Monday, June 4, 2012

Folding Mattress for Sprinter Front Seats

The mattress fits across the 2 front seats. A 1/2 inch plywood is used for the mattress support with a 2-inch high density foam topping for comfort. The bed is 61-inches long and 24-inches wide unfolded. When folded, it measures about 30.5-inches long x 24-inches wide. It's perfect for a child or short adult. I store it behind the driver seat when not in use. If you need a longer bed, try this DIY aisle bed: Click here

Click on pictures to enlarge.

The two outer section that folds inward measures slightly narrower than the middle section to clear the 2 folding legs. 
Dimensions: Middle section of mattress support: L=30.5 inches, W=22-inches
2 Outer sections of mattress support: L=15.25-inches, W=18.5-inches

With legs unfolded. The legs are fabricated using small square steel tubing, L-brackets for support, and 2 left-hand support hinges to hold the legs in extended position. The legs measures 18.5-inches long from tip to base of plywood. If you're not able to fabricate a folding leg,  Amazon has selections of folding/ adjustable table legs like this one: Adjustable Folding Table leg

With both outer sections unfolded. I use 4 heavy duty strap hinges, 2 on each side. Normal door hinges or a piano hinge will not work, I'll be covering the underside of the platform with a "Yoga mat" to prevent it from slipping on the seats and also protect the RT seats from scuffing or damage. The strap hinge has a small gap in-between the 2 plates when closed, this is needed to clear the "Yoga mat".

I bolted the hinges to the plywood platform using pronged Tee-nuts on the other side.
I cut the foam padding 2-inches wider than the plywood support, then overlapped 1-inch on each side. I then filled the gaps with 1/2-inch foam. I made it this way so that the plywood edge is not touching the seats thus preventing future damage to seats.

Foam padding covered with batting using 3M spray adhesive.

The foam width for the 2 outer support is the same 24-inches, that leaves about 4.5-inches overlap on top  and  1-inch on the bottom. I then covered the padding/plywood support with gray suede fabric.

The inner corner was stapled to the plywood support for tighter fit, then I secured the plywood support to foam padding using 3M spray-on adhesive.

Fabric cover stapled around edges.
Top side view
Now repeat above to do the other side and the middle section. When everything is done, re-install the hinges. I use Locktite blue thread locker to prevent bolts from coming loose.
All 4 hinges installed.
Top side view.
6mm thick "Yoga mat" glued in place using 3M spray-on adhesive. I use painters tape and plastic sheeting to prevent over-spray.
With legs painted black and re-installed.
Folded and ready for use. Thanks for viewing.


  1. Fantastic post! I wanted you to know that I posted this to my blog and linked back to you 3 separate times. I am very impressed with your work. If you have any future projects I would love to throw them up for my readers.


    RV AJ
    Link to the Post:

  2. This is awesome! Thank you so much for posting! We are a family of 5 and my boys are ages 5,6 & 14. The little ones are easy to sleep in either the jackknife sofa or the table bed but our 14 year old is already too tall for either of these beds, making for a challenge to find alternative sleeping arrangements for him. We currently own a Class A and as much as we would love to upgrade to one that has bunks, it just isn't in our budget. This is the PERFECT solution for us. We just measured and with turning the seats so that the backs are against the walls, we can actually fit a 40" x 74" bed in that space!!

    We have been wracking our brains for months about what to do and actually even considered ripping out our entire wardrobe/storage area to install bunks before coming across your post. THANK YOU!!! :)

    1. I just bought a sprinter and was trying to think up a nice way to make a bed in the front cab area....This is amazing. I will either commandeer hubby's DIY skills or I will modify it for my level of re medial DIY

  3. Is this something you would ever consider selling?? Your product is priceless!!! Incredible craft.

    1. Thanks for the interest and the compliments. At the moment, I'm not considering of selling any of the projects I did because of the time involved of making them. I posted my DIY's here to inspire and to share ideas with other RVer's.

  4. I would pay $350 for this here is my number, i am in so cal 760-553-4567

    1. Hi, sorry for the late reply. That is a generous offer, thank you, but because of the time involved in making one, I just don't have the available time at the moment. I'm so busy juggling work, kids, etc. and my free times are booked for camping and roadtrips this year. I wish I could be more help to you, hope you understand, so sorry.

  5. Where did you get the legs and hardware to make this?

    1. Hi, I made the legs using square tubings, some angle bars, nuts/bolts, and lid support hinges which should be available from a local hardware store.

  6. I wish I could buy one of these!!Great ideas you have. Thanks Judy in Tucson AZ.

  7. Great idea!
    Most of the labour seems to be in the upholstery.
    If it was just the plywood with a thermarest on top it would be an easy project.

  8. I have a 2011 ss roadtrek...very good idea...I could make the front cave jr...if I had this...great job..wish I could buy one somewhere...maybe I will try making one..just retired...

    1. I heard Roadtrek is making this as an option now, try to contact them if you really want one. Roadttek should compensate me for the idea Thanks and have a wonderful retirement!

  9. Where do you store it when it is not being slept on?

  10. We use a crib mattress across the two front seats in our travato. Works great for our grandson....

  11. You completed some good points there. I did a search on the theme and found nearly
    all people will consent with your blog.

  12. It's incredible! You a magic man!

    1. LOL, I wish I can do real magic, thanks for dropping by.

    2. LOL, I wish I can do real magic, thanks for dropping by.

  13. Hello,

    Thank you so much for posting this. My mom found it about a year ago, but at the time, I didn't think my skill level was enough to be able to make it.

    However, I started woodworking a month ago, purchased some saws, and thought maybe I could do it.

    I think I am set on every part except the leg. If you don't respond, I will buy prefab on Amazon, but would love if you could provide more details.

    I figured out the square tubing.

    1. For the hinge, Home Depot has one left hand hinge. I was wondering how sturdy the hinge needs to be. This is the same color as yours so I was hoping this was what you used. This one will work?>++++st%3A%7Bleft+hand+hinge%7D%3Ast++cn%3A%7B0%3A0%7D++hinge+%7Bproduct%7Dhand+%7BproductName_nostem%7D+left+%7BproductName_nostem%7D+left+hand+%7BproductName_nostem%7D++lca%7B562522%7D

    2. Those "L brackets." Do you remember where you got them or could you provide the dimensions? I found these at Home Depot but wasn't sure about the size.

    3. What kind of screws or bolts did you use to attach the leg to the two l brackets?

    4. My main issue is the angle bracket - the piece that you have that attaches to the leg and also the l bracket.

    Did you bend a piece of steel and drill holes to make it?

    How did you attach that piece to the l bracket and the leg? I asked multiple people from Home Depot and spent at least 30 mins Googling how to make a table leg but was unable to figure this out. One guy at Home Depot said he would do ball bearings, which was the point at which I said forget it, I will get the prefab legs.

    I think your instructions are awesome for people who are already pretty good at making things...but for complete beginners like me, I had to read and reread over and over and I still need help obviously.

    If I make this successfully I plan to make a video of it, geared towards the complete beginnger like myself.

    Thanks for posting this and for continuing to reply to comments, even years later. What a great idea you had!

    1. I'm on my mobile, so pls. bear with me.
      1. Yes that is the lid support I used. It does not need to be really stout, it just locks the legs in 90 degree position.

      2.The L-braket you linked is a thinner gauge. I use a long piece of angle bar cut to length (1 inch x 1 inch, I think it is 18 gauge thick. HD also sells angle bars. I'm lucky to be close to a metal supply store, that is where I get my stuff.

      3. I use a regular bolt. The hole on the square tubing and angle bars should be precisely aligned for smooth opening/closing.

      4.I use an 18 gauge at bar stock, bend to shape then holes drilled on each end.

      The support bracket is riveted into the square tube leg, you can use a nut/ bolt same as what I use to fasten it to the lower L-bracket. Use thin flat washers in-between the moving metal parts.

      Another tip: Use bolts and pronged tee-nuts to mount the legs into the board instead of screws, overtime screws gets loose.

      Let me know if you have more questions.Thanks for the compliments.

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