"Roll Your Own" Memory Foam Mattress

Thank you for this tremendous site!

After much reading and research, the wife and I have narrowed it down to a few beds.

The Statistics

Current bed; 12 year old Simmons pocket coil was and “expensive” mattress when new.

40 Years old
6’4" tall
Side sleeper
Broad shoulders (almost 6 inches from outside of shoulders to chest/armpit area.)

Current sleeping complaints for me include;
Wake up frequently during the night with arms numb.
Wake up with sore shoulder and neck
Wake up with sore hips

(not able to disclose this, though it is around my age :stuck_out_tongue: )
Side sleeper

Current complaints;
Sore hips and lower back
arms falling asleep

So we went out this weekend and tried a bunch of different beds, in all sorts of combinations of materials. Our favourite bed, bar none is the Tempur-Pedic Bellafina.

Any tips on how I can approximate the feel of this bed? I know there is latex in this bed, of unkown type or ILD.

I have access to some high quality poly and memory foam from Custom Foam in Kitchener, Ontario.


Unfortunately Tempurpedic doesn’t provide the comfort specs of their mattresses (like the ILD of the layers or the type and density of the latex) so the only way to “replicate” it would be through a process of educated trial and error which may involve some exchanges of layers. I have to say though that the Bellafina was one of my favorite Tempurpedic mattresses when I tried it (it’s no longer available south of the border).

You can see the layering on the Canadian Tempurpedic site here (click details) and an analysis of the mattress in post #5 here as well.

I would think that with these “incomplete” specs … I would probably start with a 4" - 5" polyfoam layer in an ILD of about 36 or higher, a 3" Dunlop layer with a medium ILD (low 30’s or so) and then 3" of slower response 5 lb or better memory foam which would be about as close as you could get for a “guesstimate” and would be a reasonable starting point or approximation but of course this may need some adjustments to the layering based on some trial and error if the feel and performance isn’t what you are looking for. The real question mark is I have no idea of the firmness or ILD of the middle latex transition layer.


Thank you Phoenix.

The Bellafina has also been discontinued up here, limited to existing inventory. Sears Canada has no Kings left. Most places that stock that mattress are getting rid of their floor models at discounted prices, unfortunately, have only been able find a queen on the floor.

Another bed that we liked was the Tempur-Pedic Contour Signature. We went twice this weekend to try this bed out. Layed on it for a good 15 to 20 minutes. What we found was it was very conforming and gave you that sleeping in sand feeling, which we actually like. The only problem was my wifes hip started to develop a pressure point, and felt hard on her hip. For me, it was my shoulder that felt like it wanted another inch or two to sink into to.

After trying out a bunch of beds the past week, I’m more curious to find out more the WHY of how and why that Bellafina bed feels the best.

I have my suspicions, that given our “stats” that 3" or 4" in the comfort layer is not giving us enough room to reduce the pressure points in the hip area for my wife, and the shoulder area for me. So the Bellafina with 3" in the top memory foam coupled with the 3" of latex is giving us 6" of comfort layer. While that middle three inches of latex is probably, as you suggested, probably somewhere in between a comfort layer and a support layer.

We went into Custom Foam on Friday, they have their Simply Perfect mattress set up to try on the floor with 3" 5lb gel infused memory foam over 5" of 2535 poly. My first impression, is that I would like at least another inch or two of foam on top, it felt HARD. Hard in the sense that within 5 minutes I felt I wanted my shoulder to sink in more. My wife’s initial impression was she wanted her hips to sink in more, and have more pressure relief in the hip area. It felt like we bottomed out of the memory foam. So my first reaction with that mattress would be to add another inch or two of memory foam, and make the base 6" of 2535 or 2545 poly. We both feel that 3" of MF doesn’t provide enough of a cradle.

They also have a all poly mattress set up that is all 2527 poly. It also felt too thin, but it felt much like latex.

So I started thinking I want to make a hybrid of a Bellafina and a Contour Signature.

4" 5lb MF (4" of MF from the Contour Signature we liked the increased cradle effect and pressure relief with the 4" of MF)
3" 2527 or 2535 poly (mimic the 3" of latex transition layer in the Bellafina)
5" 2545


4" 5lb MF
2" 2527 poly
3" 2535 poly
3" 2545 poly


4" 5lb MF
2" 2535 poly
6" 2545 poly

I understand that there is no way to tell 100% how all the layers would interact with each other and the final feel of the bed. Thinner layers gives the option to swap out layers without incurring crazy costs.

I would like to stick to poly and memory foam. Custom Foam is local to me, and I haven’t found anyone in Ontario that has latex that would sell them as raw layers.

Custom Foam have 2527,2535,2545 poly as wall as 4lb MF, 5lb MF, 6lb MF, and the 5lb gel infused MF. The gel infused MF felt slightly firmer than the regular 5lb MF.

What I do know for certain is that I will be crazy by the end of this process!


this is fairly “typical” of the difference between male and female physiology. Women tend to have wider hips and they are a common pressure point while men tend to have wider shoulders and narrower hips and experience more pressure issues there. In both cases … it points to a thicker/softer comfort layer being necessary than the Contour signature provides (although like most memory foam mattress it would soften during the initial break in period as well).

[quote]After trying out a bunch of beds the past week, I’m more curious to find out more the WHY of how and why that Bellafina bed feels the best.

I have my suspicions, that given our “stats” that 3" or 4" in the comfort layer is not giving us enough room to reduce the pressure points in the hip area for my wife, and the shoulder area for me. So the Bellafina with 3" in the top memory foam coupled with the 3" of latex is giving us 6" of comfort layer. While that middle three inches of latex is probably, as you suggested, probably somewhere in between a comfort layer and a support layer.[/quote]

The why and how may be more complex than you imagine and is difficult to “nail down” without knowing the specifics of the materials (which you won’t be able to find out to the level that may be necessary) but in essence the reason is a combination of the balance between the “comfort zone” of each mattress which provides the cradle and pressure relief and the support layers which “stop” the heavier parts of the body before they sink in too far. The middle “transition” layer (like the latex in the BellaFina) can play a role in both because the top part of the layer would be softer but latex has a higher compression modulus than polyfoam and gets firmer much faster with deeper compression so it becomes a support layer once it compresses to a certain degree. In other words … ow much of the latex adds to comfort and how much of it adds to support varies with different body shapes and weights. It’s more adaptable than other materials.

I would personally trust your own personal testing rather than going down the road to “designing” your own mattress to the last detail based on specs which can be as misleading and confusing as they can be helpful. Enough information to make good choices and working with an “expert” can be very helpful but too much information and analysis which replaces your personal experience in local testing can often lead to paralysis by analysis and overthinking the construction of a mattress.

I would trust your impressions here about the thickness of the memory foam given your other feedback and considering that the Contour Signature with 4" of memory foam was also a little too firm (although each different type of memory foam … even of the same density … can respond differently to heat, weight, and pressure.

yes … 2.5 lb polyfoam … if its HR grade … has many (but not all by any means) of the qualities of latex. HR polyfoam is really the closest you will come to the feel and performance of latex in polyfoam.

I would also be aware though that ILD (IFD in polyfoam) may not translate directly from one material to another because they are tested in different ways

This is very true … but only to a degree. layer thickness plays an important role in the feel and performance of a mattress and if there are too many thin layers it will change the feel compared to thicker layers and it can become very difficult to know what to change and the thickness of each layer can become an additional variable where the effect on the mattress may have to “intuited” rather than analyzed. This is why personal testing and reference points can be so important because the body feels all the layers as a whole rather than each layer individually.

They certainly have the raw materials that would give you all the choices you need. The extra firmness of the gel memory foam is typical because the gel tend to increase the compression modulus of memory foam which is as much a part of how firm a foam feels as ILD or layer thickness (and temperature response in the case of memory foam as well).

It seems to me that you have some very good material options for a "design your own’ mattress but as you know the challenge will be trying to predict how these specific materials will interact together with each other and with you and because of all the variables involved this is as much based on intuition as it is on specific technical analysis.

As long as it’s “good” crazy :slight_smile: then by the end of it you will know more about mattress theory and design than most people and you will have the satisfaction of sleeping on your own custom design. It’s a fascinating and never ending learning curve. If frustration or confusion (vs interesting questions) starts to creep in though then is the time to pull the trigger on what you believe is best for you and let the experience of your body tell you how you did and what may need to change. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have spend hours in a “relaxed” mode trying to visualize how a certain combination of materials would interact and the 'reasons" behind it.

I will be very interested in watching (or commenting) your journey and seeing what you come up with.

Thanks for all your feedback so far … and I get the impression as well that custom foam/the foam store in Kitchener are good people to work with.


OK. Plunge Taken. Just returned from Custom Foam and ordered the following;

4" 6lb memory foam (Produced by DomFoam)
6" Qualux 40 IFD

Ended up going with the 6lb MF because after look at the samples of 5lb vs. 6lb the 6lb felt more like Tempur-pedic MF than the 5lb did.

This is a start. Didn’t order a cover yet, and the layers will not be glued together. Going to see how this combo feels and go from there. I can modify the feel later with a middle layer. I can also split the middle layer, so my side can be firmer and my wife’s side can be a little softer.

The very nice and helpful lady at CF thought I was NUTS. I very well could be, we’ll know in a week or two when the foam is ready.


Congratulations on your new mattress … or prototype at least :slight_smile:

I think you made a good choice (testing the “feel” of their 5 lb vs 6 lb memory foam and choosing the one that was closest to what you wanted because both of them are good quality materials).

I will be very interested in your feedback when you sleep on it.

Well FWIW … I don’t think you are “nuts” … but being very creative and “experimental”.

I wonder what they will think when others from Kitchener follow your lead and want to do something similar! They may think everyone has gone completely crazy.

If you really are “nuts” then you have lots of good company among many others who are on a similar journey and learning curve … and that would probably put me beyond any hope of recovery :slight_smile:


Or I can hang out my own shingle and charge $4k for a mattress. :stuck_out_tongue:

Your margins may not be quite high enough if you use the quality of foam you are considering (at least if you want that trip around the world you’ve been dreaming about to happen anytime soon).

Why not use some 1.2 lb base foam … add 3" of 2.5 lb memory foam (4" of cheap memory foam may be a little too costly) … use a “natural” cotton gauze cover for it’s “healing and absorbing powers” … sprinkle some gold dust in the mattress (fool’s gold of course) … and then build the story that you want to sell.

You could call it the Real Sleep n Zzzz mattress (not the fake ones that everyone else has) … list it for $9,999.00 and have a 50% off sale and then let your customers negotiate you down to $4499 and throw in a pillow to make sure they realize that they got an amazing deal and would give you great reviews.

Your story could be all about how your mattress has a “secret” ingredient that will energize and heal you as you bathe in its golden light over the course of the night and that the gauze makes sure that the light penetrates every cell in your body and helps absorb all the toxins you are releasing. Of course I would make sure I explained that there isn’t another one like it anywhere in the world and that you are only selling it for such a ridiculously low price because you like them so much. You could even have a deluxe model that had twice as much of your secret ingredient for only an extra $1000.

You would only have to sell one mattress to pay for your shingle (and hire some armed bodyguards if necessary) and once it goes viral … it shouldn’t take you too long to retire and leave the country (hopefully before your mattresses fell apart) so you could spend the rest of your life traveling or doing anything you wanted to do after that :slight_smile:


Quick update. Picked up the foam today. Ended up getting 6" of 2545 poly because Custom Foam can’t get Qualux in a single piece to make a king size. Would have to have it glued, so I went with the 2545.

Another small issue, unrolled the memory foam and there is a nice tear in it. Called Custom Foam and they are ordering a new piece of memory foam. They said to sleep on it for a few nights, and if I don’t like it, I can order the 5lb instead.

Initial impression after lying on it for about 30 minutes, I am in HEAVEN!

More updates to come.


Those are the sweetest words a mattress designer could ever hope to hear … and in this case you get to be both the designer and the designee :slight_smile:


Funny thing is, 22 years ago I bought a 6" piece and a 4" piece of poly to go inside a waterbed frame I just HAD to have. I ordered the foam before I received the bed frame. After I got the bed, tried putting the foam in the frame, and it was 4 inches too short. I hadn’t realized a waterbed was longer than a standard bed. A call to Custom Foam to order another 4" of foam that I was going to fill the foot of the bed with. Custom Foam would have none of it, demanded I bring the foam back. By the time I got there, they had cut 2 new pieces of foam at the correct length, no charge. The more things change…

Custom Foam called yesterday morning, and offered again to exchange the foam, or give me 50% of the money back for the memory foam should we decide to keep it. They have a “Simply Perfect” mattress that is 3" of 5lb gel foam over 5" of 2535 poly covered in a zippered organic cotton cover. We wanted to get a new mattress for our eldest daughter, so I asked for a mattress instead of the money back.

Now for my new bed, the first night wasn’t very good at all. I was trying to observe myself sleeping all night, so it was a disaster. Last night was a bit better, but my overall initial impression is, too firm. I’m feeling too much pressure in the shoulder area. I think the 6lb isn’t thick enough or soft enough to form a sufficient cradle. It is very supportive, and very conforming, just not deep enough.

I think I’m going to add 2" or maybe even 3" of a softer 5lb non-gel memory foam as a topper. I don’t think adding anything softer under the 4" 6lb is going to do very much.

I know it’s going to soften up some and break in, but I really want it to be perfect NOW!


[quote]I think I’m going to add 2" or maybe even 3" of a softer 5lb non-gel memory foam as a topper. I don’t think adding anything softer under the 4" 6lb is going to do very much.

I know it’s going to soften up some and break in, but I really want it to be perfect NOW! [/quote]

I think we all know that anything but NOW is never good enough :slight_smile:

As you know … mattress designing can involve some trial and error but the more you share your experiences with us the more impressed I am with Custom Foam!

I would also agree with you that a softer memory foam on top will likely be more effective than something under the 6 lb memory foam. I would tend towards 2" only because it’s less risky in terms of alignment over the course of the night. Memory foam … like all viscoelastic materials (including concrete) … can “creep” under a constant load which means that it will relax with constant pressure over the course of the night under the heavier areas of the body so there is sometimes a risk with thicker layers of starting off the night in good alignment but waking up out of alignment.


Thanks for the suggestion. I think 2" will do the trick. Just to make sure, I went to Walmart earlier this evening and picked up 2 x 1.25" memory foam toppers. I’m going to try 2.5" and see how that goes. The Chinese foam is fairly low density, but it will give me a general idea. I got the suggestion from this post here.

Thanks again!


That can be a good “testing option”. You’ll have to compensate for the difference in the density and quality of the material but it will certainly be a good pointer.



Finding the 2.5" of Chinese foam to be a little too soft. As per your warning, the 2.5" of additional memory foam is “creeping” and becomes too soft after 30 minutes or so. I can feel my hips sinking in too far and starting to rotate. The Chinese foam I am guessing is probably around 3lb density. I could sleep with the window wide open, and chill the room down to -10C and that would make it nice and firm. :stuck_out_tongue:

And that chinese foam STINKS! I have a hardly noticeable odour from the Canadian foam.

Now I know how Goldilocks felt.


It’s amazing how even as little as 1" extra of foam changes the feel of a bed. A few weeks ago we were at Sears testing out beds, and they had a few different models of ZedBeds on the floor. There were two identical models, except one had an extra inch of foam. Incredible in the difference in feel 1" of foam makes.

I called Custom Foam earlier today and ordered 2" of 5lb memory foam, along with a 12" zippered organic cotton cover to close it all up. Hopefully, in a week or so, that will make it just perfect!


That’s for sure … especially if it’s in a more 'strategic" area of the mattress layering. Many people are surprised at the difference an extra inch can make.

That sounds very reasonable to me … and once again I’m looking forward to your “report” :slight_smile: