Every month the Smalls SAL check-in is full of beautiful ornaments, many just waiting to be finished up to the perfect completed piece. And, you know what would make your ornament look stunning? A beaded tassel!
- thread to make the tassel — #8 perle cotton is a great choice and is available in lots of colours; regular floss is another great option
- lots of beads — make sure they will fit easily on the thread you have chosen
- the card from any Rainbow Gallery fibre
For most stitched ornaments, the card from Rainbow Gallery fibres will produce a perfectly sized tassel. All you need to do is snip off the top section and then make a small notch on one side to help hold the tassel thread in place. (My notch is visible at the top of this card. The notch near the bottom was already part of the card, and is too far over for tassel-making purposes.)
To begin, take your fibre of choice and snip off two pieces of about 6″ to 8″ long. One will be used as the hanger, and the other will be used to make the wrap around the top of the tassel.
Now, it is time to string your beads. I used a little more than half a bag of Tahl Creative Crafts beads that look to be 8/0. My best suggestion to you is to string a lot of beads, and then string a few more. Ultimately, the number of beads you need depends on how full of a tassel you want to make and how many beads you want to have on each loop. My tassel is small-ish, and I have either 2 or 3 beads per loop.
If you notice that you’ve accidentally strung a broken or damaged bead but you don’t want to unstrung the beads you put on after it, don’t fret. There is a very simple solution.
You can easily remove a damaged glass or plastic bead by crushing it with a pair of pliers or (if you are brave) between the handles of your scissors. Have a care though, and watch your eyes. The broken pieces will go flying.
Once you have loaded your thread with your beads it is time to begin creating your tassel. Take the end of the thread and slip it into the notch on your card. (In this picture, that notch is hidden below some of the beads.) That loose thread end is at the bottom of your tassel. Now, begin to wrap your thread around the card. Every time you come to the bottom of the card (Remember: this is where the notch is; where you tucked in the loose end), slide up a couple of beads. Continue in this manner until you have as many loops as you wish–the more loops the fuller the tassel.
You can choose to put beads on every loop or not. I prefer how it looks when all the loops are beaded, and I also prefer the fuller look that comes from 2-3 beads per loop. If you were to do a very full tassel (e.g. many, many loops), perhaps 1 bead per loop would look better. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
My completed wraps looked like the above picture. You will find that some beads end up on one side of the card and some on the other. Don’t worry! Just make sure that all the beads are pushed down near the bottom of the wraps.
Take one of the pieces of thread you cut earlier and thread it onto your needle. Slip it under your wraps near the top of your card. (See image 1 above.) Now, take both ends of the thread and tie a loose knot at the top of your wraps. (Image 2)
This is the exciting part: you need to carefully move your wraps off your card. Do your best to keep them neat and tidy as you do so. Once all the wraps are off the card, make the knot you just tied very tight. And, to be sure it stays, make another tight knot right on top of it. (Image 3)
Your tassel is starting to take shape. We just need to give it its collar. Take the second thread you set aside at the beginning and hold it against the top of the tassel. Leave a bit of the tassel free at the top to provide the head/poofy part. How big this area should be is entirely up to your preference.
Now you need to tightly wrap this thread around your tassel. This is what keeps your tassel together nicely. You can make this collar as big as you like, but do at least six wraps to ensure everything stays together.
Once you are happy with the collar, thread the end of this thread into your needle. Be sure to keep your fingers on the collar and hold it tight while you are doing this! Next, push the needle down behind the collar and out the bottom, pulling the thread very tight. If you are happy with how everything is held, you can snip your thread now. Personally, I do a couple of small stitches in the bottom of the collar and pull the thread through the tassel head to ensure that nothing will come undone. I then snip the thread close to the head and make sure it pops back in.
Trim up your loose ends and fluff your tassel so it looks pretty. That’s it! You’ve made yourself a very pretty beaded tassel. Congratulations!
If you decide to make a beaded tassel, or if you made one before, I would love to see it! Please be sure to leave a comment below.