Tassels have long been associated with elegance, expense and beauty. At one time, they were reserved for the home of socialites, or they were worn by high-ranking military personnel. Today they are used for decorative items such as pillows, drapes, clothing and even shoes. Many elegant homes feature lengthy windows showcased by rich drapery tied back with beautiful tassels. These tassels can be made with anything from wool, cotton or yarn to silk, rayon or beads. Although tassels made from beads require a little more work, the end result is worth the investment of your time.
Making a beaded tassel is a little different than making a tassel from yarn, silk thread or ribbon. You will need to start with either upholstery or nylon thread, not cotton. You must use a heavier needle, such as a beading needle. Instead of looping this thread over a form, as you would with other materials, you will be cutting it to separate lengths, or trailers. If you want a 3-inch hanger for your tassel, you must cut your threads at about 5 inches. Tie a knot at the bottom to hold your beads. You may want a decorative bead at the bottom of each stringer, something a little different than the rest of your beads. This will provide added elegance.
On each trailer, string your choice of beads. As you finish each trailer, secure it with a piece of tape to a counter or table top. Don't forget to leave that extra 2 inches at the top so you can tie them together. As you add them together, you will be able to visualize whether any of them need an additional bead added to make them the same length. If using the same beads for each trailer, try to keep them fairly even. When you have all the trailers done, line them up and tie them together, making sure the knot is as close to the beads as possible.
Threading the Tassel
With a lighter or candle, melt the ends of the threads together to secure the knot; this will leave a little ball-type knot that won't unravel. This is also why you need either upholstery thread or nylon and not cotton. Cotton won't melt, it will burn. Thread your needle with a piece of upholstery thread. Knot the end and run the needle through the melted knot a few times to secure the thread. Thread a very large bead down this thread, making sure it covers the melted knot. Attach a smaller bead to the top to hide the hole of the very large bead. Knot this at the top. Your beaded tassel is finished. Cut off the needle and use this piece of thread as your hanger. Make sure when doing these last steps, you use a long enough thread that can be used as your hanger.