Peaches is the artist and author behind Aunt Peaches, dubbed “the Citizen Kane of craft blogs” by the Huffington Post. Always on the lookout for clever ideas, Peaches shares creative and inexpensive how-to projects. When she isn’t busy making, styling or photographing handmade goods for magazines and design sites, she is busy removing cat hair and glitter from her lint trap.
I’m a firm believer that nearly every surface can be improved by the presence of homemade tassels and pom poms. Soft, fluffy and oh-so-nostalgic, these decorative elements look just as good hanging on silk drapes as they do on a doorknob or market tote. Making them is easy — there’s a reason this craft is often taught in Brownie troops and kindergarten classrooms! Once you’ve mastered the art of making tassels and pom poms, try your hand at creating a massively awesome, multi-tiered tassel.
The key to this DIY is good yarn and solid knot-making skills. Once you start, it’s hard to stop. Scroll on for the basics – or if you’re already a pom pom pro, skip to the multi-tiered tassel instructions.
You will need:
- Yarn. Any type or width of yarn will work, although natural fibers tend to fray slightly nicer when cut. Twisted wools will puff up and create soft, fuzzy tassels, while more compact strands of cotton and acrylic will lay more flat and uniform.
- Scissors. Be sure to sharpen them before trimming the ends of your tassels. If your scissors are dull, a few snips through a piece of aluminum foil will give them a fresh start.
- Winding Spools (aka: books and gift cards). If you can get your hands on triple thick cardboard, that will work too, but simple household items like paper back novels and leftover gift cards will get the job done.
- Wooden beads. You will need two sizes: small and large.
How to Make Tassels Two at a Time
1. Gather your yarn and a small book. I used pink and blue yarn for demonstration purposes, but you can keep this to one color, or integrate many different kinds of yarn into one tassel. It’s up to you!
2. Wrap the blue yarn around the book 50 times.
3. Slip a 10” strand of pink yarn under the blue yarn.
4. Tie the pink yarn in a knot as tight as you can. If you struggle with this, double back for another loop and a second knot.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 on the opposite side of the book.
6. Slip the yarn bundle off the book.
7. Fold the longer strands of pink yarn into the blue, then slip a pencil inside one end. Use your thumb to bring it as close to the top as possible.
8. Use another 10” strand of pink yarn to wrap around at least ten times, circling the base as tightly as possible. Secure with a knot.
9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 on the other side.
10. Use a sharp pair of scissors to cut down the middle. If necessary, you may want to go back and give your tassel a “hair cut” to even up the ends. That’s it!
Now that you know how to make a tassel, let’s top it off with a pompom, which is pretty much the same thing with less knots – and more fun!
The Easy Way to Make Pom Poms
1. Gather your yarn, scissors, and a leftover gift card (if you don’t have a gift card, cut a piece of extra sturdy cardboard into a 2”x3” rectangle).
2. Wrap your yarn around the length of the gift card 50 times.
3. Tie off each end with sturdy knots.
4. Use sharp scissors to slice down the middle.
5. Repeat your cut on the opposite side.
6. Identify the yarn used to tie the knot and push shorter strands to the side.
7. Tie the two pom poms together as tightly as possible.
8. Trim off any stray pieces.
Assemble a Multi-Tiered Tassel
Tip: You may find it handy to lay out all the elements before assembling. The key is to put the largest item at the top, then work down to multiples of smaller items from there. If you are using a variety of yarn, try to echo the colors at the top and bottom to lend cohesiveness. You may also integrate other accents like bells, charms, or smaller pre-made pom poms.
1. Use an oversized needle with an eye large enough to accommodate yarn and double knot the end.
2. After threading through your pom poms and tassels, add five to ten small wooden beads. Add one large bead to the very top of the strand.
3. Use your needle to thread the second strand through the larger top bead, then secure with a firm knot.
4. Continue tying knot after knot until they create a woven strand roughly 2” long, then separate the strands into two separate sets, and add another bead to finish.
Here the tassels are tied directly to the bag straps, but it would be easy to instead tie them onto a lobster clasp or key ring – then you could move your creation from bag to bag. Or, perhaps skip the bag altogether and tie it on a doorknob, door pull or wrapped around curtains. The sky is the limit!
All photographs by Aunt Peaches.