A futon is a simple yet elegant type of bed consisting mainly of foam, cotton batting and a cover. You can make a futon yourself, and lay it out on the floor for sleeping or place it on a futon frame to be used as a bed, chair or couch. Futons are a relatively inexpensive and easy do-it-yourself project.
Decide on the size of futon you want, a full size, twin size, queen or king. Write down these dimensions. Be sure to consider your full height, including partly upstretched arms. You may want to build a futon larger than the standard dimensions of beds.
Go to an upholstery supply store and purchase foam and cushion covering to suit the size of your futon. The thickness of the foam and cushion covering should reflect your overall size and weight. The heavier you are, the thicker the padding should be. Check online for competitive pricing; you might find better products and prices online. (See "Additional Resources" below.) You may have to trim your foam down to size.
Purchase fabric for the cover. Add the thickness of the foam and cushion covering into the dimensions. Choose a fabric that can withstand some wear, such as cotton duck or neutral-colored denim. Turn the fabric inside out and sew seams on all sides, but leave one side open. Insert a long zipper, snaps or Velcro strips to make the cover removable. Turn your cover right-side out.
Lay out one layer of cushion covering or cotton batting. Lay the foam on top, and place another layer of cushion covering on top of that. Attach the cushioning to the foam piece with foam adhesive (see "Additional Resources," below).
Trim any straggling pieces of batting or rough edges of foam. Insert your futon into the cover. This might require two people, depending on the size of the futon.