How to Make a Tassel in 7 Easy Steps
Anyone who makes and/or uses junk journals knows that decorating (embellishing) them is probably the best part of the process. In this tutorial, you'll learn how to make a tassel in 7 SUPER EASY steps.
If you're new to junk journaling, be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Getting Started with Junk Journaling.
Embellishments for Your Junk Journal
Embellishments allow you to customize your journal and make it your own. Adding your favorite colors, patterns, motifs, and more increases the likelihood you’ll use your journal and makes doing so more inspiring and fun.
Plenty of artists and crafters offer embellishments like tags, pockets, charms, and clips for sale on platforms like Etsy, and there’s nothing wrong with buying them. Doing so supports artists and small business owners and helps you build up a nice assortment of things to put in your journals.
However, making your own embellishments has plenty of benefits:
- Using something you made yourself is rewarding -- you’ll get to enjoy the fruits of your labor whenever you open your journal
- You can design your embellishments to suit your tastes and needs to a T by using personal items and specific colors and images, and by creating the exact sizes needed to fit in your journal
- You can give new life to materials destined for the trash or recycling bin (this may be my favorite perk of making embellishments)
Over the years I’ve stockpiled a lot of sewing thread from estate sales and my grandma’s old sewing cabinet. Old thread isn’t the best choice for sewing new garments because exposure to light, humidity, and other factors can cause it to weaken over time. That doesn’t mean it’s useless, though.
My favorite way to use old thread? Tassels for junk journals!
For a weekend project recently I tackled thread tassels. I watched a few YouTube videos, read a couple of tutorials, and then got to work. After some trial and error, here’s my current method (I say “my current method” because, like many artists, I’m always testing and tweaking processes).
Now Let's Get into How to Make a Tassel in 7 SUPER Easy Steps!
- sewing thread or embroidery floss
- large-hole beads
- smaller beads (optional)
- jump rings (optional)
cardboard scrap -- 3” x 5”
STEP 1 Gather your materials and supplies
- Before we show you how to make a tassel, you'll want to be sure to get organized with your materials and supplies. For each tassel, you’ll need sewing thread or embroidery floss and a large-hole bead. I like to have a variety of colors of thread on hand, as well as an assortment of beads (glass, wood, metal, ceramic).
- It’s optional, but you may also like to add a “finishing bead” at the top of the tassel; this bead can have a regular-sized hole.
- If you plan to use your tassels as dangles or charms (attached to a paperclip, safety pin, etc.), you’ll need jump rings.
- You’ll also need 3-inch by 5-inch scrap of cardboard and a pair of sharp scissors.
STEP 2 Choose your bead and thread
I like to choose my bead first, and then select the thread color (or colors) to match it. Most of the tassels I’ve made have been multicolor, using either two or three colors of thread.
STEP 3 Wrap the thread to form the tassel
- In this step, you’ll wrap your thread(s) around the cardboard to form the tassel. If you’re using multiple colors of thread, hold one strand of each together as you wrap. If you’re using 6-strand embroidery floss, separate the strands so you can use one at a time (per color).
- Hold the cardboard in one hand and place the thread against it, about an inch from the end, with the ends of the thread at the bottom long edge.
- Hold the thread with the thumb of the hand holding the cardboard and begin wrapping the thread clockwise with the other hand. It’s fine to overlap the thread as you wrap.
- It took me a while to figure out how many times to wrap the thread. I found that it depends on several factors: thread thickness, the number of strands used, and the size of the bead hole. In general, I wrap about 30 times when using three strands, 70 times when using a single strand, and 45-50 times for two strands. You can adjust these numbers as needed.
- End your wrapping at the bottom and cut your thread(s).
- Set the wrapped cardboard aside.
STEP 4 Remove the thread and tie securely
- Cut two 12-inch lengths of thread. Hold these together and fold in half.
- Pick up the cardboard, carefully lift the wrapped thread, and slide the folded threads underneath. Hold the loose ends together and pull the folded thread to the top of the cardboard.
- Hold the folded thread securely with your thumb and forefinger at the top of the wrapped thread and carefully slide the loops of thread off of the cardboard.
- Knot the folded thread securely at the top of the loops. Do not trim ends.
STEP 5 Add the bead
- Thread the loose ends of the folded thread through the bead. This can be tricky with multiple strands, so here’s a tip:
- Fold a piece of scrap thread (a few inches long) in half. Push the folded end through the bead hole. Open up the loop of the folded end and feed the loose ends through it.
- Gently but firmly pull the scrap thread back through the bead hole, pulling the loose ends with it. Once you get the first part through, remove the thread scrap and pull the rest of the loose ends through.
STEP 6 Pull the bead down onto the tassel
Grasp the loose ends firmly and pull the knot and top of the tassel into the bead hole.
If you meet resistance, go slowly. You don’t want to break the threads you’re pulling.
You may need to compress the top of the tassel with your fingers somewhat to help it fit into the bead hole. If you find that it just doesn’t fit don’t force it; set the tassel aside until you find a bead with a bigger hole. Disappointing, sure...but at least you learned that was too many wraps for a bead with that size hole!
Once the end of the tassel is inside the bead you can do a couple of things:
- pull the top of the tassel flush with the top of the bead
- pull the bead down a little bit onto the tassel, leaving a bit of the tassel top showing above the bead
If you want, add a smaller “finishing bead” above the larger bead, using the same threading technique.
STEP 7 Finish the tassel
- Knot the two loose ends securely at the top.
- Cut off as much or as little at the bottom of the loops (to make the tassel the length you want).
- You can leave the loose ends at the top to tie the tassel to a tag or other part of your journal, or cut them off near the knot.
OPTIONAL Add a jump ring
- Knot the loose ends together close to the top of the tassel (leaving a small loop). An easy way to do this is to hold a wood skewer or similar object at the top of the tassel and knot the loose ends together around it, then slide the skewer out.
- Trim the loose ends close to the knot.
- Open a jump ring and hook it into the loop you just made.
- Close the jump ring.
How to Use Tassels in Junk Journals
Making tassels, like many other embellishment projects, is addicting! Once you’ve made your fill, what are you going to do with all those tassels? Here are a few ways to add them to your junk journals:
- thread a tassel with a jump ring onto a paper clip to add to journal pages
- use as a tag pull (knot the loose ends together, punch a hole in the top of your tag, and loop the tassel end through)
- sew into the outside binding stitches to decorate the spine of a journal
- open the jump ring and add to the loop end of a safety pin...then pin anywhere