A Mini Tassel Tutorial Tango!
There’s something about the word mini that makes me smile. These mini tassels are no exception and although I’m not ready to share (yet) what they’re going to be used on, I thought I’d share a quick tutorial on how to whip ’em out quickly.
Join us for a quick twirl around the craft studio dance floor while we do the tassel tango. I can’t believe I just typed that. What’s worse than my sad attempt at witty alliteration is that I’ll have you up and dancing by the end of this!
I have a memory of making tassels when I was in 5th grade. My teacher was helping to plan a wedding and enlisted the help of our class. We made a deal: if we helped out making tassels, she would postpone our social studies quiz for one week. Our teacher gave us yarn and scissors and put us to work, but not without adding an element of fun. She told us she was going to put on something she called, “Music to Tango By.”
I was clueless about what the tango was, as were my fellow East Texas 10 year olds, but she filled us in as much as she could. It is the tango after all, so some significant editing on the teacher’s part was necessary – one has to work at making the tango a PG-rated endeavor.
Whenever I see a tassel now, I automatically start thinking of the tango. It is burned into my psyche and hopefully yours now, as well. :) So, as you work your way through these words and tutorial, just start humming: dum-dum-dum. Da-da-da-dah-da, dum-dum, dum. Or, you could just play this instrumental in the background while you whip up a few mini tassels.
The beauty of the mini tassel is that embroidery thread works like magic. I’m not sure if my fingers get thinner (or the opposite of thinner) when I’m making tassels, but I just can’t seem to get uniformity when I’m making them using the ‘wrap it around your fingers’ method. So I tried the fork method. Fail. They weren’t uniform and it was a hassle to work with because the thread kept slipping on the tines.
Pardon me, my crafting neurosis is showing. I just really needed a method that would produce consistent looking tassels for a project, and this did the trick so I’m sharing it with you. I’m not a perfectionist, nor do I subscribe to the perfectionism doctrine, but for something that will be on close-up display like this project will be, I desired consistency.
The trick is to get the embroidery bobbin – or whatever those things are called – and use it. Aside from consistency, another benefit of using the bobbins is that you can work in a mass-production style: wrap 5 up at once, stick the thread in the thread holder thingies (yes, that’s a technical term), and then move onto the next one. Those thingies that hold the thread are also helpful when your nearly 3 year old jumps on you carrying that hour’s dress up theme in her little arms.
- embroidery thread skeins (sold at craft stores for about 40 cents each) – Using this method, each skein makes three mini tassels.
- embroidery thread bobbin (sold in multipacks for a couple dollars) – If you don’t have them, you could use a piece of thin cardboard or card stock, cut to about 1.5 inches high.
1. Create a long tail to start, and wrap the embroidery thread around the bobbin vertically 21 times. Yes really, 21 times – not 20, not 22. In all seriousness, I’m really not that particular, but I found out that it was a waste of thread to do more because the impact wasn’t worth the thread. Try wrapping 50 times though and see if you like it – I’m never one to stifle creativity.
Start your tango… Dum-dum-dum.
2. Cut a piece of thread about 6 inches long and loop it under the top of the stack, between the front and back of the wrapping board. Tie a double knot as close to the thread loops as you can get it.
Da-da-da-dah-da…I’m sure you can continue dancing the tango without my help now.
3. Cut the bottom of the thread on the wrapping board and remove the tassel.
4. Cut another piece of thread (6 inches if you want a small collar, 10 inches if you want a thicker one). Loop it around the top of the tassel, about an 1/8th of an inch down from the top. Double knot, leaving a long tail on the ‘shorter’ side – this will become a strand of the tassel.
Wrap the rest of the collar piece in layers, double knotting to the long tail piece you left above. The tail from this will also become a strand in the tassel.
5. Cut the tassel to the final size and shape you like. I kind of rounded mine up on the edges. Forgot to take a picture of the navy, so you get the light blue for this close up. Look at that fringy little cutie!
I can’t wait to show you what I hope to make using these. I think it will work and I’m seriously super excited to show you because they will make great DIY gifts for Christmas! Until that’s ready though, make up a few of these while you wait. Oh, and we won’t mind if you share the image below with your friends and followers on Pinterest. Just sayin’.
If you’re looking for other colorful inspiration, check out: