Colorful Tassel Jewelry (Tutorial)

by Rena Klingenberg.
Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

This colorful mixed-media jewelry project is inspired by the beautifully embroidered peasant blouses that were popular in the 1960s and 70s.

First we’ll make some pretty tassels:

How to make tassels for jewelry - Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

. . . and then we’ll use them in a necklace:

Long necklace from Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

. . . or a cha-cha bracelet:

Cha-cha bracelet from Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Of course, fiber tassels are not as sturdy as traditional jewelry components such as wire, metal, beads, etc.

But the color and movement they bring to a piece of jewelry is mesmerizing.

Supplies:

  • Colorful selection of embroidery floss, yarn, or cording.
    I’m using embroidery floss from this pack of 105 skeins of floss, which I got for about $10 (find something similar at Walmart, craft stores, and Amazon):
    Embroidery floss multi-pack for Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg
  • Winding board – a flat, sturdy item to wind your tassel cord around.
    Examples in the photo below: Ruler, wooden kitchen utensil (you could use the handle or the spatula end), sturdy cardboard garment tags, back cover from a notepad, cardboard cut from cracker or cereal box:
    Items to use as a winding board for Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg
    Your finished tassel will be slightly taller than the height of your winding board.
    Here’s my finished tassel size, after winding it around this sturdy cardboard garment tag; the tag is about 1.5″ (3.8cm) high:
    Size of finished tassel compared to winding board - Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg
  • 2 small clips to hold your cord against your winding board.
    Here are some examples of clips you might have on hand (clothespin, alligator clip, rubber-tipped mini clamp, binder clip):
    Clips for Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

  • Jump rings (I’m using 10mm size).
  • Flat nose / chain nose pliers – for opening and closing jump rings.
  • Craft wire / Artistic wire – 20 gauge.
  • Wire cutter.
  • Scissors – for cutting your embroidery floss or cord.
  • Chain – for bracelet or necklace.
    The chain’s links should be sturdy and large enough to accommodate your jump rings.
  • Clasp – to close your bracelet or necklace.
    I’m using a simple hook clasp.

How to Make
Tassels for Jewelry:

We’ll start by making a collection of tassels.

Choose your tassel colors. This is a great project for playing with color combinations!

Cut a 6″ (15.24cm) piece of cord from your first tassel color.

(This will be your tying cord after you wind the tassel around your board.)

Lay this 6″ piece of cord lengthwise across your winding board, fairly close to the top of the board:

Lay your tying cord across the winding board - Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now pull the cord end out from its skein, and lay it crosswise across your tying cord – about an inch or two from one end of your winding board:

Getting ready to make a tassel for Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Use one of your clips to hold the end of your cord securely in place on the winding board:

Clipping the cord end to the winding board - Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now working with your cord directly from the skein, wind the cord fairly tightly around and around your winding board – about 20 to 25 times around.

End with the skein of cord at the bottom of your winding board:

Winding the cord around the winding board - Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Use scissors to cut the winding cord off from the skein:
Cutting the winding cord off from the skein - Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now we’ll get ready to tie our tying cord across the top of the tassel.

We’ll tie two overhand knots with this tying cord (an overhand knot is the first part of the knot you use when you tie your shoes).

The instructions for each step are below this photo:

Knotting the tying cord - Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

  • Photo 1:
    Pull the cut cord end tight, and use a clip to clamp the cord end securely against the winding board.
  • Photo 2:
    Take the ends of the 6″ piece of tying cord that runs the length of your winding board. Cross the right-hand end of the tying cord over the left-hand end, making a “hoop”.
  • Photo 3:
    Pick up the cord end that’s now on the right-hand side, and insert the end of it into the hoop.
  • Photo 4:
    Pull both cord ends to tighten the knot as tightly as possible around the top of your wrapped cord.

Now make a second overhand knot, right on top of the first one. Pull the ends tightly so that the tying cord keeps the wrapped cord in a tight bundle.

The tying cord is at the top of your tassel.

Now we’ll cut through the cords at the bottom of your tassel.

Remove the clips that were securing the ends of your winding cord to the winding board.

Use scissors to cut through all of the cords that are wrapped around the bottom of your winding board:

Cutting the tassel cords - Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Remove your tassel from the winding board and lay it out flat, with the knot in your tying cord facing up:

Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

(Be careful not to pull on the newly cut strands. Even though your tying cord should be holding all the strands tightly in place, it still may be possible to pull them out of line.)

Use your flat nose / round nose pliers to twist open one of your jump rings:

Opening jump ring for Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Place the jump ring around the center of your opened tassel:

Fastening jump ring around center of tassel - Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Lay the ends of your tying cord alongside the other strands of the tassel.

Use your flat nose / round nose pliers to twist the jump ring shut:

Fastening jump ring around center of tassel - Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Fold the tassel in half, with the tying cord in the center of the fold:

Folding the tassel - Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now it’s time to bind the tassel.

You can use either a piece of craft wire / Artistic wire, or a piece of your cord to bind your tassel.

Below I show you how to bind the tassel with wire.

However, if you prefer to bind your tassel with cord instead:

Cut a piece of your cord about 12″ (30.48cm) long, and wind it around the tassel similarly to how I wrap the wire around it in the photos below.

Then tie the binding cord ends tightly with two overhand knots.

Here’s how to bind your tassel with wire.

Cut a piece of craft wire / Artistic wire about 4″ (10.16cm) long.

The instructions for each step are below this photo:

Wire wrapping the tassel - Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

  • Photo 1:
    Lay your wire across your tassel, just below the jump ring. Use your flat nose pliers to hold both the wire and the tassel.
  • Photo 2:
    Use your fingers to wrap the wire tightly around the tassel, about 4 times.
  • Photo 3:
    Use your wire cutter to clip off the excess wire ends, as close as possible to the tassel.
  • Photo 4:
    Use your chain nose pliers to squeeze down the wire ends, so they can’t scratch or catch on anything.

Now we’ll give the tassel a haircut to tidy it up.

Use scissors to trim the bottom edge of the tassel fringe to a nicely uniform length:
Giving tassel a haircut to tidy it up - Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now your finished tassel should look like this:

Finished tassel for Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

How to Make
Colorful Tassel Jewelry:

Cut your chain for a bracelet or necklace.

To cut your chain for a bracelet:

Cut the chain the length of your wrist measurement.

(Example: If your wrist measures 7″, cut your chain 7″ long.)

Your clasp will allow for the extra room that will make your finished bracelet a comfortable length.

To cut your chain for a necklace:

Decide on the length you want your necklace, and subtract 1.5″ (3.8cm) from that length.

(Example: If you want a 24″ necklace, cut your chain 22.5″ long.)

Your clasp will allow for the extra room that will make your finished necklace your desired length.

For both bracelet and necklace, you can follow the same steps to make the finished piece:

Find the center link in your piece of chain.

Choose the tassel you want to have as the centerpiece of the finished jewelry item.

Use flat nose / chain nose pliers to twist open the tassel’s jump ring.

(Be careful the opened jump ring doesn’t slip out of the tassel – it can be tricky to thread it back into the tassel!)

Thread the tassel’s jump ring onto the center link of your chain, and twist the jump ring shut:
Making jewelry with handmade tassels - Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Add a tassel on each side of the first tassel:
Adding more tassels - Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Keep adding tassels, building outward from the center:

Keep adding tassels - Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

When you’ve added all the tassels you wish, attach a jump ring to each end of your chain.

On one of these jump rings, attach your clasp.

The jump ring on the other end of the chain will be where you hook your clasp to close the bracelet or necklace:

Finished clasp for Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now your finished colorful tassel jewelry might look something like this:

Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Colorful Tassel Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

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  • Diana Redlin says:

    Lovely, lovely Rena.
    I have had tassels on my mind lately.
    I happened upon a 24″ braided trim with lovely tassels on it. I just like to look at it waiting for the inspiration to come.
    I also found out that tassel makers do not share their designs and guard that they never are used by another tassel house.
    So sharing is quite nice. And the colors are so vibrant too.
    Thank you so much for showing your tassel making skill.
    All the best,
    Diana

  • Tyronda Carr says:

    Awesome! I will be trying this and will let you know how it turns out.

    Tyronda

  • Tamara says:

    Oh, Rena, I love this idea!!! Thank you! Seeing that rainbow of colours just makes my heart sing (like when I found my pkg. of skeins of thread)! I did and still do love those embroidered peasant blouses, and learned embroidery as a child from an elderly aunt, so I have an affinity for embroidery floss. And it’s not as fine as thread, so a little easier on the eyes to work with. These tassles are so pretty, I’m definitely going to have to include some in my pieces!

  • Jane says:

    Rena,
    I love your tutorials–they are so clear and easy to follow. Thank you!
    The tassels are adorable, and the wire wrap creates a fun distinction and uniqueness. I’ve been wondering how to make tassels for some scarves I’ve just knitted, and this tutorial inspires me!

  • Rena, What a fun necklace and bracelet. Different color schemes could be applid too, for instance black, red, and white, or, match an outfit colors. Maybe denim, red and white. Keep with art principles and if matching clothing, always use three colors,

  • Julia says:

    Love this as usual! Your tutorials are always the best I’ve ever seen!
    Last year I made some tassel earrings put of suede and leather chord and also the floss you use here.
    Love the idea of making this colorful, many colored ones! Thanks for this and listening to the suggestions off your survey.

  • Luz S. Urena says:

    Rena, what a great idea!! These are truly beautiful! Love all the beautiful colors, reminds me of summer!! Must try this!!

  • Linda says:

    I will definitely have to try this!!! So cool and the colors are endless!

  • Cassandra says:

    Wow, this is stunning and your tutorial is perfect. I love the metal on the tassels. It would be great for home decor too.

  • This is such en effective piece of jewellery. I would never have thought to use tassels in jewellery.

  • Monica says:

    Thanks for the idea. It’s so simple and eye-catching. I’m going to give it a try!

  • Lauren says:

    I love tassel necklaces! these are so cute..

  • Krista says:

    I have a ton of embroidery floss, I’m going to have to make this, it’s so cute! Thank you for sharing!

  • Kim @ TMTOMH says:

    i am IN LOVE with this one! just beautiful

  • Jill says:

    I love that you made your own tassels! Those would be fun for pillows and curtains too!

  • Laurie says:

    What a fun idea!

  • Jann Olson says:

    This is just funky fun! Very creative! Thanks for sharing.
    hugs,
    Jann

  • Hello cute lady! I’m loving it. Pinned and tweeted.

  • Suzy Myers says:

    Very cool. Love this, love the colors. Pinned and shared! Thank you!

    suzy

  • Budi says:

    Hello this good tassel necklace tutorial i love it’s clear explain. Thanks

  • Thank you all for your enthusiastic feedback on this project – that’s so lovely to hear. I appreciate it! 🙂

  • Nancy Vaughan says:

    I love the colors in your tassels. They are bright and cheerful and the floss gives you a world of colors to work with.

    During my second year in college (early 60’s) I took my first weaving class. As a part of the class work I learned to tie fringe and make tassels. I haven’t done either in years! Maybe it is time to start making tassels. again. I can hardly wait to get started! Thanks for the great tutorial, Rena.

  • My pleasure, Nancy! I’m so happy to hear that these tassels have inspired you. I hope to see what you make! 🙂

  • JS says:

    Great tutorial. I have found that dampening the thread before the final trim allows the thread to straighten itself out and makes for a more even and neater finish on the ends. Thanks!;8

  • JS, thank you so much for your helpful tip of dampening the thread before the final trim. Brilliant! 🙂

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