DIY Kotatsu

Written by patrick stothers kwak
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DIY Kotatsu
Kotatsus are low tables with attached blankets and heaters (Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

A kotatsu is essentially a table frame attached to a mounted heater covered by a blanket on which a tabletop sits. You sit with your legs beneath the blanket, which keeps the heat contained. The lack of central heating systems in Japan led to the ubiquity of kotatsus and their coziness has made them increasingly popular in North America and Europe.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Coffee table
  • Kotatsu heater
  • 120 - 100 voltage converter
  • 4 L brackets
  • Screws or nails
  • Comforter or blanket

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  1. 1

    Obtain the frame and tabletop of the kotatsu. The easiest way to make your own kotatsu is to use the components from two tables and essentially sandwich the comforter or quilt between the bottom table and the tabletop. It is important to locate a tabletop that is both sturdy enough to stay in place and thin enough to keep the kotatsu from looking overly bulky.

  2. 2

    Locate a kotatsu heater and voltage step-down converter. This is probably the most difficult step as it will require some searching online. The step-down voltage converter is necessary because Japanese voltage runs at 120 V whereas American voltage runs at 100 V. It is not recommended that you use any other heat source unless you are sure it will not burn anything up on contact.

  3. 3

    Place the kotatsu heater on the underside of the table frame in the exact centre. Measure a point in the direct centre and mark it with a pencil. Next screw the kotatsu heater to the bottom of the table frame through the heater's brackets. Ensure that the screws do not penetrate the top surface of the wood. Staple the cord along the underside of the table to the edge where it will hang down.

  4. 4

    Place the comforter or quilt over top of the table frame. Center the blanket so that its edges come to the floor (this will ensure that heat is trapped under the kotatsu). When selecting a quilt, pick one that is thick enough to be cosy and trap heat, but not so thick as to make the top surface unbalanced.

  5. 5

    Place the tabletop over top of the quilt, plug in the heater and enjoy your cosy new kotatsu.

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