Here's the thing about hand beaded veils: It takes precision, patience, some intuitive layout skills and time but this is a project that many people can master if they don't mind putting in some practice BEFORE attempting to hand bead their bridal veil. I say before because the nylon tulle used to make veils is delicate, fragile and not forgiving in nature (it will stretch and tear) so you need to know exactly how to do this before you attempt to on your finished veil.
With that said, what you will need are crystal beads. (You can also use pearls or glass beads.) These are my favorite Swarovksi Austrian Crystals to use for hand beading veils. The shape is called a bicone and the Swarovski style number is #5301. It's faceted like a diamond which helps to create nice, bright, sparkles when light reflects off of them.
Pictured here in three sizes 4mm, 5mm, and 6mm. I almost always used the 4mm exclusively on short veils, meaning from the fingertip up. Floor length veils I would sometimes use 5mm beads at the bottom of the veil where it drags on the ground and blend them into the 4mm to bead up to the top where the veil attaches to the comb.
Most popular colors for bridal veils are the clear crystals or the AB (which stands for aurora borealis) which have a rainbow shimmer to them that will cast off colored sparkles when the light hits them.
Authentic freshwater pearls are more tedious because their holes are drilled very, very small so it's hard to find a needle that will fit through them.
You can also use round crystals or beads. The round Swarovski crystals (style number #5000) are more expensive than the bicone shape and since I preferred the other bicone shape, I seldom used the round for hand beading onto veils.
To sew the crystals to the tulle I used this nylon transparent thread size .005 by Coats. The thread is similar to fishing line and is an "invisible" monofilament.
Here is a close up of the thread.
For sewing I would use small needles. "Sharps" or "Quilting Betweens" were usually the perfect size. Their short length makes them just the right size and shape for hand beading.
And this is the nylon tulle close up. I will repeat again, do NOT practice doing this on your actual veil. Most fabric stores sell nylon tulle. It usually runs around $3 per yard. Buy a yard and use it to practice your technique until you can do this perfectly. Only then should you move on to your actual bridal veil.
The strands create a small diamond pattern. Your goal will be to sew each crystal to a single strand of tulle.
To begin, thread the needle.
Now double knot the thread directly to the head of the needle making sure to tie one knot and the second knot directly over the first one, not to the needle itself.
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Wendy Paulson• 2015-02-21 21:29:30
I would love to understand what you are trying to say. I do not understand about the double knot, nor do I understand about the knot sliding toward the bead. This seems to be the best way to bead but I just don't get it. Do you have a video? Can you explain things in a different way? Please help, I have tried this using bigger beads, and thread for practice, but it still does not work....Help!
The Flirty Guide• 2015-02-21 21:49:38
You tie a knot. Then immediately tie the threads again the exact same way a second time. This makes two knots one layered on top of the other.
The sliding the knot towards the bead refers to sliding the double knots up to the edge of the hole of the bead so that you can then run the two cut ends through the hole and gently pull the knots into the center of the bead to hide them before trimming the ends of the threads.
Wendy Paulson• 2015-03-05 12:47:41
To be more specific this is the part I find the most confusing "Now double knot the thread directly to the head of the needle making sure to tie one knot and the second knot directly over the first one, not to the needle itself" The way that I read it I can tie a double knot directly to the head of the needle but not to the needle. Thanks
The Flirty Guide• 2015-03-05 13:53:51
Run the thread through the eye of the needle and tie it, knotting it, to the needle. At this point do not run either cut end of the thread back through the eye of the needle. Tie another knot. This way the second knot is tied directly above the first knot to create two knots.
Wendy Paulson• 2015-03-05 14:47:25
Thanks, that I do understand. The chemo really has effected my brain a lot more than I would care to understand. The second thing that is confusing is when the needle is to be pulled thru the bead, I still find I have the knot hung up in the tulle and is not long enough to be pulled thru. Thanks again. I appreciate your help. I am trying to bead a veil for my daughter's wedding.
The Flirty Guide• 2015-03-05 15:45:35
See the caption "See the double knot?" the pictures above and below show the knots have to be tied alongside the bead, not on the back side of the tulle and not to the tulle itself. If the knots are placed beside one of the bead openings it's then fairly simple to slip both cut ends of the the thread through the bead hole and "pop" the knot inside the bead and trim off the thread ends.
Wendy Paulson• 2015-03-06 10:53:26
Hi it is me again. I know I am so close to understanding this thanks to your outstanding patience!. When the double knotted needle is put thru the tulle, where is the knot? Is it still in the tulle? (in which case I can not use the needle to move the thread thru the bead. Is the double knot that is moving the one that I started with the needle? or is it the double knot that I tied near the bead?
The Flirty Guide• 2015-03-06 11:25:45
There are two different sets of double knots.
1. The first is the set tied directly to the eye of the needle to keep the thread on the needle.
2. The second is the set attaching the bead to the tulle. But you have to be sure to pull the thread through the tulle before tying the knot so as not to tie the knot to the tulle itself. If done properly both knots are tied directly alongside the hole of the bead (as pictured). That allows to easily guide them into the hole to conceal the double knot.
Wendy Paulson• 2015-03-06 11:38:29
Thanks so much for all your help! I think I finally understand the whole thing. You are very patient and kind to help me thru this!
The Flirty Guide• 2015-03-06 11:43:00
I'm happy I can help! I will have to make time and make a video as I'm certain it would help to clear things up immensely. I will be removing the tutorials here on this site but will repost the most popular on my blog so they can still help others in the future.
Karl• 2015-03-08 09:15:19
Hi, do you know where I can purchase tulle with the crystals already on it?
The Flirty Guide• 2015-03-08 11:27:07
Sorry but no, I've never seen tulle sold that way.