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I am attempting to create plans for converting a regular futon frame and mattress into a slide out style sofa bed using the original parts of the futon, an additional iron twin bed frame, and cardboard (including all glues and related materials for strengthening, upholstering and covering the cardboard).

My question is this: Is it safe to cut into the original futon mattress in order to make it capable of completely folding over itself when converted back into a couch? The mattress feels like it's stuffed with a combination of poly-fill and other recycled fill material.

I don't have a sewing machine and planned to measure, cut, apply fabric glue, and sew (to reinforce the glue) 2 lines about 4-6 inches apart down the center length of the mattress (one at a time to avoid getting the filling everywhere), so that when it is folded into a couch it can fold over to make the bottom support, and when it is opened as a bed the center cut piece isn't noticeable.

My boyfriend is worried that cutting into it and sewing by hand would be too messy and take too long. I disagree since I plan on making everything else first, and doing all of the work on the futon mattress last. We also have 2 foam mattress toppers as well as one of the cheaper toppers with the fitted sheet style edges that I planned on incorporating into the design. The futon mattress offers the most cushion for the bed though. Does anyone else have experience re-purposing an old futon mattress and cutting into it without catastrophic disaster?

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    Welcome to Arts & Crafts. Any chance you could add a photo of the futon and maybe a closeup of a tack location (by "tack", I'm referring to the pattern of spots where the cover is sewn through to keep the fill from shifting)? There are a few different styles and constructions of those mattresses, which could affect the options available. How thick is it? How easily does it fold? Does it still have a tag that indicates the fiber content of the fill and cover? Where do the desired fold locations come in relation to the tack pattern (will the folds run through any tacks)? (cont'd)
    – fixer1234
    Sep 11, 2022 at 19:12
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    Fabric glue wouldn't be at the top of my list as the way to do this, but there may be some other methods, possibly without the need to cut the cover, depending on how it's made.
    – fixer1234
    Sep 11, 2022 at 19:12

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The answer is Yes, but there are some considerations:

  • Altering the structure of the mattress may affect its overall support and integrity.
  • You may want to ensure that the remaining sections are still securely attached and won't shift or separate during use. Reinforcing the cut edges with fabric glue and hand sewing as you mentioned can help provide additional stability (But of course not as strong as them machine stitching).
  • Filling material can vary depending on the filling product. Many futon mattresses contain a combination of poly-fill and recycled fill material. You may consider calling the manufacturer and ask for the exact combination.
  • Using foam toppers can help enhance the comfort and support of the sofa bed. Keep in mind to secure and integrate these additional layers properly with the modified futon mattress.
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    This doesn't really provide an answer, it just repeats points from the question in a weird list format.
    – Allison C
    Nov 8, 2023 at 15:28

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