Do you ever have that feeling when you finish a project that it just needs a little something extra? Something to add just a little bit of pizzazz to an otherwise beautiful creation?
That’s exactly how I felt when I finished my Kraken Shawl. After a few weeks of relentless crocheting (and, I’ll admit, a bit of frogging), I had finally finished the beast, and I had fallen head-over-heels in love with it!
However, even after adding the simple border, I still felt like it was missing something…
Tassels! I knew that adding a tassel to each point of the triangle would be the perfect touch, but I didn’t know if I’d be able to find any pre-made tassels that would match the yarn, let alone that would provide the kind of feel that I wanted for this shawl.
So I decided to make my own.
In this post, I’m going to show you how I made my tassels. Whether you make them for the Kraken Shawl or for another project, this tutorial will show you how it’s done and hopefully give you some ideas for making your own!
How To Make Your Own Tassels
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Yarn (I used the same yarn that I used in my Kraken Shawl so that my tassels would match my shawl)
- Boye Pom Pom Tassel Maker set (alternatively, you can follow these instructions to make your own tassels without a tassel maker!)
- Beads (I used 3 strands of these and had some individual beads left over)
- String or crochet thread (I used #10 crochet thread in black since my beads and my yarn are dark in color)
- 6mm lobster claw
- Sewing needle (optional, but helpful!)
- Needle-nose pliers (optional, but again can be helpful!)
This is going to look more complicated than it actually is, so stay with me! Making tassels is not only super easy, but it’s also incredibly fun. If I could spend my time just making tassels (for what purpose, I’m not sure), I definitely would. It’s a blast!
We’ll start off by making the tassel, then threading the beads and the lobster claw…and that’s it! I’ve included lots of photos, so we’ll take this step by step.
Ready to get started? Let’s do this!
DIY Tassels: An In-Depth, Step-By-Step Photo Tutorial
I’m going to break this down into several steps for you, but it’s really super easy. Make sure you have everything you need handy before you begin–the last thing you want is to be chasing down your beads mid-tassel!
Step 1) Determine how large you want your tassel to be.
On the Boye tassel maker card, you have lots of options for sizes. Simply fold over the flaps and snap them into place until you get the size you want. For my Kraken Shawl tassels, I opted for a 3.75″ tassel.
Step 2) Cut a small strand of thread and grab your tassel maker.
This is the small piece of thread/string/yarn/etc. that you’ll use to thread beads onto later on.
Make sure it is a strong material! This thread is going to be pulled on and threaded through your beads twice, so you’ll need to make sure you use a material strong enough for the job. I had originally planned to use a strand of yarn that matched my shawl, but that yarn is fairly thin and not particularly strong. Crochet thread, by comparison, is much stronger (and thinner–bonus for threading through beads), so I opted to use that instead.
However, if you’d rather use yarn for this step, feel free!
Step 3) Place this strand of thread in the top notches of your tassel maker.
See those little notches at the very top of the tassel maker card? That’s where you want your thread to go. To make sure this strand stays out of the way when you’re wrapping yarn for your tassel, try placing the strand of thread just barely into the notch on the right.
Step 4) Start wrapping your yarn around the tassel card.
For reference, I wrapped my yarn around a total of ten times. I used my thumb to hold the tail end of the yarn in place on the tassel maker card, then wrapped the yarn around for a full 10 revolutions.
After your tassel is as thick as you like, cut the end of your yarn. (Careful: at this point, it’s very easy for your tassel to come apart! Just be mindful of your tail ends at this point–this will be resolved in the next couple of steps.)
Step 5) Make the top tie.
Remember that strand of thread we started with? Carefully remove it from the notches and pull it through the top of the tassel so that there is an equal amount of thread on either side of the tassel.
Tie a knot at the top of the tassel–double knot it, or do whatever kind of knot you want in order to make it secure!
Step 6) Make the middle tie.
Carefully slide your tassel off of the tassel maker card, making sure the top tie is at the very top of your tassel.
Take a strand of yarn in the same color as your tassel and wrap it around the bulk of your tassel near the top, but not too close to the top! Tie that strand yarn, making a secure knot. I personally prefer to knot mine a couple of times on one side, flip the tassel over, and knot it a few times on that side as well–just in case!
If making multiple tassels, try using the first tassel as a guide for how far down you should make your middle tie. Line them up side-by-side and then try to place the knot at the same level as with your finished tassel. This will help keep your tassels looking uniform!
Step 7) Cut the ends of the tassel.
Cut the ends of your tassel so that each end is loose and free (see images below). At this time, trim up the ends of your tassel so that they are nice and level.
Step 8) Start putting on beads!
This is the fun part! Figure out how you want to arrange the beads on your tassel. This is the arrangement I chose:
Thread both tail ends of your crochet thread onto your needle. I opted for a sewing needle rather than a yarn needle, because the smaller eye size made it easier to pull the needle through the beads.
Carefully thread your needle through each of the beads in the order you wish for them to sit on the tassel. When you’re satisfied with the arrangement of your beads, you’ll be ready to put on the lobster claw!
Step 9) Put on the lobster claw.
When you get to the lobster claw, remove one of the tail ends of your thread from your needle, leaving one end still threaded through the needle.
Run your needle and thread through the lobster claw. Pull the lobster claw all the way down so it sits on top of the beads. Then, tie a firm knot on top of the lobster claw to secure it in place.
Step 10) Re-thread your beads.
This part can be a little tricky, since you’ll be working in some tight spaces. If you find yourself struggle, I recommend using a pair of needle-nose pliers to help you gently pull the needle through the beads–it helps take the strain off of your hands!
First, thread both ends of your thread onto the needle. Then, push your needle through the first couple of beads, working your way back down towards the tassel.
I’ve found it’s easier to work through a few beads at a time (or one at a time, if the beads are large)–that way, you’ll have enough room to maneuver your needle through the beads.
Step 11) Trim the ends of your thread.
After you’ve pulled both ends of your thread back down through all of the beads, it’s time to trim away the excess!
Carefully trim the excess thread with a sharp pair of scissors. Make the cut just below where the thread comes out of the bottom bead, and make sure you don’t accidentally cut the tassel itself!
And there you have it: a beautiful, removable, and customized tassel!
This tutorial showed you how I made the tassels for my Kraken Shawl, but you can use the same techniques outlined in this post to make your own custom tassels! Try using a variety of beads or making different sized tassels…the possibilities are endless!
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