The following article is an excerpt from Mike & Debbie Schramer’s Fairy House.
Canopy beds conjure up so many dreams. We once created a beautiful canopy bed for a wedding gift. It was soft and covered with an antique wedding veil, ivory beads, and tiny stars. But the most amazing part of this lovely piece was a painting on the bottom of the canopy bed of a couple floating in the air above a meadow of flowers.
Bark, wood, or cardboard for the bottom of the bed
Four branches for the legs of the bed
Eight twigs that will support the canopy and brace the legs
Tendrils for the canopy
Pussy willows, moss, or rose petals for the bedding
Fabric snippets for pillows
Flowers, pods, and leaves for decoration
Moss to cover glue
Cut a basic rectangle from bark, wood, or cardboard in the size and shape you want your bed to be. You can also make the bed frame completely from twigs rather than using bark or cardboard; this will take a little longer, but it looks more natural.
Cut four branches, twigs, driftwood pieces, or pieces of a similar material of equal size for the legs and glue them to underside frame of the bed. It is a good idea to choose branches that are thicker or wider at the bottom so that the bed will stand up well. You can also glue pods as feet on the bottom of the legs, which will make the bed look more grounded and stable.
Cut four more branches for the posts of the headboard and the footboard; they don’t need to be the same height (the headboard can be taller than the footboard to make it a little more unique). Make all four branches tall enough to accommodate the space between the bed itself and the canopy. Glue the four bedpost branches to the bed frame at each corner.
Brace the legs to make them stronger by adding rungs. You can do this in several different styles. Do you want to have a more modern, linear look, or a more curved look? Take time to go through your materials and see what you can find that might make your bed really beautiful and unique.
Create the bedding or mattress before covering or enclosing the canopy so you have more unrestricted room to work. The bedding or mattress can be fashioned from thick moss, rose petals, or pussy willows. You probably want the bedding to look very soft and fluffy, so add enough moss or whatever material you choose. If you use rose petals or pussy willows for the top of the bedding, you can glue down a layer of pillow stuffing first. Then put a piece of fabric over that and add the rose petals, pussy willows, or even cattail down, which is very soft. You can also make bedding by creating a pillow in a rectangular shape the size of the bed and filling it with lavender, rose petals, or herbs for a lovely, fragrant mattress. Cover any areas where the glue shows with either moss or flowers. Glue the little mattress you made onto the bed, unless you have glued your bedding material right onto the bed frame or over stuffing of some kind to make it fluffy.
Connect the four bedposts at the top, which will complete the basic form of the canopy. Glue delicate tendrils from one bedpost to another so that there are four branches supporting the canopy. The canopy does not need to be boxy; you can use curly or more curved branches or twigs that are somewhat irregular. The canopy can have a pyramid shape, an oval shape, a very straight design, or something wavy that uses curly willow or curly filbert branches.
Add something lacy, like a leaf skeleton or fabric netting. It can be tied in the corners or hang down, depending on how you want your canopy to look.
Embellishing the canopy for your Princess Bed can be very artistic. Every part presents an opportunity to add flowers, grapevine tendrils, tiny shells, or polished stones. If you’ve gathered clematis or Virginia creeper vines, you can wrap them around the posts and the canopy. Have fun and make it look amazing!