How To Make Your Own Beautiful Tulle Wedding Veil

Having a custom, handmade veil only sounds expensive.

January 26, 2018
Ludovica Bastianini / EyeEm/getty

I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that the average wedding costs just shy of $30,000, according to The Knot. From a dress you'll only wear once to favors that your guests will throw out, a celebration of joy starts feeling a little wasteful.

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I'm getting married in September and I have found that one of the least cost-effective parts of the wedding is the veil. You wear it for 30 minutes to an hour, it costs $100 or more, and it's just tulle. If you make it yourself, you'll not only save money, you'll also be sure that it wasn't made in a sweatshop or with unnatural fabrics. (And no one will believe you did it!)

Follow the easy steps below to learn how to make your own beautiful veil out of natural materials. 

1. Measure

Grab a friend. Hold the measuring tape on your head where you'll want it to sit—for some, this is on the top of your head, for others, it may be at the back of your head. It's just a style choice. Measure to where you want the veil to fall. Common lengths are shoulder, elbow, fingertip, floor, chapel (small train), and cathedral (long train). I measured from the back of my head to the top of my butt (or "elbow" length) and it came to about 32 inches.

Here are some quick tips for arranging your own bouquet:

2. Buy Your Tulle

Disclaimer: I did use nylon tulle, not silk tulle, for my veil because I didn't have silk available in the timeframe I needed it. Still, don't be afraid to think outside of the box when you're looking for fabric. If you want a shorter veil, consider giving new life to a second-hand, cathedral-length veil from a thrift shop.


Invite earth-friendly tactics into your wedding-planning process. Check out these 5 rules for a greener wedding.

Whatever you buy, make sure you have enough. The general shape of a veil is a semi-oval. For my elbow length veil, the flat top was the length of the fabric (72 inches) and the center of the arc measured 42 inches. Be sure to double check the width of your fabric (it needs to be less than or equal to what you measured in step 1).

Related: How To Source Your Wedding Flowers Locally And Sustainably, According To Florists

Photograph courtesy of Julia Merz

3. Cut Your Tulle

Getting a nice curve is tricky, especially since it may not a perfect semi-circle given your style. To keep it symmetrical, I folded the tulle in half and made a simple pattern out of wrapping paper. I measured from the edge down the length I had measured in step 1 (this will be the bottom of the curve). Then, since I folded the fabric in half, I measured 36 inches in the perpendicular direction (this will be the flat top).


Related: DIY Wedding Favor Ideas

Then, I made a makeshift compass by attaching a pencil to a string. With my future mother-in-law holding the edge of the string very still (or I might recommend taping the string to the table if it's big enough or the floor), I traced the curve onto the paper. I pinned the tulle to the paper and cut along the line. Fortunately, tulle doesn't fray.

4. Add a Trim (Optional)

The sky is the limit. You can do lace or beads or ribbon or whatever you want. I found a small, beaded trim that I hand sewed on. It was a little tedious, but it wasn't difficult, and I was able to knock it out in a few hours.

Related: 6 Ways To Save Cash By Making Your Wedding Gorgeous And Green

veil back
Photograph courtesy of Julia Merz

5. Gather it and attach it to a hair comb

Gather the veil along the flat top with a simple running stich, trying to keep the pleats alternating neatly. Then pull it to match the width of your comb. To attach it to the comb, my future mother-in-law wrapped a piece of tulle over the top of the comb and through the teeth, securing the ends with a few stitches. We then sewed the veil to the tulle and we had it! A veil that we had complete control over—sustainability, design, and (best of all) price!

Editor's Note: This article originally ran in 2014.