Does your foam have fire retardants in it?

Duke University is inviting you to submit a marble size sample of your couch or mattress foam. They will test 50 samples a month to see if they contain fire retardants.

To participate in their study, click here. Click around the top menu bar to see the study more. To see their findings so far, click here.


Foraging your Own Bedding – Shimul or Bombax Silk

Shimul flower

Another foraging opportunity… if you live in China or India or Cuba or really, the Tropics. This tree has silk fibers much like the kapok tree and is commonly used to make mattresses in Asia.

This plant has a very long bloom period. It opens first bloom in fall, lights up the sky throughout winter and may still have a bloom or two in spring.

Like the kapok tree, it is a dry deciduous tree that loses its leaves in the dry season and replaces them with huge, bulky red flowers near top of tree with wide petals. The flowers up to 6″ across are edible.

For interest’s sake, the red-silk cotton tree, Bombax ceiba, is sometimes mistakenly called “Kapok” because it produces floss. The true Kapok is Ceiba pentandra and is not common in Florida. The red-silk cotton is in the Malvaceae family, but is sometimes placed in the Bombacaceae family by some authors.

Just like wool mattresses, sleepers recard their silk every few years as it compacts very firmly. Natural bug-repellents are used mixed in the cotton like eucalyptus or strong versions of mint or lavender.

Firefighter Cancer Study on Flame Retardants

A study that came out last year, linked cancer to flame retardants in firefighters.  It was a thorough and one of kind study.  To quote,

“Our study provides clear evidence that firefighters are exposed to high levels of cancer-causing chemicals including brominated flame retardants and their combustion by-products – dioxins and furans – that are formed during fires by the burning of flame-retarded foam furniture, televisions, computers and building materials. Firefighters have much higher levels and different patterns of these chemicals in their blood than the general population. There is no doubt that firefighting is a dangerous occupation. What we have shown here points to the possible link between firefighting and cancer.”

During fires, large amounts of cancer-causing dioxins and furans are produced by combustion of materials containing brominated and chlorinated substrate. Since firefighters are known to have high rates of cancer, the study focuses on the exposure of firefighters to these compounds while firefighting.

Previous studies of firefighters have focused on exposure to chlorinated dioxins and furans. This pilot study is the first to measure brominated dioxins/furans (PBDD/Fs) in blood of firefighters. Because homes and offices contain large amounts of brominated flame retardants, we expected to find brominated dioxins/furans in firefighter blood.

*Brominated dioxin and furan concentrations in firefighter blood were extremely high, and were 21 times more toxic than the chlorinated dioxins and furans. The authors conclude that brominated dioxins and furans may pose a greater cancer risk to firefighters than previously thought.

*Patterns of the brominated flame retardants, PBDEs in the firefighters were dominated by deca-BDE. A deca-dominated pattern is not found in the general population, but is typical of the pattern found in blood of e waste recyclers continuously exposed to deca-BDE resulting from open burning of plastic TVs and computers.

*The firefighters also had elevated levels of two perfluorinated chemicals, PFOA and PFNA. PFOA, a cancer-causing chemical that is linked to the risk of stroke, was phased out of commerce in 2001 but is released in large amounts from household and building materials during fires.

*The findings of this pilot study indicate that firefighters are at risk for cancer and serious health effects from their occupational exposure. A larger study of firefighters is planned.

Read more about the study at the Marine Environmental Research Institute.

Hear the lead scientist talk about the findings in the video:

Farmers Markets – New Hope and Golden Valley

If you stop by the New Hope Farmers Market any Saturday (8-1) or the Golden Valley Farmers Market Sundays (8-12) this summer, make sure to stop by and say hi.

We’ll be selling our Pillow Kits and Dryer Balls and wool craft kits and hanging out all morning, every weekend.

Why we’re at a farmers market when we’re not farmers, I’m not really sure. But personally I support local farmers and appreciate those sorts of people and apparently we’re “crafters” since we DIY our products as much as possible.

New Hope is at Rockford Rd. and Xylon (the old Kmart parking lot)
Golden Valley is at 7800 Golden Valley Rd (under the watertower)

See you there.

Farmers Market at New Hope

DIY Pillow Making Event

Fluffed Kapok Fiber

Kapok Fiber BinJoin us to shred some natural latex or fluff some kapok to fill your pillow. We will provide the pillow cases, the unfluffed kapok and the latex falloff. You choose your pillow sizes and which fill you would like. Also, bring a favorite practice of yours to share, some trick or solution that you use to follow a natural path.

This event is open to all, so feel free to invite anyone who might enjoy physically investing in their pillows. We really will be using our hands to pull apart bits of natural latex or separating the kapok clumps to create lofty, smooth pillows.

Please RSVP with your pillow preference by May 23 here or by email or phone 763-445-9676.

fancy line

Cost is just for supplies. Since you will be shredding your own latex and fluffing your own kapok, costs are less than the pillow kits online.

DIY Pillow Making Event Pricing 

Foraging for your Bedding: Cattails

A couple weeks ago, when the wind was sharp, the temperature was single digits and the ice was frozen, a daughter and I made a trip to a nearby lake. It is a double lake, bottlenecked in the middle with a bridge spanning that narrow opening and between the two sides of the lake, a path lined by tall cattails. We brought along a bag and made sure to wear our boots and mittens. Instead of traversing the lake, we hopped into the forest of cattails and started snapping. Snapping off the top spikes and snapping the stems beneath the fluff. A crust of icy snow kept us on top of the uneven mounds most of the time with only a few breakthroughs to snow up to our knees. The wind was calmed among the stems, almost as tall as I was.

A gentlemen walking past stopped and inquired after what we were doing. As we had already chatted with him on his first walk about the weather’s reluctance to give up winter, I considered his inquiry a friendly neighborly touch, quite in contrast to the very nervous park ranger who stopped me foraging last summer. Before we could answer, he told us we should be picking the cattails in the fall before the fluff starts to loosen. Then, he said, we could dye the cattails decorative colors and use them in table settings. I thanked him for his tip as he walked back the path again and we went back to our snapping.

With the stems poking through the bag, catching on my jeans and our bag starting to look rather full, we trotted back to the van, crunching white ice frozen in the street curbs on our way.

In the warmth of our home over a rug, I set up. One clean garbage bag for the pillowcase, one paper bag for the stems and one bag of cattails. Peeling the fluff down with my thumb, I could scrape a path in the seeds so I could bend the rest of the fluff off bit by bit. Last summer when taking pictures for the website, I stuck a stack of pillows under our grape vines and stained a pillowcase, but that left a perfect pillowcase for my purpose, especially as it was a nice, thick double knit one. Over an hour or two, I scraped and peeled the seeds into the case. Occasionally I stirred the fluff loose from itself so it would not stay clumped. You can imagine the beauty of the air around me when my almost 3 year started to help. Every wave of his cattail loosened little floating seeds that were as close as you can come to falling snow inside the house. Though the long winter’s afternoon when I let the kids shred packing Styrofoam in the living room to create a snow carnival was, hands down, a messier affair.

I slept on the pillow last night and the night before. I slept soundly and quite happily. For an adjustable fill pillow, the fill does not roll around when shaken like the shredded latex pillow, nor did I over stuff the pillow so that it would keep its shape like a couch pillow should. The cattails made the pillow flatish and softish, not firm, perhaps a little lumpy, though fill could easily be shifted to a new spot.

So if you want to forage your own cattails, get your waders on and go get them before the wind does. New stalks will be growing in May or June. I could share my spot with you as even our 100 cattails barely made a dent in the thousands that bordered this lake. If you ever want to plant some, take some seeds from your pillow as the seeds are viable for 100 years or so. And if you really want to get into cattails, look up when to eat them and their pollen.

Thanks to Tyler, a customer who bought a pillow case just for this purpose, for this idea.

Happy foraging.

Free Shipping Changing

While we really like to offer good deals to you and we keep our prices low so that we can make your purchases more affordable, we have realized we cannot offer free shipping on all purchases anymore.

In a few weeks, flat rate shipping will be added to every item. We will still share a bit of the shipping with you, but will have to ask that you share some of it with us too.

So if you want that free shipping while it lasts, take advantage of it.Free Shipping

Eliminate Fibromyalgia Pain with Wool

How would you like to see decreases in pain by 84% without having to change your diet or exercise habits?

A recent study conducted showed that sleeping on wool (as well as wearing it and being in contact with it all the time) can drastically improve your feeling of health.

Apparently, those hollow, spiral fibers made of a keratin so much like our own body produces can reduce muscle stiffness and provide a better night’s sleep than ever before. For more information on the study: summary of the study.

Futons, Couch Cushions and Latex

Natural latex foam can be cut to almost any size. This ability to be resized, along with its flexibility and its comfort, makes it a high-end fill to any piece of furniture.

fancy line


Our Arpico natural latex comes in 6” slabs and as large as 76” x 80.” Since it is Dunlop processed, the molds are as large as an Eastern King. Talalay processed mold are only as large as a Queen. A 6” slab gives you enough depth for a couch cushion or the ability to trim it down an inch or two.

To obtain a quote on a custom size,  visit our Custom Cut Latex Calculator.


The depth of the piece will affect your preference of firmness. A 3” extra firm or hard piece would be as thin as you would want. Four inches or five inches would be more comfortable and allow more people types to sit on it. Six inches is definitely a safe choice. A person of any weight could sit on it and not feel the slats or springs underneath it. When you get into the six inch depth, you can decrease the density of the foam to a firm if you like. A back cushion for a couch commonly is cut out of a Soft piece of latex as there is no gravity holding the sitter to it, only body weight.

Why is thicker better? When a person’s weight is pinpointed directly into one spot of the latex, the pressure points are much larger than when a sleeper stretches out and spreads his pressure points out.


In short, I would consider a wool wrap around your latex if using it for upholstery purposes. It is not necessary, but it has a few purposes. Besides acting as a physical barrier between the latex and the elements that cause latex to deteriorate, it also can act a little bit of the softening that a down blanket would. Consider it a way to ease into the comfortable support of latex and to reduce the bounce. It always serves to buffer the air space between the latex and the case.


We do not make frames, but I have multiple customer who specialize in custom furniture, woodwork, titanium welding and metalwork. Contact me for their contact information.


Send us your fabric and we can sew it up for you or we can use our fabric to sew you cases. Woven fabrics vs. knits are strong and durable for upholstery use.

If you are looking for organic fabrics, there are more sources than ever before. Check out Organic Cotton Plus and note their color grown cotton fabrics as well as the hemp and wool fabrics. They also have subtle patterns appropriate for upholstery uses. GOTS organic is the best standard available but the standard has only been around a few years so it is a taking a while for many manufacturers to catch up. Organic fabric (USDA) is common, even carries it.

Cording is a decorative accent that can be added to the edges of a cushion. We can add it for you if you like. However, if your latex will be folded for display as a futon, I do not recommend cording as it will not necessarily perch properly on the edge of the latex. No need to highlight an askew seam. Another decorative accent is gussets; gussets are side panels sewing on sewn on the sides of the cushion. Pictures available on our Custom Sewing Page.


According to the web, cheap sofas use foam alone. Better sofas use foam core within a down & feather blanket (wrap). The ratio of down to feathers is usually only a 10/90 ratio, but the greater the ration of down to feathers, the better. Even better sofas use a spring core encased in foam. The best of the better sofas use either a spring core that is encased in foam that is then encased in a down wrap or an all-down and feather cushion.

The very best couches a use latex core with springs. In order to get this combination you would have to visit an upscale upholsterer. (Yes, customers do take our latex to such shops.) This style is rarely composed in the United States but apparently, the French do so. Good upholstery, depending upon the style, has lots of springs. There can be springs in the seat, the back, and in the arms. That’s what makes a great upholstery job look “full” and it keeps the sofa looking that way for years but it’s very expensive and usually seen only on hand made sofas. Often on these handmade sofas, you will see hand stitching as well. This upholstery company has some reupholstered pictures of before and after of some high quality piece of furniture.

For more reading on upholstering tips, here is a summary article.

Visit our Custom Cut Latex Calculator to get a quote on a custom cut piece of natural latex. If you want to cut your own latex, electric knives work well.

Expandable Ticking Pattern Here

A long awaited pattern is ready for delivery. Our most unique ticking and complicated pattern too. You will not find a product anywhere on the net like this because it did not exist until we created it. And we’re offering you the option to create it too.

It is available in two formats:

The pattern is quite simply the 12-page pattern with pictures, instructions, and a detailed cutting chart. The pattern kit is the pattern with the proper length of zipper, 2 zipper pulls and the appropriate length of fabric to preshrink.

One pattern for all your bed sizes. If you need multiple sizes, you need only one pattern purchase.

Our pattern is licensed under a creative commons license. In short, this license acknowledges that ideas are free and knowledge can be shared willingly. It means you may remix, tweak, and build upon our work even for commercial purposes, as long as you credit us AND license your new creations under the identical terms (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License).

Happy DIYing.

Quilted Fabric by the yard now available

Quilted Fabric now available unavailable – Apologies but our source is keeping their stock for their own sewing projects.  We will eventually have this product back in stock when we make our own organic version. You’ll see the link below change to in stock when that happens. 1/9/2016

Pillowcase, ticking, quilt for your bed, you name it.

Here is life simplified. You could spend an hour picking out fabric, cut it to size, purchase some wool batting, drive to a long arm quilter, wait a few weeks to get it quilted together and then hand sew the binding on like a normal quilter, or… you could do it the easy way. We’ll quilt it, you sew it as you like.

Sewn up properly, this ticking will act as a fire barrier.

We also have added zipper by the foot to our supplies page as retail fabric stores will not have zipper lengths suitable for mattress sizes.

Quilted Wool 
Zipper by the Foot

Fire, Legalities, and Wool

A new post in the Of Interest section might interest you: Fire, Legalities and Wool.

  • How did the laws on flames comes to be?
  • What are the laws?
  • Why we do not need to use flame retardants?
  • Can wool pass the burn test?
  • Could our products pass the burn test?

fancy line

For more information on fire retardants and your health, look for another article in the near future.

Wool Comforters – another DIY project in the works

Wool Comforter

Comforters! Available in two different weights with our local farm wool and GOTS organic sateen fabric. Made locally at St. Peter Woolen mill. Sometime this year we will also post a DIY pattern on making your own with a few variations to account for skills and tools on hand.

These are not on our website yet, so if you would like to see a sample or order one made, stop on by or give a call.  Each piece is custom made per order.

UPDATE: They are on our website! See their product here.


Wool Toppers – a secret offering

wool topper

Farm wool and GOTS organic percale fabric, made locally at St. Peter’s Woolen Mill. Maybe you’d like one. Contact us if so. It’s not on our website yet. We’ll post it later when we get our DIY pattern available for it, but in the meantime, we can make them for you. Comes with elastic straps on each corner.


The winnings

Pick from your choice of pillows – Shredded Natural Latex or Kapok Fiber.  All our pillows are adjustable fill, meaning the liner has a zipper enabling you to take out extra fill or add in extra fill, to create just the right height of pillow for your night. The pillows offered are standard size; if you want a larger size, you can pay the difference.

The how

With a new website that comes with a name change and an inability to magically change this facebook address, we need to abandon ship and start anew.

There are three ways to win:

  1. Like our new facebook page.
  2. Add us in your circles in Google+ .
  3. For those of you without social networking hook ups,  place a comment or a review somewhere on our website here.

You will eventually see cross postings from the blog to Google+ and Facebook.  If you enter in more than one way, we will count your entry only once.

Thanks for spreading the word.

Happy winnings,


Welcome to DIY Natural Bedding.

We hope you, like us, enjoy doing things yourself and like living naturally.  We are here to enable you to have the bedding you like with industry quality products, yet at diy prices.  We like to ask questions and hope you feel comfortable doing the same.  We are people first, a business second.  We work out of our home to enable that balance as well as to keep costs down for you.  Stop by for a visit (well, call first please), we’d love to meet you and chat.

If you’re the facebook type, we’re there. If you’re on Google +, put us in your circles.  And then we’re here too.  See you around.

Deborah and Bob Brenton