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I have a recent obsession with tassels, and anything with tassels attached, malas, bracelets, shoes, and charms. They’re just so swishy and lovely, I like to think they swish and twirl their magic wherever they go! But buying them ready-made is expensive! Especially the larger ones. Plus, if I am going to wear one, I want it with the right energy around it, knowing it’s been hand-made by a kindred soul is way more important and interesting, isn’t it?
So, I set about figuring out how to make them. They’re actually not hard at all, and I thought I’d share a quick tutorial with you so you can make some too!
A group of colourful tassels I made, once you start, it’s addictive!
First, I came across a tutorial for making tassel earrings, all in Russian, but the photos made it relatively easy to figure out the process. (Apologies but I can’t find it again, should have bookmarked/Pin’d it!).
I have piles of old wooden thread spools full of all different kinds of thread in all different colours, plus newer spools, embroidery threads, metallics, silk threads, all bits and bobs of stuff. All just sitting in jars and bags, and doing nothing, so I pulled those out. I like a variety of colours and textures mixed together, it adds a lovely, luxe richness to the tassels, but they work just fine with one kind of thread too. It’s all regular sewing machine thread, and machine embroidery thread, and a mix of silk, polyester, cotton threads, but whatever you have on-hand works just fine.
Along with assorted threads, you’ll also need:
- A piece of cardboard a bit longer than the length of your finished tassel, (to allow a bit of extra length to be trimmed off when you’re done), I wanted a 5″ finished tassel so I made my cardboard 5-1/2″ long
- a metal or beaded tassel cap- you can find these at most larger craft supply stores
- a metal key ring
- a snap clip
- some charms to attach to your keyring- optional
- heavier weight jump rings to attach your charms
- sharp scissors
Start by making the tassel:
With the piece of cardboard, take a spool of thread and start wrapping the thread around and around the cardboard lengthwise. You can see I set up a “bobbin” using a wooden skewer, to keep the spool in one place while wrapping the thread around the card. You can also let it sit loosely on your lap while you wrap, just know those little guys like to take off and go flying across the room when you’re not looking!
Keep wrapping and wrapping thread around and around. To add a different colour, just snip the old one off at the bottom and let the new end dangle from the bottom edge, then wrap right over it securing the new colour in place. You don’t have to be super tidy doing this, but try to keep the cardboard straight (not wrapping too tightly around it) to keep the ends fairly even in the next steps.
Keep wrapping and wrapping until you get to the thickness of tassel that you want, and will fit inside your tassel cap, remembering that whatever thickness you are at, it will be doubled once you remove the cardboard and fold the wrapped threads in half to make the tassel top.
Cut a separate piece of coordinating coloured thread and double it, then tie the tassel tightly at the centre. You don’t need to trim the ends, just let them blend into the main tassel threads.
Remove the card board and fold and arrange your tassel so it looks more “tassel-y” as above. What a mess! Not to worry, we have a magic trick coming up!
Glue on the tassel cap. I used Aleene’s Glitter & Gem Glue– the best stuff and super strong, and I love the pointy tip, it makes it easy to apply without a bunch of gluey mess! Holding the folded over top end of the tassel tightly, stuff the top end of the tassel right inside the tassel cap as far as it will go. I used my wooden skewer to really push it in tightly to make sure it was all nice and snug inside.
Let it dry overnight or at least for a couple of hours.
Still messy looking though, how do you get rid of the crazy swirly tangly action?
First, trim the ends so the loops from wrapping the thread around the cardboard are cut off. You don’t have to be super precise at this point.
Next, get your iron filled with water and turned up nice and hot. Grab something to hang your tassel on, I used my good old wooden skewer, but a metal knitting needle would work too, anything long enough that will keep your hands away from the hot steam of your iron.
Hold the tassel in front of the iron on the skewer, and pouf some- a bunch!- of steam on it with the iron. (You can also hold them over a steaming kettle or boiling pot of water). The steam straightens the curly threads, like magic! Keep steaming ’til the threads are nice and straight and untangled- you can also use a wide tooth comb to help untangle them, as you go.
Once you’re happy with the straightness, grab some sharp scissors and give the ends a nice even trim and give the tassel a tidy, again a comb works great for de-tangling.
Now you’ve got your pretty tassel done, attach it to the keyring, add your charms and snap clip, and you’re done! Clip it on to your favorite bag, and let it swish some magic into your day!
You might be wondering about the “wordy” charms I used, in this case the one I used reads “Namaste”. I made them myself with inkjet-printable Shrinky Dinks, and I created the lettering for them myself, all by hand (but digitally), then printed out a sheet of them. Cut them out, let the oven work it’s magic on them, and presto!
Lots of charms ready for lots of tassel-y fun!
Now, if that wasn’t fun enough, or, if you’d like to buy one ready-made from me-supporting an indie working artist brings you very good karma I must say!- I have a bunch already made and infused with artistic karma and magic, waiting for their new owners to let them shine!