How to Make a Folding Cot

Updated April 17, 2017

Folding cots are simple, lightweight beds that are convenient for sleepovers, camping trips, travel and emergencies. They can be easily moved from place to place and stored away when not in use. They offer a quick solution to last-minute arrangement dilemmas. With the help of a few common hardware tools, you can make your own folding cot.

Create a cross with 90-degree angles by placing two of the 2-by-4s perpendicular to each other.

Use the drill to make a 1/2-inch hole through the 2-by-4s in the middle of this cross.

Thread the 1/2-inch carriage bolts inside the 1/2-inch hole and through to the other side.

Place a lock washer over the end of the carriage bolt.

Secure the carriage bolt by tightening a 1/2-inch wing nut over the end of the bolt.

Repeat steps 1 through 5 for the bed's second set of legs.

Use the tape measure to measure 4 inches up from the carriage bolts on each of the crosspieces of the legs. Use the pencil to mark these points. The points on each crosspiece should line up.

Align one of the 1-by-4s with these points. This piece should make a straight line between the two points on the crosspieces of the legs.

Use the drill to make a 1/2-inch hole through the 2-by-4 and 1-by-4 crosspieces of the legs at each of the marked points.

Push one 4-inch-long steel bolt through each of the holes.

Screw the cottar pins through the bolts' holes.

Repeat Steps 1 through 5 for the other set of the cot's legs.

Measure 6 inches up from the cross-braces on each of the cot's legs. Use the pencil to mark these points.

Make the holes for the 2-inch dowel side pieces. Use the drill and the 2-inch circle cutting bit to make a 2-inch hole at each of the marked points.

Apply the epoxy glue around each end of each of the 2-inch dowels.

Screw the 2-inch dowels into the holes on one set of the bed's legs. Repeat this step on the opposite end of the cot. The cot should now have two legs on each end and two dowels running down the sides.

Spread the canvas lengthwise along the cot.

Fold the canvas cloth under one side of the canvas. The side frame dowel should be encased in the cloth. Use the straight pins to pin the cloth to the frame. Repeat this step on the opposite side of the cot.

Use the sewing needle and thread to sew the sides of the canvas.

Stretch the canvas by wetting the canvas with water and lying on it. This will ensure that the canvas does not rip when someone lies on the cot.

Remove the braces. This will allow you to fold the cot.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Epoxy glue
  • Straight pins
  • Water
  • Cotter pins
  • Drill
  • Upholstery sewing needle
  • Heavy-duty outdoor upholstery thread
  • Duck cloth canvas, 6 by 4 feet
  • Drill bit, 1/2 inch
  • Circle cutting drill bit, 2-inch diameter
  • 2 half-inch carriage bolts with threaded ends
  • 2 half-inch lock washers
  • 2 wing nuts, 1/2 inch
  • 2 dowels, 2-inch diameter, 6 1/2 feet long
  • 2 boards, 1-by-4, 1 foot long
  • 4 boards, 2-by-4, 2 feet long
  • 4 steel bolts with cottar pin holes, 1/2-inch diameter, 4 inches long
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About the Author

Based in Memphis, Tenn., Elizabeth Martin started her writing career in 2009. She has served as a marketing specialist and created print advertisements for her company's clientele. Martin holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Memphis.