Since I'm a consummate mixed media artist and frequent visitor to thrift stores and estate sales, I've amassed something like this......
As I'm sure some of you might relate. Embroidery thread or cotton perle (the more twisted variety) is useful in many applications.....but today, I want to share with you a way to make your own handmade tassels in a variety of ways....to help you use that stash of threads you may or may not have....
You could make your own tassel caps if you're feeling so inclined....for this purpose, I have used either no caps or pre purchased end caps....commonly sold as bead caps or kumihimo ends or caps.
Here are several different ways to use your tassel jig!
I built a simple jig from finishing nails and a scrap of wood.
Using short finishing nails, I nail them in at premeasured lengths. I made lengths of 4" , 5" and 8". Depending on the way you knot it at the end, you will end up with one fat tassel or two smaller tassels that will be half of the length, or one very long tassel that is the same length of your nails.
Be careful not to use nails that have too large of a nailhead, as it will be difficult to remove them when you're finished. I also marked the half way point to help me find the center.
Begin by taking your embroidery thread and wrapping it around both nails and tying a slip knot in the center and pulling it tight.
Continue wrapping the tassel round and round. I prefer nice thick tassels but it also depends a little on the size of your caps. When you're done wrapping, simply snip your thread off at one of the nail ends. It won't unravel.
If you're using a cap that already has a loop on top, you can use a little more thread to tightly tie a square knot around the center mark. Cut the ends at the nailheads and fold in half to make your tassel. Test your tassel to make sure it fits nice and snug. Add glue to your beadcap and let dry.
If you're using a bead cap, use a length of wire and TIGHTLY wire wrap a loop at the center point. Feed your wire through the top of your cap and wire wrap a loop to connect.
If you want to attach a jump ring, tie a slip knot and begin wrapping the end around the tassel to make a nice collar. I use an upholstery needle to make this step a bit easier. Finish with a double knot using your needle to go back through the last ring on the collar. Snip your thread and add a bit of glue (I use E6000 or GS Hypo) Repeat on the other end to secure.Cut your tassel at the half way point and GENTLY remove it from the nail heads, taking care not to snag any threads. I found using the upholstery need helps me remove it a bit easier. Add a jump ring and close.
Trim the ends of your tassels so they are nice and even! You're done!
Want to use leather and bead caps? Erin Siegal posted a great diy for making leather tassels, with suede and leather lace.