How to Make a Yarn Tassel

Looking for a new technique to help spice up a finished object? Why not try making a tassel? Tassels are fun to make, and are a great way to add an extra bit of flair to a project. Our tutorial will show you how to make a removable tassel out of a Unicorn Tail, perfect for adorning the ends of the Loop Shawl. Let’s get started!

We’ll start by making the cord the tassel hangs from. The cord allows the tassels to be removable, and eliminates any extra dangly ends. Once finished, you can attach the cord to the end points of the shawl with a simple lark’s head knot.

To make the cord, measure out a length of yarn about two yards long, and fold it in half. Then you’ll want to twist the cord. There are many ways to do this, depending on the tools you have available. Essentially, you’ll want to loop the end of the yarn around something, like a doorknob or chair post. You can also twist the cord by using your lap, by rolling the yarn toward your knee on your left and away from your knee on the on the right.

Keep twisting until the yarn begins to kink up on itself. When it’s ready, you’ll want to pinch the middle so the yarn can be folded in half. It’s helpful if you have a friend to do this part. When you let the yarn go, it’s going to look like a kinked-up mess. There’s no need to panic. Gently coax and smooth the twist down the length of the cord. Once the entire length has a uniform amount of twist, set the cord aside.

Now comes the actual tassel-making part! You’ll want to create a bundle of yarn that will form the body of the tassel. To make the bundle, wrap the yarn around a piece of cardboard or another sturdy object that is a uniform size and shape. We used a 4” tall piece of cardboard for our tassels. The width doesn’t matter too much, as long as it is wide enough to accommodate the bundle of yarn.

For the Loop shawl tassels, we wrapped the yarn 24 times around the cardboard. More wraps will result in a thicker tassel, fewer wraps, a thinner one. After completing all wraps, cut the yarn. Repeat the entire wrapping process again for the second bundle.

Now that the bundles are done, you’ll want to cut one more piece of matching yarn, just a little longer than the bundles. This piece of yarn will tie everything together.

Make a cross with the new piece of yarn and the cord you set aside earlier, like this:

Then place one yarn bundle above and one yarn bundle below the cross section. Fold the cord down and out of the way, into an upside-down “u” shape. You’ll want to make a very tight square knot with the yarn.

After the square knot has been made, tie the ends of the cord together in an overhand knot. For our tassel, we left about six inches of cord remaining above the knot.  Snip and unravel the ends of the cord.

Now you’ll make the shank. The shank is the wrapped portion that binds the top of the tassel. To create the shank, you will be using a nautical technique called “whipping the end of the line.” Cut a new strand of yarn about 30" long, and using the technique shown here, wrap the tassel from bottom to top. Then hide the end of the yarn shank inside the top of the tassel.


There’s just a bit of finishing work left! Wrap a piece of waste yarn around the tassel and cinch it tight near the bottom. The ends will puff out and you can then trim the ends to an even length.

Fluff out the end of the tassel and admire your handiwork! You’re all done!



May 20, 2015 by Oleya Pearsall
Tags: Tutorial
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