Beaded Tassel Tutorial
I first made these as a fastening for a Chanel-like cardigan. These tassels are not hard to make, although the work is a little fussy, but if you like making jewelry you'll probably enjoy this.
The finished tassel is about 2 3/4 inches long, and the top loop is 2 inches (50 beads for mine.) If you plan to use the tassel for earrings, or to embellish a zipper on a handbag, then you can adjust the length of the loop accordingly.
- Nymo beading thread, fine. Use black Nymo for opaque beads, white for crystal & clear beads . Regular sewing thread is not strong enough for this type of beading.
- Beading needles (I used J & P Coats H.16, size 10/13)
Naturally, for the beads you can use whatever you like, but I'll give you the bead sizes I used as a guide:
One 10mm faceted bead for the tassel head
One 6mm disc-shaped bead for the neck
Each strand of the skirt contains:
16 seed beads of one color
2 seed beads of another color as a transition
1 bugle bead that coordinate with the 2 transition beads
1 4mm bicone bead
1 Czech E-bead (a bead the same shape as a seed bead, but larger)
1 dangle (usually side drilled) or teardrop bead (usually top drilled) for the end
Each tassel has 6 strands in the skirt. If you use a top drilled bead for the end of each skirt strand you will need an additional seed bead as a stopper.
Cut a piece of Nymo 5 feet long. Each tassel uses one continuous strand of thread, looped back and forth through the beads. It's really important to have more than enough thread to complete one tassel because if you run out of thread and try to tie onto a strand to complete the skirt, you will compromise the strength of the finished tassel.
The first step works from the bottom up and you'll create one skirt strand, and then continue with the neck bead, the head bead, and the top loop. String your dangle or tear drop with a single strand of Nymo, then double the strand, re-thread the needle, and string the skirt strand beads on the doubled thread. Add the neck bead, head bead, and the beads for the loop. When the loop islong enough, create the loop and bring the thread back down through the head bead and the neck bead.
It should look like this:
You now have one skirt strand and the top parts of the tassel are formed. Unthread the needle. You will now use each of the two separate threads to create the rest of the skirt strands.
This is an important step to understand: from this point onwards, you will string each skirt strand from the top down to the dangle (the original skirt strand was done bottom up in order make the neck, head and loop of the tassel)
Thread the needle and string on that single strand: 16 seed beads, 2 transition beads, the bugle bead, the bicone, the Czech e-bead, and the dangle or teardrop. After you attach the dangle or teardrop (with teardrops you will need to use a single seed bead below it as a stopper) thread through the entire strand again from the bottom up, catching every bead:
When you get to the neck and head beads, run the thread through those as well, snug the strand to the neck bead, and bring the needle out at the top of the head bead. Wrap the beading thread around the bottom of the loop where the last two loop beads touch the head bead, and bring the thread back down the thorough the head and neck beeads.
Unthread the needle, and separate the two strands of thread. Rethread the needle again as a single strand an continue as before, making another strand of the skirt. After you use up one piece of thread, go to the other piece and finish the skirt. You should be able to do 3 skirt strands on one piece of thread, and 3 on the other.
After all six skirt strands are complete, go through and wrap around the head bead one last time, but bring the needle out between the head bead and the neck bead. Run the needle horizontally through the many strands of thread, make a loop, and pull a tight knot. Then run the thread down thought the neck bead and through at least 6 beads in a skirt strand, and cut off the thread. This last step, of running the end piece of thread through a skirt strand, is actually very important because it prevents the knot from coming undone.