How to Make a Cheap And Stylish Birdcage Veil (It’s Easy)


AKA how to be a fancypants the easy way

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

Stylish couple kissing with bride wearing a DIY birdcage veil

How to DIY a birdcage veil is something I can file under “things I wish I’d known when I got married. When Michael and I ran off to the courthouse to get married, I didn’t really have enough time to plan an outfit. So when it came time to get dressed the next morning, I looked around, grabbed the birdcage veil his sister had bought for her wedding, and threw it on last-minute before heading City Hall. I had never planned on wearing a wedding veil (and didn’t for our formal ceremony a year later), but I loved that birdcage veil. It felt a little like playing dress up without being cumbersome or in the way. And at the expense of sounding like an episode of Say Yes to the Dress, it made me feel like A Person About To Get Married, even in my clearance H&M dress and thrift store heels.

The thing is, birdcage veils are one of those bizarro wedding accessories that costs way more than you’d ever expect to. (In my head? Maybe twenty-five dollars. In real life? Upward of fifty but probably closer to a hundred. Why? Is this tulle made of diamonds?) The good news is, they are super easy to make, and the cheap tulle actually tends to have a bit more volume. So here is our quick and easy guide to making your own cheap birdcage veil, the #lazygirl way:

Materials For Your Birdcage Veil:

  • 16–18” of 9” French netting: California Millinery in LA  for $2 a yard or on Etsy for $2.25 for 1/2 yard
  • 10–12” of awesome 1/4” ribbon, $1–$3
  • Thread to match your netting
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Embellishments: feathers, rhinestones, flowers or whatever you’re feeling excited about.
  • Hot glue–optional if you want to glue your embellishment on to your comb to make it extra fancy.

Long step by step series of images on making a DIY birdcage veil

Directions for making aN Easy birdcage veil:

1. Fold the veil in half and, while it’s folded, trim one corner diagonally.  How you cut it determines how your veil will fall across your face, so your best bet is to measure the edge you’ve just cut (while it’s still folded) and make sure it’s hitting your face where you were hoping. It can be end at your forehead, eye, lips, or cover your whole face!

2. Open up your veil, and stitch along the uncut side using the little diamonds as a guide. (You’re effectively creating a drawstring for your veil.)

3. When you get to the end, pull your thread tight so your veil scrunches up, and adjust this length to match your comb. Make sure to re-adjust the way it’s scrunched and where the creases fall before you tie your knot.

4. Wrap the comb with the awesome ribbon (we used a gold one). The easiest way is to start by wrapping it through the teeth on one end and tying a knot. Then continue to wrap it between the teeth and over the top of the comb until you get to the other end, and tie another knot. Now you have some fabric to sew your veil to!

5. Sew your veil to the back of your comb. Don’t worry if it’s messy. Or, if you’ve already reached your sewing threshold, feel free to use some hot glue. Seriously, hot glue has saved many a DIY project.

6. Optional: Hot glue, sew, or clip on your embellishment. Done! Now, go be fabulous.

Bride in a red dress looking down in a DIY birdcage veil

Modifications For Your Short Wedding Veil:

You can use wider French netting (18”) if you want your veil to cover more of your face. You can also use another type of netting or a different color (I’m partial to metallic gold) for a different look.

Tips & Tricks:

  • We like the way synthetic netting looks for this project (and it’s much cheaper), but if you want to use silk netting, just know that it will be much softer and your final veil won’t have as much structure.
  • Don’t worry if the back of your comb looks a little messy—no one will ever see it, especially if you plan on using an embellishment (aka camouflage).

Stylish couple on a black and white wall with balloons, the bride wears a DIY birdcage veil and a red dress


The Info:

Styling: Winston & Main APW Sponsor | Photography: Marble Rye Photography APW Sponsor | Model: Ravayna Coe

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

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  • guest

    Is there any secret to choosing the right comb to stay in your hair? My hair is extremely slippery, so I get very nervous about this. Like so slippery that I have never found a youtube hair tutorial that works (the idea that a bobby pin could keep hair in place in insane to me, they slide out in seconds)

    • Sara P

      So I also have insanely slippery hair – have you considered something more like a barrette? It would probably take some looking, but I bet it would work better. (I have also heard that people use hairspray to get things like this to stick, but I’d probably need so much hairspray to keep a comb in my hair that I’d be swimming in it.)

    • Bethany

      For me, I don’t wash my hair for two days, then put in some dry shampoo for additional grabby texture. Maybe that would help?

    • laddibugg

      Are you putting the bobby pin wavy side down?
      Your hair might be too slippery still, but a lot of folks don’t know the ‘right’ way to use pins

      • guest

        yes, wavy side down. I don’t get it though, like bobby pins are made of metal and metal is slippery. Of course it slips out? I can also only find one brand of hair ties that won’t slide out but also won’t just stretch out so much that they don’t work after one use. I think my hair must be a weird texture (combination of thin strands plus like three times the normal number of strands) . . .

        • Bethany

          There are bobby pins now with a little bit of rubber on the inside to help grip your hair!

    • Hmmm… I think you could experiment with different combs (metal, plastic etc..) but maybe an alligator clip would be better? You could just wrap the top piece with ribbon and then sew or glue your veil right to it! :)

    • kate

      my hair isn’t necessarily slippery, but it is super thick so things don’t always stick in it like the tutorials either – what helps for me is spraying the pins/comb themselves with hairspray, use lots of texturizer in your hair before styling (i.e. dry shampoo, styling paste/powder, pomade/wax, just nothing meant to sleek & shine it obvs), plus a bunch of hairspray after.
      and seconding suggestion of an alligator clip too – i’d think one of those would probably work pretty good even (potentially) without all that styling product.

    • JessPeebs

      I had the best solution to this! I made an super tiny braid (maybe 2 or 3 cross overs) with itty bitty section of my hair (1/4 inch or less) right where I wanted the comb to go in and secured the braid with a clear elastic band. I just made sure at least one or two of the comb teeth went into the braid, and then the comb stayed all day. As long as you make the braid small it should just hide right into your hair.

    • Bsquillo

      Two pieces of advice: 1) It helps to have some kind of knot or bump to stick the comb in, rather than sticking it directly into regularly styled hair. I guess it depends on what hairstyle you’ll have, but maybe you can incorporate some sort of mini-twist or bun to put the comb into. 2) Besides working with dirty hair or dry shampoo to give your hair more grip, you can also spray the comb directly with hairspray to make it more sticky. And then you can always reinforce it with bobby pins.

  • Lawyerette510

    I love the styling on this

  • eating words

    i love this and am tempted to go to the craft store tonight so i can try it out. my question is: how do you keep a veil in short hair—like, only an inch or two of hair? lots of hair spray and fervent prayers?

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Something like this might work? You probably just want to hairspray the shit out of your hair and make sure you use something super grabby (or, like, ten bobby pins.)

      http://www.amazon.com/Alligator-Barrette-Accessories-Supplies-Findings/dp/B00ASMXF7A

      • eating words

        ooh, yes! i’ve never seen those alligator hair clips, but if anything would work, those would. thanks to both of you.

    • InTheBurbs

      My hair is short and fine – my headpiece had an alligator clip like Maddie referenced below – and used with bobbie pins and hair spray it held – good luck!

    • LisaG

      Or try a headband! That’s what I did. You can see photos in the link I pasted in my comment.

    • Amanda

      Goody brand makes hair clips that are really grabby- they have little ridges of rubber on them, so there’s a lot less sliding around. Go to Target and test some clippies out!

  • Jenny

    I love not only that this has convinced me that making my own veil could be the perfect solution to my selection problems, but that it has pointed out the super obvious that has eluded me: your veil can be any damn colour you want! When you are getting married as a non-traditional bride the choice to not wear white is plain, but veils still seem to be thrown at you exclusively in a pallet of white, off-white and only-just-barely pink. Thank you!

  • Kate

    Random question not about the veil– have you written anywhere about your decision to do a courthouse wedding and a formal wedding later? My fiancee and I are considering it as an option.

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      I haven’t written that post exactly yet, but maybe I will!

  • guest

    Short hair, gold birdcage, headband with fascinator to help hold it in place: https://apracticalwedding.com/2012/07/wedding-ambivalence-australian-wedding-rainbow-wedding-dress/

  • LisaG

    This is great! I did pretty much the same thing, but I attached it to a jeweled headband (that I got for $5 at Payless!) because my hair is too short for a comb. It was perfect – I wanted a little something on my head, but not a veil that would cover my face. It’s also one of the only things I have from the wedding because I sold my dress. Pictures for the curious: http://denuevaphoto.com/2014/01/lisa-nathan-housing-works-bookstore-nyc-wedding-photography/

  • Amanda

    I made my own birdcage veil with silver netting, it looked fabulous! I wore a short purple dress (actually a fancy bridesmaids dress) so wearing a short veil was in proportion to the dress and also made me look more “bridal” in a way that felt ok to me.
    One tip I had was to make sure the weight of any add ons is ok. I made silk roses to attach to the comb. They looked so awesome (green and blue silk!) I added a bunch more. But it was heavier than it looked and needed some tweaking to get it on my head right day of. So just make sure it’s one piece of something heavy, or go lightweight with feathers! And MAKE SURE to do a dry run well in advance so that if it’s weird you have time to make another.

  • Lindsay

    i did this, but with a headband. fellow short-haired commenters, this was so easy! i used this headband: http://www.modcloth.com/shop/hairaccessories/the-pearl-i-love-headband and it looked like this: https://www.facebook.com/vivianchenphotography/photos/a.10152495767021334.1073741945.260828866333/10152495767356334/?type=3&theater and i loved it!!

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  • Kay

    Okay, but how do you make it curve around your face? When I bunch it it just sticks straight out against my head :| xx

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