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Handmade Tassel Crafts

Martha Stewart Living, September 2010

What do Louis XIV's bed and yaks on the Tibetan tundra have in common? Tassels. Long associated with pomp, circumstance, and luxurious living, they're a centuries-old art form found in cultures around the world. 

You might think they're most at home in formal or period interiors. After all, they reached the height of their frilly fabulousness in 17th- and 18th-century France. But tassels look just as good in casual rooms, where they can inject a splash of color, a layer of texture, and a touch of whimsy. Despite their elaborate appearance, tassels are surprisingly simple to create once you learn a few basic techniques. The process requires no special skills, tools, or materials. Yarn, scissors, and cardboard are all you need. So make one -- or better yet, make a bunch. 

Material Matters 
You can make a tassel out of just about anything -- yarn, needlepoint thread, and even humble packing twine. The only limit is your imagination. Fibers with lots of texture, such as a lace-weight mohair, yield full, soft, fuzzy tassels. If you want casual sophistication, opt for a rustic plant fiber, such as linen or fique. A sport-weight wool-silk yarn makes a luxurious, more tailored tassel with an elegant drape. Use thinner fibers, such as silk or cotton embroidery floss, for smaller tassels. Embroidery floss can look relaxed or refined, depending on where the tassel is used. Be sure to choose a washable fiber such as cotton if you plan to attach tassels to items you'll need to launder. For the best results, steam or iron out any kinks in the strands before you start making the tassels. 

How to Tie a Tassel
Follow four easy steps to create a basic tassel of any size.

Learn How to Tie a Basic Tassel

Projects
Hampers and Towels with Tassels
Pillows and Blankets with Twisted-Cord Tassels
Roller Shade with Twisted-Cord Tassel Pull
Tassel Bookmark