I almost didn’t think it could be done, but here it is at last; a handmade organic rubber and wool twin mattress! Martha Stewart eat your heart out. In case you may be wondering why anyone would ever want to make a mattress, may I direct you to some information on conventional mattresses here, here, and here. Unfortunately conventional mattresses are a petroleum derived chemical bomb that are chocked full of toxic substances that we breath in and absorb through our skin as we sleep. Studies even reveal a link between mattress off-gassing and SIDS! This is some scary stuff that I absolutely want to avoid where I can. So when the time came to buy my daughter a big bed I was faced with a dilemma; buy the conventional mattress (at 40% off!), buy an organic mattress (for $1bazillion) or try to make my own. And so I embarked on the epic quest of making an organic chemical free mattress and hopefully this will help you get started on making one of your own too!
For this mattress we’ll be using rubber as the base. There are a few places online that supply real rubber (like from a rubber tree) mattress topers in various thicknesses and firmness. I decided to get a 1″ medium firmness topper for the base of my mattress from here. I would recommend getting a minimum 3″ thickness for a mattress intended for an adult.
Since this rubber is a natural material and subject to biodegrading I decided to sew a cotton slipcover for it to help protect it. The slipcover was sewn from an old duvet cover found hiding in storage. Done and free 🙂
For the shell of my mattress I used cotton ticking from here. Ticking is traditionally used in mattress making plus for furniture and pillows. It’s a thicker densely woven fabric which helps keep your stuffing from escaping. You will need about 5 yards for a twin sized mattress.
Cut two rectangles the dimensions of the mattress plus 1/2″ seam allowances. Then cut one very long strip 7″ tall and long enough to go around the entire edge of one of the rectangles. I had to piece this long section together to make it long enough to go all the way around. Sew it on with a 1/2″ seam and then placed the rubber mattress inside as the first layer of the mattress.
Next comes the wool. This is what a 20 pound bag of organic wool looks like. And also this is what a cute boy looks like. 😉 I bought the wool from here. You’ll want around 18 -20 pounds for a twin.
Layer the wool on top of the covered latex pad…
…until all 20 pounds of it is neatly laid down.
Look at all that wool! Looking pretty comfy already.
If you’ve never smelled wool before, it’s seriously wonderful. It has a sweet honey straw smell that I adore! I decided to accentuate the earthy wonderfulness of the smell by spritzing some lavender chamomile essential oils throughout the wool. Essential oils aid in relaxation and sleep, as well as have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. If you decide to include essential oils go ahead and spritz them into your wool!
Now it’s time to close this sucker up! Lay your second cotton ticking rectangle on top and pin the entire circumference to the side, taking in the height of the side if you’ve got too much slack. You don’t want the fabric to be droopy.
Once pinned to satisfaction get some thicker thread such as cotton hand quilting thread and a sewing needle and ladder stitch the circumference.
All sewn up! We’re almost done.
Last comes the tufting. This is an optional step but it helps keep the stuffing inside from shifting or clumping, so I decided to do it. I followed this tutorial here, using buttons to help with the pressure exerted by the thread.
Look at those button tufts!
The finished mattress. Success! You will want to use a water resistant/proof mattress protector to keep moisture from getting into your mattress. I made one from an up-cycled wool army blanket which was water-proofed with lanolin.
This was definitely the oddest thing I’ve ever sewn. What’s your most adventurous sewing project that took you way out of your comfort zone?