I enjoy relaxing on a sofa and in my bed, and so it may come as no surprise that I would wish to combine the two. After searching Ikea and several other shops, I found the average price for a "tri-fold" futon was in the region of 120GBP ($150). I found this pretty steep for what is basically some planks of pine and a mattress.

So I decided to make my own.

Let me make this clear before I begin: This Instructable is only how to build the frame. I have not yet worked out how I will make the mattress or if I will attempt to buy one, but in the instructables spirit if anyone has any suggestions, suggest away.

This futon folds in three sections to give a comfortably wide (4ft) and long (6ft-ish) bed that could sleep two (if proximity is not an issue!). When it is folded up it forms a sofa that is close to the ground and has an open angle (about 100 degrees) which I find very comfortable to sit on.

I am not a carpenter, crafstman or a great DIY-er, I didn't even take wood tech in school, so this instructable is very accessable. So get up off your computer and turn that empty space in your bedroom or living room into a versatile piece of furniture! If I can do it, so can you!

Step 1: Materials and Tools

This is the list of materials and tools I used during the project. The wood I used was pine as it is cheap, relatively strong yet a little springy to make the futon a bit more comfortable. The type of wood you use is up to you but in my opinion, pine works best. My local hardware store cut the planks for me at no extra cost, but depending on where you go they may charge 10% extra: this is worth it.


12 x 1200mm x 95mm planks (20mm thickness: I think this is standard)
2 x 770mm x 70 mm planks (20mm thickness)
2 x 700mm x 70 mm planks (20mm thickness)
2 x 690mm x 70 mm planks (20mm thickness)

Also some kind of stain, oil or wax to protect it and make it look good.

Nuts, Bolts and Screws:

46 x 40mm screws (4mm head)
4 x 6mm bolts (6mm is the diameter: length needs to be no less than 45mm, 50mm is ideal)
4 x 6mm wingnuts (or regular nuts, but wingnuts are easier to use in assembly and disassembly)


Ruler (graduated in millimetres)
Set Square (or similar)
Electric Screwdriver/Drill
2.5mm drill bit
6.5mm drill bit
Manual Screwdriver
Medium Grade Sandpaper
Rasp or planer (a rasp is a bit like reusable, very coarse sandpaper, but a planer would work just as well)


Scrap piece of wood to test drill bits and screws

The total cost of the wood came to around 33GBP ($40) and the screws, bolts and nuts totalled about 2GBP ($2.50). I alreday had the teak oil so the total cost for this project (assuming you have all the tools) is around 35GBP ($45), but again this depends on where you shop.

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