This hand-painted scarf with mini tassels is one of the most fun projects you’ll make. As a gift or to keep for yourself, follow along with this step-by-step sewing tutorial. Let’s get started and I’ll share all the tips to creating a beautiful scarf!
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Now that the holidays are over, I can share some fun projects I made for friends and family. If you want to make something that makes a BIG impact, this hand-painted scarf tutorial is perfect.
The hand-painted fabric and mini tassels were so well received and it was so much fun to make. I’m convinced: mini tassels make everyone smile!
Before you get started, decide if this is for you or a gift. Hint: you might want to pick up enough fabric for two scarves.
Mini Tassel Tutorial
I wrote up a quick tutorial (as if you need one) about making mini tassels with a tip to cheat. That little tip will help you make your tassels uniform and even – something that I really wanted to make sure of since they were going to be displayed front-and-center on this scarf.
My mini tassel tutorial is here. For this scarf, you’ll need to whip up a few, somewhere between 10 – 12. I used 10 on mine, 5 each of light and royal blue.
Grab some fabric, wash it, and start painting. If you’re looking for inspiration, go outside. Nature is a well-received theme and can be done in neutrals, brights or your favorite color. You could do traditional or modern takes on leaves, berries, trees, or branches. Paired with any of the color pairings suggested by Pantone (on the link provided), you have tons of design options within this theme alone.
Some of my favorite designs are simple: crosses, roughly-drawn circles, or even simple X’s (or plus signs) like I used on this one.
Here’s a tip to a great hand-painted scarf – don’t try to make it look perfect or matchy-matchy. Add some elements that break up the negative space: a dot or line placed in between your design looks awesome when it’s on something as large as a scarf.
How to Paint Fabric
If you have never painted fabric, here is the breakdown of what I have learned so far:
- start with a simple design so that you can get a feel for painting
- it is NOT the same as painting on canvas; use small brush strokes
- pull the fabric as taut as you can for an all-over pattern
- you can use most types of fabric
- most types of paint will work when paired with a fabric medium
- if you make a mistake, add that into the design (clean up can be worse).
After you’ve painted your fabric and let it dry, give it another wash. Once that’s done, iron it (if you need to) and set it out for cutting.
Make the Scarf
I cut 2, 22-inch x 40-inch strips and joined them with a French seam. It sounds quite fancy and well, French, but it’s very simple. It makes quite a difference in the finished product. If you need a French seam tutorial, here is a clear one.
Roll hem the sides. Take care to lay the French seam the same direction on both sides (only applicable if you’re joining two pieces together).
Hem the ends by folding up about a half inch and then another half inch. Sew in place along the top – don’t worry about the bottom part yet.
Sew the tassels on the outside of the fabric and knot them on the back side. You will be covering up the knot by hiding it inside the hem, but make sure it’s as clean and tight as you can make it. To sew the tassels, use a large needle and thread one of the tassel’s hanging threads through the back side of the scarf right at the seam. Then thread the other tail through about an eight of an inch from the first thread.
Continue adding tassels to your hand-painted scarf. I placed mine 5 inches apart, but adjust if you’d like more or less on your scarf. Tip: be sure to space them evenly.
Once all tassels have been knotted into the scarf, turn up the hem another half inch and sew a straight line of stitching along the top of the hem and the bottom. This will help the hem lie flat.
Repeat the tassels and hemming on the other end of the scarf. Gift or keep.