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How to Make Your Own Tassels

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Tassels are are the "jewelry" of home decor, adding an elegant finish to your project. And, like jewelry, they can be quite expensive to buy and the selection of colors is limited. No problem for you! Because tassels are actually very easy to make, and the embroidery floss you use to do it is inexpensive and comes in hundreds of hues and textures. We bring you this no-hassle tassel tutorial just in time for holiday sewing, which cries out for tassels on stocking cuffs and toes, ornaments, table runners and more. 

Our tutorial is written for embroidery floss, but there are lots of options. We chose floss because it is easy to find, the color palette is nearly endless, and you can usually find silk, metallic and variegated options as well as the traditional cotton. That said, we have friends who love to use yarn and thread for their tassels, and they remain our friends. As they say, "All's fair in trims and tassels."

If you like the Patchwork Table Topper with Vintage Button Trim pictured above, you'll find the tutorial right here.

Fabric and Other Supplies You Need

  • Upholstery needle
  • Stiff cardboard
  • Embroidery floss (you would also use thread or yarn)
  • Scissors
  • Fabric glue

Getting Started

  1. A tassel is made of four simple parts: the tie, the head, the wrap and the bundle.
  2. Determine the finished length of your tassel and cut a piece of cardboard that is 5" wide x twice your determined length. For example, if you want your tassel to be 4" from top to bottom, cut a piece of cardboard that is 5" wide x 8" high.
  3. Fold your cardboard in half. In our example, the folded piece is now 5" wide x 4" high.
  4. Cut a strand of floss about 12". Most stands of cotton embroidery floss are actually made up of three twisted threads. This twisted set of threads makes up one strand.
  5. Insert your 12" floss strand in between your folded cardboard. This strand will eventually become your tassel tie.
  6. Wrap floss around and around the cardboard. The more you wrap, the fuller your tassel. About 80 times is a pretty good average.

Tie and Wrap and Trim

  1. With one hand, hold the wrapped cardboard flat against a tabletop. With the other hand, grab both ends of your tie strand and gently pull it down and out the open end of the cardboard. Once out, you can let go with your first hand and use both hands to make a knot around the floss bundle with the tie strand.
  2. With your scissors, cut along the opposite, folded edge to free your tassel from the cardboard.
  3. Make two to three additional knots with the tie strand to secure, adjusting your floss bundle if necessary to make sure you're knotting as close as possible to the exact middle of the floss bundle.
  4. For the wrap, cut at least a 24" strand of floss. Fold this strand in half and thread both cut ends through the end of your upholstery needle.
  5. Take your floss bundle and fold it in half at the knot. Circle your wrap strand around the bundle approximately ¼" to ½" from the top. This section from the top to the wrap is the head, you can adjust the size to whatever you'd like, but the rule of thumb is: the thinner the tassel, the smaller the head. Pass your needle back through the strand loop and pull tight to secure.
  6. Once secured, circle your wrap strand around your floss bundle as many times as needed to achieve the look you want. Again, the look is up to you, but about eight to ten wraps is a good average.
  7. When you're finished going around and around, pass your needle back through the wrapped threads and pull tight. Trim off the excess and finish with a dab of fabric glue.
  8. Trim the bottom of your tassel to shorten and even edges as needed. If you want, you can also separate and fluff each strand's individual threads to fluff it out even more.
  9. Use the tie strand to attach the tassel to your project.


Comments (17)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Julie - Thanks. We're always happy to hear that we've helped you learn a new techique.

Shea Hollifield said:
Shea Hollifield's picture

These instructions were clear and easy to follow. Should note that the number of wraps around the cardboard should be based on how large you want your tassel to be. I did a trial one with about 40 wraps and it is MUCH larger than what I will want for my project. You will need to gauge the wraps on the final size. 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Shea - Excellent to hear that you found our tutorial helpful. And, yes, you are correct -- the number of wraps should be based on that finished look you are hoping for. 

Rochelle Bogie said:
Rochelle Bogie's picture

Thank you so much for this. I have found some old fringe fabric today and used that to make my first ever tassel. But the fringing is so silky that it has been incredibly hard to pull the wrap tight enough (it keeps wanting to unravel even with using reef knots. I ended up using glue to secure and then sewed a piece of peyote stitch work over the wrap - this I have also sewn through the head to strengthen. Hopefully it works. I will use your method next time.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Rochelle-Rolling fringe into a tassel does sound like a bit of work, but I bet it turned out with a cool, bo-ho look. 

Robyn Wiggins said:
Robyn Wiggins's picture

Hello to you. Thank you for this instructional visual process. I will retain forever.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Robyn - You're welcome. We're glad you learning a new skill.

first lady said:
first lady's picture

Thank you this helps a lot need to make 200 pieces for bookmarks , for my wedding

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ first lady -- Wow! Good luck - but what a great idea.

2sewz4jo said:
2sewz4jo's picture
The Lit' Rascals fabric would be great for my grandson which was born very early this morning 9/26/11. We had not decided what she wanted for the baby but no matter what it is this would be the perfect fabric. I am so tired from being up all night with her and watching the baby being born. I know JJ will love it also. Thank you for all the great patterns. I made the baskets for my Niece's baby shower and she loved them.
dschreffler said:
dschreffler's picture
This is great! I've priced these tassels and they are ridiculously expensive. Now, you have made it possible to make my own tassels. Thanks!!!