How to Make a Basic Tassel Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

How to Make a Basic Tassel

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The process of making a tassel, in action.

Tassels— little bunches of loose yarn bound at one end and hanging free at the other — are the usually long, decorative bits that hang off furnishings and seem to serve no other purpose than to make things look pretty. However, that is their purpose — to make the everyday things look prettier.

Tassels are generally embellishments: adding colour and style to various furnishings (such as trimmings for cushion-covers, curtain tie-backs and lampshades); serving as bookmarks; hanging off a graduation cap; or even adorning evening bags and gifts.

The art of tassel-making dates back to the 17th Century where it became an art form known as passementerie1 in France.

A basic tassel is a fairly simple thing to make and should only take about 15 minutes or less.

How Do I Make One of These Dangly Things?


  • Yarn - Almost any type of yarn can be used depending on the texture and feel desired in the final product. Thicker yarns such as chenille and raffia will give the tassel a chunkier feel, whereas thin yarns such as rayon and stranded cotton will lend a more elegant touch. Colours can be mixed and matched according to taste, though metallic thread tends to give the tassel a more lavish look.

  • Cardboard - This should be reasonably stiff so that it will not warp when the yarn is wound around it.

  • Tapestry needle2

  • Scissors


  1. Cut the width of the cardboard to the height you would like the tassel to be.

  2. Lay a short piece of yarn along the length of the cardboard.

  3. Wind the rest of the yarn around the width of the cardboard until you have achieved the desired thickness of your tassel3.

  4. Tie the short yarn tightly so that one end of the tassel is gathered tightly.

  5. Slip the scissors between the yarn and the cardboard and cut the untied side of the yarn4.

  6. Bind the neck of the tassel with another piece of yarn. Secure this tightly by knotting it. Use the tapestry needle to conceal the ends of this thread within the body of the tassel.

  7. Finally, trim the ends of the tassel to achieve a neat and professional-looking tassel.

Why Is This Entry Only about Basic Tassels?

More complex tassels can be made but they require skill, instruction and patience. Decoration can be added to the head of the tassel to make it more elaborate, and bigger, bulkier tassels can be made by grouping smaller tassels together.

If you are interested in tassel-making and the art of passementerie, why not make a trip down to your local library or bookshop and look into some books on it?

More from the Edited Guide

Your fellow Researchers are dab hands with a needle and thread:

1Meaning 'to trim' and the decorative art of using this trim.2Tapestry needles have a big eye and a blunt tip.3Try not to stint on the amount of yarn used, as you do not want the tassel to look too thin and weedy.4Alternatively, slip the loops of yarn off the cardboard, hold the top of the tassel taut and cut the end of the loop with the scissors.

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