How to Upholster a Half Tester

Updated February 21, 2017

Half testers, sometimes called half canopies, are derivatives of four poster beds. Four poster beds hung with heavy curtains used to be common to provide warmth and privacy. The half tester is a nod to the romantic appeal of the traditional four poster without the heaviness of full draperies. Half testers can be as long as half the length of the bed or they can be as short as just a few inches. The length of the half tester is determined by personal preference and the location of obstacles like overhead lights or ceiling fans.

Measure the length and width of your bed. Cut your plywood so it's an inch wider than your bed and one-third the length of your bed.

Locate the studs in your ceiling using a stud finder. Try to find studs close to where the corners of your half tester will hang. Mark the location of four studs. Mark the matching locations on the top of your plywood. Screw the hooks into your plywood and screw the eye-bolts to the ceiling at the marked locations so you can hang your half tester when it's complete.

Upholster the plywood so the hooks are on the back and the upholstery is on the front. Wrap the plywood in quilt batting, stapling the quilt batting to the side of the plywood with a with a staple gun. Wrap upholstery fabric over the padded plywood and staple it to the back of the plywood.

Cut 1-by-4 timbers to the same measurements as your plywood. Wrap the timbers in quilt batting and fabric. Make the fabric a contrasting fabric to the plywood for a more detailed look. Staple the quilt batting and the fabric to the top of each timber, which is one inch.

Attach the timbers to the plywood by screwing wood screws through the plywood and into the timbers. Attach the timbers so the top edge of the timbers with the staples is against the upholstered plywood. That way when you attach the half tester to your ceiling, the visible portions of your half tester are upholstered.

Lift your half tester and hang it from the ceiling. Hang it by inserting the hooks on the top of your half tester into the eye-bolts hanging from the ceiling.

Slip draperies onto a tension rod sized to fit inside your half tester. Use enough draperies so they're full. Position the tension rod at the head of your half tester and adjust the draperies so they hang down behind the head of your bed.


Make sure your half tester doesn't interfere with your overhead light fixture or ceiling fan. Adjust the size of your half tester accordingly. Dress your upholstered half tester up even more with the addition of ribbon, lace or fringe.


Make sure your half tester is bolted to studs so it doesn't fall in the middle of the night. Don't use half testers over children's beds as they may be tempted to climb on them, causing injury.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Plywood
  • Saw
  • Stud finder
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • 4 hooks
  • 4 eye-bolts
  • Quilt batting
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Upholstery fabric
  • 1-by-4 timber
  • Wood screws
  • Draperies
  • Tension rod
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About the Author

Angela Roe is a freelance writer who specializes in writing online articles, including topics as diverse as home improvement and decor, crafts, ballroom dancing, sports, fitness and business interests, as well as marketing and research, and business associations. She also provides SEO copy to industry-leading Web-content providers.