We use traditional tassels often as a fun embellishment for linens, cushions, bags, and more. But in true Sew4Home fashion, we weren’t content to settle for traditional. So we have two unique tassel styles for you: the Broomstick Tassel with a sleek, floss-wrapped hanging loop, and the fantastical Yarn Chubbies, which we think look like fluffy little dancing dolls. It’s all part of our Fast Fridays series that is all about whipping up something wonderful in no time at all.
Broomstick Tassels are made using a woven cord as a base. The characteristic loop is created by wrapping the center portion of the cord with standard embroidery floss or pearl cotton floss then folding the wrapped cord in half, lashing it together, and unravelling the ends of the cord to create the signature broomstick tassel tail.
We could picture in our mind's eye the fuller look we wanted for our Yarn Chubbies, but it presented a three-part challenge: how do you get a small, tightly wrapped topknot, a chubby mid section, and a full skirt? The solution was to make the tassels in two layers. By splitting the upper layer in order to insert a lower layer, it added just the right level of fullness.
Our sample tassels are smallish in size, but it’s easy to go larger for home décor projects, like big pillows or floor cushions. Or, go the opposite direction and make some tiny options to wear as a pendant necklace or even elegant earrings.
For the chubbiest of Chubbies, choose a thicker yarn. And even though we used just two colors for the body of our tassels, you could certainly increase the number of colors for a rainbow effect.
The thicker pearl cotton floss is best for wrapping the cord on the Broomstick Tassels, and it comes in both bold brights and muted natural tones. Although it might look like some of the underlying cord is showing through on our samples, that is actual a floss in a nearly matching ivory to the color of the cord. You don’t want any cord showing between your wraps; keep them tight and even.
There are also steps below to show how to add a split ring, D-ring or swivel hook to a Broomstick Tassel, allowing it to more easily attach to a bag or belt or even to stand along as a key fob.
In true Fast Fridays fashion, both of these tassel techniques are simple and easy… and fun. You’ll enjoy experimenting with size and color combinations.
Have a Terrific Tassel Time!
If you’d like more tassel information, check out our step-by-step tutorial on the traditional floss tassel, as well as our review of the Boye Pom Pom Tassel Maker.
Supplies for a 4" Tassel
- ¼ yard yd ¼” - ½” woven or drawstring cord; the thickness of the cord dictates the size of the finished tassel – in this photo, the tassel on the left is ½” cord and the tassel on the right is ¼” cord
- Assorted colors of #5 pearl cotton skeins; each of our sample tassels used five colors plus a black, which was used within the color wrap as well as to lash the neck of the tassel*
- Yarn needle
NOTE: *When planning your color wrap, the variety of hues is completely up to you. It can simply be your favorite colors, be matched to a particular project, or be simplified for a particular theme, such as our red, white, and blue tassel that uses a navy cord with just red and white pearl cotton. Here’s the color selection and progression for our four main 4” tassel samples:
- The photo below shows a variety of cords that would work well for this technique; all of these were found at a local JOANN Fabrics. From left to right they are: Natural ½” braided cord, ¼” navy blue drawstring cord, ¼” natural knit cord, and ¼” beige drawstring cord. The natural knit cord is a bit of a misnomer since it is actually loosely woven over an inner core of threads, and so can be easily unraveled to create a tassel.
NOTE: Our steps are for the thinner and shorter 4” tassels. For a larger tassel, you’ll need a longer length of cord and larger wrapped sections of pearl cotton. As always with any new technique, get enough supplies to practice and test various sizes and lengths to get your very best look. For reference, below are the sizing specifics for the tassels shown here.
- Small Broomstick Tassels: ¼” natural woven cord, 8½” length of cord, 3" center of wrapped colors, 4" in finished length
- Large Broomstick Tassel: ½" natural cord, 12" length of cord, 4" center of wrapped colors, 6" in finished length
- 4th of July Broomstick Tassel: ¼" navy drawstring cord, 10” length of cord, 3½" center of wrapped colors, 5½" in finished length.
Creating a 4” tassel
- Cut a length of cord 8½” long.
- Mark the halfway point (4¼” in our sample), then mark 1½” to both the left and right of center. You should have three marks; a starting point, mid-point, and end-point for wrapping the center portion of the tassel. The remaining length at each end will be unraveled into the broomstick tassel.
- Cut a 30” length of pearl cotton in your starting color. Thread the floss through a yarn needle and make a stitch into the cord.
- The needle’s exit should be at your starting point (one of the three points marked above).
- Slide off the needle and pull the thread through until it is hidden within the cord.
- Start wrapping the cord with the pearl cotton. You are wrapping up towards the center of the cord. Wrap tightly; there should be no cord showing between the wraps.
- When you have a section of thread wrapped to your desired width (for the 4" tassels, ¼" to ⅜" of wrapping worked well), anchor it. To do this, push the needle into the cord where you want the wrapped section to end.
- Pull the needle through the cord coming out just below the wrapped section. Trim the floss close to the cord. A slight tug on the cord will allow the thread end to disappear into the cord.
- Continue wrapping the additional colors in the same manner.
- Not all the sections need to be exactly the same width. For our samples, the black sections were quite narrow.
- Remember, the thread must be locked after each color.
- The mid-point you marked will be the top of your tassel; use it as a guide to balance your wrapped sections.
- When you reach the end point marked on the cord, fold the cord in half matching the ends of the wrapped sections (the marked starting point and ending-point). Anchor a new length of pearl cotton and lash both cords tightly, drawing them together.
- Fasten off when you reach the desired width of wrapping, threading through the center, knotting, and trimming the excess.
- Use a blunt needle or wide toothed comb to unravel the cord ends. Work from the ends up toward the neck.
- Unravel one end and then the other.
- When both ends are unraveled, trim the tassel to an even length.
Add a split ring, swivel hook or similar
- The large center loop of the completed broomstick tassel allows you to easily attach it to a variety of projects. However, you can also add a split ring, D-ring or swivel hook, incorporating it into the thread wraps.
- Our sample shows a ¾" split ring, such as what you find on key tags. The tassel is made in the same way, anchoring the thread and wrapping the cord. Stop the wrap ⅛" from the mid-point mark.
- Start the next color by anchoring it with a stitch and then wrapping the thread first through the ring with about eight wraps. Once the ring feels secure, continue wrapping the thread around cord to finish that color section. Finish the tassel in the same manner as above.
- The split ring is now incorporated into the tassel and it can be added to a zipper pull, used as a key ring, etc.
- With larger hardware, such as a D-ring or swivel hook, stop wrapping approximately ¼" from the mid-point mark.
- Wrap the thread through the hardware to fill the space, probably with up to 14-16 wraps. You can even change colors at the mid-point, which is a nice look within the wider opening.
- The tassel can now be easily clipped into place.
Supplies for 4½" Tassel
- Assorted skeins of 4-ply yarn; we blended two colors for the main body of each tassel with a third color for the ties and wraps
- ONE 5" x 8" piece of stiff cardboard
Creating a 4½” Tassel
- Collect two colors of yarn for the body of the tassel and a third color to tie and wrap the tassel.
- Holding the two body colors together as they feed off their respective skeins, wrap both colors around the 5" side of the stiff cardboard about 30 times.
- Gently slide the yarn loops off the cardboard.
- Cut an approximate 8” length of the third color of yarn and tie it around all the loops.
- Pull and knot securely.
- Cut the loop of yarn in half opposite the knot, freeing the ends.
- Cut another approximate 8” length of the third color of yarn.
- Place this length ½" below the original knot to create the topknot. Wrap the yarn around twice, pull it tightly, and knot to secure. Trim the ends close to the knot.
- Find the original two colors for the yarn body. Again feeding both colors from their skeins together, wrap the colors around the 5" side of the cardboard approximately 20 times.
- Remove the loops from the cardboard. Divide the “skirt” of the original tassel into two halves. Pull down two strands of yarn from each half. Place the second set of loops at the center of this divided “skirt.”
- Use the selected strands of yarn to tie the new loops in place. Pull tightly and knot securely.
- Cut the loops in half opposite the new knot.
- Smooth the upper “skirt” over the new strands.
- Cut one more approximate 8” length of the third color of yarn. Wrap this length around the “skirt" about 1½” below the topknot. Go around at least two times to create the chubby tassel’s “waist”. Pull tightly and knot securely. Trim the ends close to the knot.
- Trim the yarn strands to an even length; we made our tassels about 4½".
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler