Wednesday, April 3, 2013

DIY Trendsetting: Leather Tassels








by Barbara Bechtel

Tassels are all around these days in jewelry trends.....Around last fall, I began making my leather tassels and today, I'm going to show you how!



My tassels are made of reclaimed leather, but after you try this easy technique, you'll see it's easily applicable to fabric or a vegan option like pleather or ultrasuede!

Product note: While you can purchase leather sheet from craft stores, I encourage you to source your local upholstery shop for leather scraps or purchase some leather that is reclaimed. My leather comes from Modern Fabrics, where I buy my leather. It is reclaimed leather from the furniture industry and this company purchases and resells it as it would otherwise end up in a landfill. For $20, you can get a whole box full that will last you for years making tassels and other things! Please note, you want the remnants...the other leather listed on their site is for full hides so that link is the one you want.

Supply List:
* Pieces of leather (about 2-3" x 3-4" pieces) They will be different sizes but depending on the thickness of your leather and the size/length of your finished piece, you'll want to gather a bunch of rectangles to play around! Start larger and work your way smaller as you gain confidence.
 
*extra tiny leather rectangles (about 3/8" x 1 1/2") for embellishing and making a loop.

* strong glue. (I use E6000) Make sure your glue is labeled to glue leather. This is a great reference for glue. I would not use a tacky or fabric glue as it will not hold.

*Sharp Shears (use a dedicated pair of long, sharp fabric shears) They will make nice, long straight cuts that will give you the nice fringe you're looking for here!

*metal ruler

*sharpie or marking pen

*wooden clothespins or clips (to hold your tassel while it dries)

*optional: waxed thread or linen and beads for embellishing.



I made this really high-tech diagram for you to see how you'll be cutting your fringe ;0)....You can mark all these lines with a marking pen if you're nervous. NOTE: The heavy black line above the dotted lines is for reference. You're not cutting this line. Normally, the dotted lines I freehand cut and the solid line I mark as a guide to make sure the fringe is even....but once you get the hang of it, you won't need to mark much.....

 Cut your fringe like above. Don't use tiny scissors! You want long SHARP fabric shears to make nice straight cuts.

This is the small tab rectangle you'll use to make the loop and will also form the core of your tassel. Fold this in half, securing it with a dot of glue at the base.

Place your loop at one end of the fringe, add glue and fold over. Draw a line of glue along the top edge and begin folding, taking care to keep the fringe, straight, tight, and even along the top.

Keep folding and adding glue and rolling....eh? starting to look very tassel-y.....

Once you reach the end, secure with a clothespin and let dry for several hours.

Practice making a bunch because it's fun and addictive!!!! Once dry, you can add another small rectangle around the outside of the top to add interest and a little extra security (as in the finished picture of my necklace above) or add a little strand of waxed linen (as in the grey tassel above).....




If you don't like to use leather, consider trying this with fabric, faux leather, or ultrasuede!

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below! Enjoy!





9 comments:

Kimberly said...

Thanks for the tute. I didn't realize that tassels were trending. I'm sure we'll see them popping up all over the place. Now I have an idea of something I can make with the salmon skin leather I just picked up in Chile!

Carol Dean Sharpe said...

What great fun! The outside rectangle would be a great use for a peyote beaded rectangle that would get joined to form a tube (essentially like the beaded bead we will be making on the 23rd).

Barbara said...

Excellent suggestion Carol!!!! Now I just need to figure out how to Peyote without it becoming a big mess....I do have a local friend I can consult....must do that!

freshbakeddesigns said...

What a fun way to add some interest and texture to jewelry. Thanks for the tutorial!

Artisan Beads Plus said...

I love those! What a great tutorial, Barbara!

Toltec Jewels for Jewel School Friends said...

Gracias for an awesome tutorial! Love it and you, Barbara!

namaste,
Rita

stregajewellry said...

A fun tutorial. Thanks! I'm all fired up and ready to make a pile of them!

stregajewellry said...

A fun tutorial. Thanks! I'm all fired up and ready to make a pile of them!

Linda said...

What a great and easy to do idea! Thatnks for sharing this!

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