Saturday, 2 March 2019

Tutorial: Tassels

Having started with the cording tutorial it's now time for the tassel tutorial so that you are fully prepared for the ornament construction tutorial that will hopefully be posted tomorrow. This tutorial is picture heavy!

Making tassels is fairly easy - it just gets a bit fiddly now and then - especially if, like me, you have rheumatism. When doing this the first time it's worth trying it out with cheap craft floss or some crochet cotton. My desk is always a bit messy as I like to have things to hand - and you can see it in my photos hehe.

What you need:

  • 22" / 56cm (craft)thread in a colour of your choice for the tassel itself, I don't usually cut this off but it's useful to know how much you need in case your thread is running low.
  • 2 bits of (craft)thread of 6" / 16.5cm in the same colour to hang it with and to wrap around the threads.
  • A piece of sturdy card that's 1" x 3" / 2.5cm x 7.5cm - the length isn't as important as the width.
  • A large eye needle - mine is a massive 3" / 7.5cm one but smaller is probably easier to use. 
  • You *may* need a pair of round nosed pliers.
  • Scissors - I usually use my fabric scissors for this.
How to make the tassel:
Place one of the 6" threads onto the piece of card. I have written "Tassel template" on both sides of mine to make sure I don't mistake it for a bit of scrap cardboard and chuck it into the paper recycle box.
Take the longer bit of thread and, making sure you start at an edge of the template, wrap it around the template (also making sure to go over the thread you placed on top) about ten times. It's important to make sure that both ends of the thread end up on the same side of the template - so both at the bottom or at the top. It's also important that the ends are at least equal to the wrapped threads, a bit longer is easier. If you don't have them equal or longer then you will have to cut off more of the other threads to make the tassel ends all be the same.
Take both ends of the thread that goes underneath the wrapped threads and pull them to the opposite edge that the cut ends are on - you may need to give them a hard tug.
Make sure both ends of the thread are equal and tie a double knot.
Slide the tassel off the cardboard template. Don't worry if one of the end bits jumps up, it's secured by the knot you just tied. (This is why you need both of the ends ending at the same side of the template)
Place the second 6" / 16.5cm thread along the tassel - it should be longer than the loops but not as long as the ends you knotted. Normally I'd be holding it in my hand when I do this but I wanted to show how long the thread is on the non-loop end of things so I am not.
Hold it in your hand like this, you are only covering about 1/4" / 6mm from the knot you made earlier.
Wrap the thread round three times.
Make sure the "hole" is facing you and tie a double knot below where the hole is, making sure it's tight.
It should now look something like this.
Time for the huge needle!
Slide the needle through the hole and under the wrapped bit of the tassel. Don't worry if you split threads of the tassel but do make sure you are not going through the wrapped threads.
Thread the needle with both ends of the thread you wrapped with. You can now see why a big eye is handy.
Take hold of the loose ends and pull the needle through.
Sometimes it's a bit difficult to pull the needle through as you did a great job of wrapping tightly. Try placing the eye of the needle on your template (to protect the table - if you look at my desk you can see some holes... that's from when I forgot to use the template to protect it) and giving it a good hard push and see how far you can get it though. Sometimes it doesn't work and at this time it's handy to use a pair of pliers to help pull the needle through... just make sure you and anybody else in the room is out of range of the needle as when it does pop through it's sudden and fast. (Voice of experience here... a punctured boob hurts!)
Give the ends a little tug to make sure they are completely through.
Time to cut the loops! It's best to do them one by one and make sure you are cutting the centre of the loop so all ends are even. If you don't you may have to trim more than you wanted.
Hold the tassel between your fingers with just the tips sticking out. Here you can see the longer threads from wrapping the tassel sticking out the most.
Snip off the two longer ends at about the same level as the rest, not having them in the way makes the next bit easier: trim the ends as level as you can, you may need to rotate the tassel a bit to get all the ends.
Here you can see the trimmed tassel and the bits I trimmed off. You can see that I bobbinate my threads by looking at the thread in the background and looking at the tassel... this kinking is fixable so don't worry if you also bobbinate.
Place the tassel on the table in front of you. Grab one of your tapestry needles and use it to break up the strands of the threads. Start at the wrapped end and work towards the bottom. Do this a bunch of times.
The tassel will fan out a bit and you will notice that not all threads were split up.
Turn the tassel round...
And give it another round of splitting the threads.
You may notice that some threads are suddenly longer than the rest and it's not so even any more.
Just take hold of the tassel ends again and give it another trim.
And here is the finished tassel! Any kinked bits can now be fixed by making the tassel wet and stroking the threads together into a cylinder.
Here it is - still wet, hence the colour difference - with the cord I made in the previous tutorial. You can see I tied an overhand knot about 1/2" / 1.25cm above the tassel - that's what I will be using the anchor it in the ornament. Where you place this knot is entirely up to you - you can have as much or as little of this thread showing on your finished ornament.

I hope this was helpful for you!

If all is well I'll be back tomorrow with the Ornament construction tutorial.


  1. Oh! I've never made a tassel, but you make it look so easy. Sure, there's a lot of steps, but I'm sure I can follow them one by one.

    1. I can't even remember when I learnt how, this is just the method I developed for mine as it works for me. Once you are making them there are less steps, it's just that I stopped lots of times part way through a step to make things easier to follow. I hope it helps you make them should you ever need a tassel for something :)

  2. Thank you,also for your cord-tutorial!!!!!



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