Yarn tassels provide a fantastic way to add in some decorative interest and breathe both movement and life into crocheted, knitted and even fabric-based projects.
These embellishments can look especially good added on to handcrafted garlands, banners, cushions, clothing, bags, scarves, curtains and more. They can make a really positive addition when used along with items that might otherwise look a little plain and dull.
These yarn versions are not very hard to create and need no special tools. You can make these from all kinds of string, cord and ribbon as well as ordinary wool and yarn. You often see them made up in a single color but it's just as easy, and faster, to make these decorative embellishments in more than one color.
What You Need for Making Decorative Tassels
- Some balls of yarn in different colors. I am using 3 different colors in the tutorial but you can easily use more than this. Acrylic varieties such as Red Heart are perfect for this project.
- A thick piece of card. I used an old greeting card with a width of about 4 inches (10 centimeters) for wrapping the yarn around.
- A good pair of sharp scissors. You need these to cut through multiple strands of yarn. I use a pair of large fabric scissors.
- A small crochet hook. The hook is an optional item but having it is useful for latching on to the strands of yarn and pulling them through the ties to tidy up the tassels. You can also use a blunt darning needle.
1: Choose Your Yarn Colors
For this example, I chose yarns in white, lilac and purple. You can pick a single color and have strands from light to dark or use strands built up from color combinations that work well together such as pinks and browns, purples and blues, oranges and yellows. Or just go for a whole rainbow.
I’d suggest practicing this technique first with just three colors as I have done. Do this until you are happy with the method for making these embellishments. After that, you can decide on having more or less color choices. Bear in mind that more colors will need fewer wraps around the card and less will result in more wraps to make the same thickness.
You need a thick piece of card to wrap the yarn around. You can wrap around the width of a small or narrow greeting card. Or you could cut out a piece of sturdy card stock to the dimensions that I've added to the materials list. The ones I've made are quite large so you might want a smaller sized piece of card to wrap around instead.
Align all the cut ends of the yarns together and place them at the bottom of your card. Once you start wrapping, you can secure these yarn ends in place with your thumb, just to hold them down.
2: Start to Wrap
Using 3 different yarns, I wrap them 10-12 times around my piece of card to get the thickness I like for my tassels. This is for standard worsted weight or double-knit yarn that is most popular for knitting and crochet crafts. If you have thinner or wider varieties then you may need to adjust how many times you wind them around the card.
3: Tie off the Wrapped Yarn
Once you finish the wrapping process, tie off the top. Snip off a long piece of yarn, around 10 inches or 25 cm. Push your fingers under all the wrapped strands around the front of the card and pass the cut piece of yarn under these threads. Position the yarn length so that it sits roughly in the middle. Then tie it off with a standard double knot which will secure everything in place. Make this knot fairly tight to grip all the strands underneath.
4: Cut the Yarn and Remove it from the Card
Now you've fastened off at the top which secures all the different threads in place, you can cut along the bottom. Slide your scissors along the front piece of the card. Use one scissor blade under the yarn as shown in the photo and snip all the way across. Do not worry about being neat with your cut because you'll need to tidy these ends up later on.
5: Make the Head of the Tassel
Smooth all the different yarn strands down. Pull up the tie at the top and keep it separate because you can use this to tie your tassels to another project. Cut off a second piece of yarn which you will use to tie off the head part of the embellishment. Tie the piece of yarn in a double knot around the top one-third of your threads.
6: Secure the Tassel to Your Chosen Project
Now you can use the top tie threads to attach the tassel to a piece of crochet or knitted item. If attaching it to fabric, you'll need to sew it on instead. I'm attaching mine to a triangular piece of crochet which makes up a single flag for a long banner.
To attach it, I turn the crochet project around so the back of it is facing upwards. I can then push one of the top ties through a space in the crochet. This is where the hook can come in handy. Once you pull this strand through, you can tie it off with a double knot.
7: Tidy Up Loose Strands
Any loose strands can now be pulled through the tie around the head of the tassel. A very thin or fine crochet hook makes this process much simpler. Doing this tidies up the look of the tassel.
8: Finish the Tassel Embellishment
Now I can turn around my crochet piece back to the front. To complete the embellishment, cut a straight line across the ends of the yarn strands to get a neat finish. If you want, you can tie some decorative ribbon around to hide any knot at the back.
Tassels would look good strung across a banner (using just the same method as a simple pom-pom garland) and hung up as wall decor. You can also embellish these further by adding beads to the yarn before you attach the tassels to your chosen project. It is fun thinking up different color combinations and using different types of threads and yarn.
The Same Technique Using Embroidery Threads
Tassels are Fun Decorations to Add to Craft Projects
Every season that comes round, I enjoy making up some new garlands, pennant banners and bunting to hang from the walls in our home. I normally stick to using some simple shapes and motifs such as triangles or easy to make and colorful yarn decorations attached across a line of cord.
Tassels look good used for many craft projects and work especially well used with knitted and crocheted items to finish off winter hats and scarves, bags, tiebacks for curtains, cushions, blankets and more. They can add a fun and novel finishing touch.
Image Credit: all images on this page belong to the author of this article, Marie Williams Johnstone