuffing for it or so.
Is there any cheap material I could use to stuff it with that would be livable to sleep on for the next 3-6 months?
Or am I doomed to just go get a new airbed and be stuck plunking down the 75$ ever 2-3 months for a new one.
posted by Obscurum to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Where are you located Obscurum? For $100 you will probably find a better futon on Craigslist, or in your local newspaper, than you would be able to build.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 4:01 AM on August 11, 2007

go to your nearest largest fabric store. you can buy really thick upholstery foam. it's not cheap though. probably for what you want could be 70$

alternately, call or visit that fabric store and explain what you want to do and they may know a nearby boat upholsterer or similar who could sell it to you cheap. fabric ladies are helpful like that.
posted by cda at 4:10 AM on August 11, 2007

How about a foam mattress?
posted by b33j at 4:17 AM on August 11, 2007

I mean, what cda said.
posted by b33j at 4:20 AM on August 11, 2007

Try Freecycle. People post stuff they want to get rid of on a mailing list, you email them and come get it. Or you can mail the mailing list asking for something. It works great, I've gotten and given some really nice things on it.
posted by Anonymous at 4:37 AM on August 11, 2007

Response by poster: I'm located in Birmingham, Alabama.
I did see one person in the paper with one for 55$ but it was VERY old and from what they said was not much thicker then a fitness mat.

The ones I was pricing new were around 180-300$ for something that looked worth buying.
I saw you can get large been bags or pappasans for 100$ or less but I've never tried sleeping on one.

Being a crafty person I just always hope for a cheaper more creative way to do things. Just I've never tried making a bed before.
posted by Obscurum at 4:54 AM on August 11, 2007

There are bunk bed mattresses at Ikeas for under $100 -- like $60, actually, and they are pretty nice. I realize there aren't that many of them, but just in case you're close enough, it might be worth the trip. Sorry this isn't the exact question you asked, though.
posted by Hey, Cupcake! at 5:14 AM on August 11, 2007

Have you considered just sleeping on a pile of blankets? I lived like this for a year or so in a similar period. It's good for your back I think. I only returned to the ways of civilization when I got a girlfriend.

Or maybe you could just put one of those camping pads people use in tents and a couple of blankets into the futon cover. A camping pad (I don't know what you call them really, one of those thin layers of padding) would add more firmness.
posted by creasy boy at 5:29 AM on August 11, 2007

While I encourage you to go with your creative side and make the futon / bed, if you decide against it, it looks like there is a lot of great deals in your area on futons and other furniture on CL.

Matter of fact, if it is true that "The mattress has been covered during the use of this futon", for $95 (that you could probably talk down to $70 or $75) this is a great deal.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 5:38 AM on August 11, 2007

Get a bunch of forklift pallets to make a base. Put a three inch thick block of high density rubber foam on top of that. Put three or four blankets on top of that, then a sheet. Even if you end up having to buy the foam, this will be cheaper than a futon and probably more comfortable.
posted by flabdablet at 5:51 AM on August 11, 2007

Urban Outfitters has a decent looking cushion for $100. I haven't tried it, but I considered it for a recent houseguest.
posted by jiiota at 6:26 AM on August 11, 2007

buying used matresses on CL sounds nasty and inconvenient.

inflatable beds have come a long way. they come with built in pumps and are in the $50-100 range. It might do for a few months - and if you decide to buy a real bed, then you have an awesome guest bed that packs away.
posted by kamelhoecker at 7:16 AM on August 11, 2007

My local Slumberland furniture store sells new sets of decent twin mattress and box spring sets for $150. The mattress by itself is $80.

You could probably get a cot for around this price, or a sleeping bag and some foam padding to go underneath it.
posted by pluckysparrow at 7:44 AM on August 11, 2007

you can put a mattress directly on the floor. i have slept in this way for an externded period of time (months) with no problems. the only thing i did was lift it up (ie sitting it on edge) during the day (or for some of the day) in case there was any condensation underneath. i have also slept on foam in a similar way. again, no problems, but a mattress is more comfortable imho (if you get foam, make sure it is thick/hard enough to avoid squashing to nothing when you lie on it).
posted by andrew cooke at 8:40 AM on August 11, 2007

At your local building supply store, you can get huge bags of poly "insulation" beads that are essentially the same as bean bag stuffing for like $6.
posted by glibhamdreck at 8:54 AM on August 11, 2007

Go to your local Goodwill and buy as many old bath or beach towels as it takes to stuff your zippered cover. I doubt it would take as many as 30, but I would feel constrained to wash them before use. Cotton bedspreads might be even more economical, but I would find it harder to wash them, I think.
posted by jamjam at 12:51 PM on August 11, 2007

If this is just a cheap stop gap thing I would go for a cot from a local sporting goods store for about $35. They are usually kind of creaky whenever you move but comfortable enough.
posted by 517 at 2:31 PM on August 11, 2007

Just a warning: Mattresses may do fine resting directly on the floor--I've known several people who've done that with no problem, and I see someone upthread has said the same--but futons don't do well on a floor without a frame. They need air circulation underneath, otherwise there can be mold. Trust me on this one. I suppose you could avert this problem by tipping your futon to a standing position every morning, although that would be a pain.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:26 PM on August 11, 2007

Our monolithic chain furniture store seels innerspring futon mattresses new for $100. Mine has held up to three years of daily use.

This seems less gross/weird than some other options.
posted by Sheppagus at 1:44 PM on August 13, 2007

I agree that it seems gross/a hassle to get a used mattress from craigslist, but keep in mind that most people will have this reaction and so you have less competition and can get a better mattress for cheaper than most other methods. I had such a hard time getting a buyer for my (high-end, clean, three year-old) mattress when I bought a bigger one that it ended up going for only $20.
posted by Chris4d at 4:44 PM on August 13, 2007

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