What Is the Difference Between Illusion & Tulle?

Brides Veil image by Kevin Cooke from Fotolia.com

Walking into a fabric store to look for veil material can be overwhelming. The different kinds of veiling can be difficult to tell apart, making deciding what material will work best a challenge. Understanding the difference between two common veiling materials, illusion and tulle, can help you choose the best fabric for your needs.


Illusion veiling is a type of tulle or netting with extremely fine, diamond-shaped holes. It is a light material that drapes well and still holds a shape, making it a common choice for bridal veils.

Tulle is a lightweight woven netting that is often starched to give it more body. The size of the holes in tulle can vary depending on the material and the intended usage.


Illusion is almost exclusively used for bridal and other veils, due to its lightness and drape. Varieties of tulle are used for short veils, dance costumes, crinolines and other items that require a stiffer fabric, such as decorations and even hair bows.


Both kinds of veiling are available in many different colors and lengths. Most illusion veiling material is available in widths up to 108" and in varying shades of white and ivory, to coordinate with a bridal gown. Tulle is available in a greater range of shades than illusion veiling, with brights and pastels among the color options.


When deciding between tulle and illusion veiling, take into consideration the stiffness of the material and the drape you desire for your project. Illusion veiling, while it has body, will have more drape and flow than starched tulle. On the other hand, if your project requires fullness, the stiffer tulle fabric may be a better option.


Illusion veiling is primarily made of polyester, while tulle can be made from both synthetic and natural fibers, such as rayon, nylon, cotton and silk. Note that silk tulle is dramatically different from the traditional tulle; instead of being full and stiff, it is soft and flowing, even more so than illusion veiling. Silk tulle is used in a similar fashion to illusion veiling and should not be confused with nylon or polyester tulle.