Dolls' Houses Past & Present

A website and ezine about dolls' houses: antique, vintage and modern. Plus furniture and accessories.

How To make A Half Tester Bed           by Nicholas Brown & Wendy Gater

Half testers are an excellent way to add a statement to your bed.  Try any bed but the black metal ones with knobs on look really good.


Measure the back of the bed, that's your width. The height should be longer than the bed and then some, the height of your room will gauge when to stop. Use your own sense what looks right not too short and not too high. 


Allow a couple of inches or an inch and a half extra that you'll fold back as the top of the tester.   

Equipment Needed:












* A piece of strong card/old book cover or similar

* Old Fabric/lace

* Scissors, glue suitable for adhering card and fabric.

* Needle and thread of required colour.

* Any accessories required to add as decoration ie. ribbon/buttons/trimming



Cut out the card - use old card if you have it - a good idea is look around at antique fairs, people don't want old photos and you can sometimes buy huge ones for a couple of pounds or book covers - I do have ones made of modern card so you don't have to be pure and use old card !!!!! 

Cover your card with a nice old fabric white lawn or anything you think would look like material used for a real tester bed and the materials they used in stately homes and in dolls houses as well. Proper chintz would look very good but up till now I have found that red velvet and old tatty white lawn works great. 

Once your card's covered, make and edge some curtains as long as the card back with a bit of extra at the top and a lot wider than the overhang, as you want some creases in the hang. You only seam the front and the bottom and could edge it with old lace. Glue the other two edges to the card back and then the top edge needs tacking and pulling so there are creases, and then gluing to the top.  

Cut a piece of card that's the same size as the top of the tester, cover in material and glue on top and then cut out a really long strip of material to use as a sort of valance for the top. Seam all 4 sides and glue to the top after ruching one seam and glue that edge just above the level of the top, if you understand me - it hides the join at the top. 

Finally apply any extra decoration ie. nice tatty ribbon bow to the middle of the valance, look out for military crown buttons for the ornaments for the back of tester to royal beds - look on military antique stalls.  Note velvet looks better lined, a bit of extra work and I have folded lawn over so it has some body, but use your own judgement. Then cover the back, you can use old pages from an old book or material.  


You should have a tester for a bed of your choice and it will add a wow factor to your room, I got the idea from seeing one that was in fact a period one so you can tell your friends its an antique reproduction !!!!!!!

Completed Half Tester Bed

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