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How to Hand Bead a Swarovski Austrian Crystal Bridal Veil

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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.
Swarovski Bicone Crystals
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.

You can purchase Swarovski Crystal beads online or at some local bead shops.

Tip: 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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Idea submitted by: Stacie Tamaki

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Comments (23)
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Fairy Tale Mama • 2011-08-06 20:47:30
What an excellent tutorial! I'm making my sister's veil for her wedding in October and I so appreciate the tips!

Cathy • 2011-10-09 13:07:23
Great instructions, easy for a beginner like me to make a beautiful veil for my daughter - Thank you!

Dominique • 2012-01-20 02:45:17
great tip. a way to further secure a knot- add a tiny drop of hard jewelry glue, like UHU, using the head of a pin as an applicator, to the knot. allow the knot to dry inside the bead, then it wont come back out

The Flirty Guide • 2012-01-20 02:49:54
Hi Dominique,

True the glue is a back up method but I always refrained from using glue of any kind because it will look fine at first but over time it will yellow and become brittle, this can reduce the integrity of the thread and cause a discolored area that could show through the clear crystal bead. Since veils are often saved and handed down being aware that the glue may change over time is something to give consideration to. Done the way described in this tutorial the knots won't come through the hole in the bead even without glue.

But for a veil that will only be used once and for a bride who wants the extra security, a tiny bit of glue is a good solution.

Helena • 2012-01-21 18:15:33
Hi this has been so helpful. I am also seeking advice on how to attach teardrop crystals to hem of veil. Wondered if you could help? Many Thanks

Julie • 2012-02-08 13:50:21
Any suggestions on just adding crystal to the edge of a fingertip length veil? Spacing? how to finish the edge of the veil? or not? Thanks

The Flirty Guide • 2012-02-08 14:44:42
There are two ways to do this:

1. To simply add a row of beads to the edge you would need to use fairly small and light beads so they don't weight the edge down too much. How closely you decide to sew them to each other and whether or not you add them individually or as a continuing strand would be something I would experiment with on a sample piece of tulle. Either way I would only use clear, monofilament thread to make the beads appear to be floating on the tulle and not use cotton thread.

2. To add dropped (dangling) beads to the edge of a veil I would add a finished edge to the veil first. Either a seamed edge or a satin ribbon edge. but something that would proved a secure base to attach the beads to. The tulle is so delicate I wouldn't advise simply sewing the beads to the tulle because they could catch on something and tear off too easily.

I will try to create a new tutorial about the ways to do this asap.

Grace • 2012-04-01 04:55:34
This is the BEST tutorial I have found. Most suggest sticking stones on with glue!

Thanks so much. I'll be back! :)

Liz • 2012-05-11 18:56:54
Hi, I am having a lot of trouble maybe because I am not experienced with crystals and beads.
When you say to tie a double know with the loose end, am I supposed to pull one end through the crystal or both ends when dropping it to the tulle in the first step? Then, does the double know use both ends and surround the crystal? Somewhere I am doing the wrong thing and appreciate some tutoring.
Also, how long should the thread be when I first thread the crystal?

The Flirty Guide • 2012-05-15 12:21:29
Hi Liz,

In answer to your questions:

Q: When you say to tie a double know with the loose end, am I supposed to pull one end through the crystal or both ends when dropping it to the tulle in the first step?

A: Only one end. You need one thread through the bead, looping through a single strand of tulle and the other end to tie into a knot connecting them together.

Q: does the double know use both ends and surround the crystal?

A: Yes. Tie them together as if you're about to tie your shoe but instead of a bow tie a knot. Then tie another know.

Q: how long should the thread be when I first thread the crystal?

A: I start with a piece of thread around 18 inches long and will sew a several crystals to the tulle from it. Cutting the thread after each bead.

I hope this is helpful to you!

Nancy • 2012-05-25 13:35:15
I'm having difficulty following this instruction:

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.

Can you post a picture of this? If I tie a knot directly to the head of the needle I won't be able to pull it through the tulle... or do I not have to pull it through the tulle? or does this knot sit at the beginning of the bead? I'm a first timer at this and don't want to mess it up.

The Flirty Guide • 2012-05-25 14:05:27
Hi Nancy!

Tie the first knot directly to the needle. Tie the second knot right after the first knot so that you're tying a knot on top of a knot. Do not try to re-tie to the needle a second time. The knots will fit through the tulle just fine. Test it out. The two knots will still be more narrow than the head of the needle. If they don't fit you're using to heavy of a thread.

Laurie • 2012-07-25 03:58:01
Thank you for this tutorial. I work with swarovski crystals quite a bit in jewelry, and have done several tiaras as well, but have been interested in hand beading a wedding veil. Your instructions and tips are very helpful, and I feel more confident about giving it a try. I'm glad you choose swarovski, too. They definitely have the best sparkle of any crystals I have tried.

Debbie Mitchell • 2012-08-09 08:32:58
excellent instruction. really clear and straightforward!

Connie • 2012-09-26 10:33:10
What a terrific technique! I am making my daughter's veil and using faceted glass beads along with Swarovski crystals. After figuring out the instructions and lots of practice I am now tying them on at a rate of about 2 minutes per crystal. In fact, I am not using a needle at all....just positioning the bead and then sliding the thread underneath the center of the X of the tulle threads and proceeding to tie. I am so grateful to you for these instructions!! Thank you.

Jackie • 2013-02-05 04:37:28
I just don't get it! Can you show a picture/ pictures of tying that knot after cutting the long end of the thread? I've tried all the ways I can think of and can't continue with what I've tied.
Sorry, I'm really keen to make my daughter's 'perfect veil' and am just getting frustrated!

The Flirty Guide • 2013-02-05 06:44:41
Hi Jackie,

If I'm understanding your question correctly the thing is you tie your final knot before cutting the long end of the thread.

Tie the knot, then double tie it, pull the ends through one side of the hole in the bead then gently ease it through until the knot is hidden within the bead. Then cut the ends off after they've come out the other side of the hole.

Dawn • 2013-02-07 11:27:43
How do I sew a pearl, a round crystal ,with a tear drop at the end onto the edge of a veil. I have tried on scrap tulle,but it hangs crooked as the tear drop crystal doesn't have a hole all the way through the center just on one end.

Anne • 2013-05-17 07:00:27
Thank you for such good instructions, l am beading my god daughters veil which was her mothers so l cannot afford to go wrong so a practice first was worthwhile.

Rita Argueta • 2013-08-25 12:48:18
Wow!! Thanks it is very helpful and the close ups are the best.

The Flirty Guide • 2013-11-20 01:45:29
Sorry you found the tutorial confusing Ashley. At this time I am not able to put together a video tutorial. My best suggestion would be to ask a friend to take a look at the instructions and see if they are able to follow the steps, then they could show you. Someday when I have the time I would like to have a video, it just won't work out with my schedule right now.

Mariam • 2014-03-08 15:47:03
Hope U could plz assist. Have purchased a fully beaded piece of swaroski crystal material, which is on tulle, but I don't know how to cut out and transfer it to the dress. Plz Assist. I don't want to spoil the fabric. The transfers require u to cut & paste . Must I first glue the motifs before cutting to prevent beads from being lost . Plz advise.

Thank U .

The Flirty Guide • 2014-03-08 15:51:35
HI Mariam,

I'm sorry but this is not something I can assist you with. Not being familiar with the product you describe there is no advice I can give except to go back where you purchased it from and ask them for more detailed instructions.


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