Here are three ways to make an easy tassel. Tassels have been made and used for centuries from the times of ancient Rome until today as ornaments, embellishments, and decorations. They were often viewed as symbols of power and prestige. Today, they mainly just make things like our handbags and curtain holdbacks look better. I learned a lot about the history of tassels which I'll write about in the future, but today I wanted to show you these simple techniques to make an easy tassel.
Using the leftovers from our recent projects, there should be very little shopping to do. I had a few beads left from the fabric cover beaded necklace. The hessian threads are from the fringed table runner from a couple weeks ago.
The first tassel illustrates the most common way to make tassels. These sort of tassels are commonly used in clothing and as pendants or as charms in jewelry. The second tassel is perhaps the easiest technique to master and combined with tassel number three will make a very beautiful curtain tie back. The third tassel has been made for centuries in some parts of Europe, especially in France which is really considered the cradle of this sort of decoration dating back many centuries.
Today, unfortunately, very few companies remain in business that are dedicated to the art of tassel and trimming making. If you ever lucky enough to find yourself inside one of the factories please do let me know. I would love your thoughts on the subject.
Materials for tassel #1:
- Spool of embroidery thread or yarn of your taste
- Cardboard twice the size of your tassel
Materials for Tassel #2:
- Embroidery floss
- One (1) 15mm plastic or wooden bead with a large hole
Materials for tassel #3:
- 24″ 3mm Faux Pearl Plastic Beads on a string
- Leftover hessian threads cut in 12″ long strands
- 1″styrofoam, recycled paper bead or a wooden bead with a large hole
- One (1) egg shaped styrofoam bead
- 4″ of thin elastic
- braided sewing lace of your taste but no bigger wider than 5/8″
- Low temperature glue gun and glue sticks
- Two (2) long doll needles with big eyes
- Crochet needle or barbecue stick to make a hole in the styrofoam balls
Easy Tassel #1:
For this easy tassel, you need to use a ruler or a piece of cardboard with twice the desired length of the tassel.
Cut a string of thread about 12″ in length. Fold in half and tape it at the end of the ruler or cardboard. Wrap about 20 times around the ruler –this many times will allow you to make three tassels with one skein of embroidery thread.Remove the tape of the 12″ strand of thread and pass the open end through the loop. Tying the 12″ strand of thread will keep the loops together. Pull the embroidery thread off the ruler. Fold the loops of thread in half. Tie another string of embroidery thread around about 1/3 from the top to make the neck of the tassel. Folding the tassel in half makes a fat tassel, which is what I need. Cut the loops and even out the treads a bit to fill out the tassel.
Easy Tassel #2:
The whole skein of embroidery thread will be used for this tassel. Remove about 20″ from the skein. Wrap the thread in the middle and make a knot. Thread the needle with the remaining thread. Place the 15mm bead in the middle and fold the skein around the bead making sure the thread covers the bead. Pass the needle and thread through the middle of the bead. Pull the needle out and wrap the thread around the tassel five or six times very tightly. Pass the needle one more time through the middle of the bead, this time from the bottom up. Make a knot at the top of the tassel to secure the thread. Finally, cut the loops.You are ready either to put a key chain ring on it or embellish it to use as a decoration for your purse as we did on the Stela coin purse.
This type of tassel makes an excellent pendant as well.
Easy Tassel #3:
A note on the technique: This is the DIY crafty technique, in fact the making of tassel is as complicated as a tapestry. Hand made tassels are indeed a work of art perfected by the french a few centuries ago.
This super easy tassel is what we can find as a tie back on curtains or used as a key chain. I have used the leftover threads from the fringed table runner. I wished I had hessian or burlap thread so I can make designs.
The strands of the hessian thread from the fringed table runner will provide enough thread for a couple of easy tassels. Cut the threads in 12″ long strands.
Divide this new strands into smaller piles, about 6 threads per bunch. We need to glue the thread as flat as possible and if there are too many strands in a buch it will not glue.
Making the bottom of the tassel
Thread the doll needle with about 24″ of nylon thread. Make a double strand and pass the needle through the center of the 1″ ball. Hang the ball above the table so you can work on the top of the ball and the nylon thread is out of the way. Apply a thin strip of glue to one side of the nylon thread and place enough strands to cover the glue. Press gently down to make the tread lay flat.
Continue gluing on the other side ot the nylon thread.
Continue to apply glue and adding the strands of hessian threads in a layered pattern. You know you have glued enough thread when you can no longer see the ball on the sides.Tie the 4″ of elastic piece as tight as you can to the bottom of the ball.
Making the top of the easy tassel
You can finish the easy tassel at this point just by adding more thread to cover the elastic.
Make a hole in the middle of the 2″egg shape styrofoam ball. Find a crochet needle or a barbecue skewer to help you.
Cut a 12″ strand of faux silver pearls and fold it in half.
Thread the other large needle with cotton thread and tie it to the end of the string of pearls.
Take the needle that is at the other end of your the doubled string of pearls and pass it through the pointier side of the egg. Pull the strand of pearls all the way to the other end so you can apply glue.
Once you applied glue, pull the pearls back up and wait for the glue to dry.
The hole at the bottom of the ball needs to be sealed with a small dab of glue. I have divided the ball in four equal parts and marked the middle.
This marks are only a guide to help me glue the golden thread evenly.Glue a piece of embroidered lace on the middle of the egg ball.
The embroidered lace should be trimmed right where the lace begins.
We need to start wrapping the thread around the egg. In the olden days, this step would have been done with a special loom and needle and thread. We are going to apply a bit of glue in the hole where the pearls are and start wrapping the thread around the egg.
I have hung my ball because I need the nylon thread and needle out of the way. Continue to wrap the thread around the ball making sure it is flat.
Finishing up the easy tassel
Take the needle that is hanging from the tassel and pass it through the bottom to the top the egg shape ball. Do not add glue or tighten the threads.
We are going to decorate the bottom part of the egg shaped ball and for that we need to use the rest of the string of 3mm silver pearls. Apply glue to the ball and attach the silver beads. It is ok to leave a small space. If the space if too large, later on you can glue one single silver bead. Using the same technique as the egg shaped ball, wrap a strand of silver beads to the middle of the tassel. Apply a bit of glue and pull the nylon thread once you have finished gluing the silver beads. I have glued some golden threads to a small strip of the braided lace and wrapped it on top of the elastic to cover it.
Tie the nylon thread to the silver beads strand and cut the thread so it does not show. I have glued a few beads on the hessian to bring the silver color down to the bottom of the tassel. This is optional. We have finished. Make one more and you have two beautiful tassels for a housewarming party or an unforgettable Christmas gift.
I hope you enjoyed learning a little about the art and craft of making tassels. If you find yourself in the city of Florence or somewhere in rue Charles Nodier in Paris don't forget to check the classes sometimes posted on the windows of the fabric and interior design shops offering the ancient art of tassel making. Please do share your findings with me. I do have one more method of making tassels, but I will show that technique when we make a small leather bag. I am off to make more tassels to hang them on my Christmas tree. Until next time, Happy sewing!