Fire Frog's

How to Make A Twisted Cord.

butterfly(And Tassels!) butterfly

Twisted cords are used to edge pillows and sachets,
as ornamental rope hangers, draw strings on pouches,
and to match up with tassels.


Material to use. Most kinds of cord can be used, but 6-ply embroidery floss, pearl cotton and metallic floss looks very nice. Silk and wool is a more expensive option. You can use a single colour by itself or several complimenting ones together.

Length. Calculate the length you will need for your project, then times it by three. That is what you will need.

To Make. Tie a knot at both ends of your cord(s), making loops if possible. Hook one end over a fixed cup hook, big toe, doorknob, chair back or other fairly stable item.

Begin to twist the cord in one direction. For long lengths, a drill on slow can be used - attach the free end to a drill bit and turn on. Do NOT use at speed, you will regret it. This can be tricky, however it is worth learning this method as it provides the most constant cord width/twist.

Alternatively a wooden dowel can be placed through the loop of the free end to help make a handle for turning. The cord gets slippery as it tightens, which is why these methods were thought up. Don't let go of the cord at this point or it will snarl up. Stop turning when the cord is so tight it begins to kink.

Now firmly take hold of the cords mid point then bring both the ends together. Keep the cord stretched out. With a longer cord, a key ring (with a clip so you can then take it off) can be used to find the middle. Slid the keys down the length of the cord until it reaches the middle. Stand on this point and hold the ends together as you would with a shorter length.

Be careful not to let go while doing this, or you will end up with a huge snarl.

Ssslllowwerly, ~ very slowly ~, release the ends or the middle of the cord bit at a time and allow it to twist back on itself. It may help to fasten the middle or ends back onto your cup hook/big toe etc.

Slide your hand along the cord, releasing it from the tension as you work your way to the other end. When the whole length is done, knot and sew up the ends to prevent unravelling.



How to Make A Tassel.

First - why make a tassel?

Tassels are used for ornamentation, to give that nice finishing touch, and to hide scraggly ends on an otherwise nice piece of needle work! Knotted fringes have been around since day dot for finishing off cloth edges.

Just tie several of the weft lines together at regular intervals and cut the fringe resulting ends to an equal length and
you are done!

When furniture and the like began to be decked out in braid and braided fringes they were ending up being finished with a rough knot. Not an aesthetic finish!

These knots were soon disguised by being wrapped in silk threads which had their ends left flowing to create
crude tassels.

Later the knots were placed inside wooden beads to hide their lumpy shapes. The wooden (and later metal) beads gave an excellent anchor for more elaborate ribbons/beads/crystals and cords to be fixed to. Some truly exquisite tassels can be made using wood bases.

Tassels soon became a mark of taste and grandeur.

What We Use Tassels For Now

Tassels are now commonly found on the end of pull ropes, curtain tie backs, book marks, lamp pulls, blind pulls, belts, shoe and clothing laces, the corner finishes for embroidered throw-overs, runner and place settings for a table, draw strings for bags, pendants and many more items.

Dissection Of A Tassel!

The hanging down bit of the tassel is called a 'skirt'. The bit of rope that it hangs from the 'suspension cord'. The piece that hides the knot is called the 'head'. A little trim between the skirt and the head is called the 'ruff' and it hides untidy joinings between the two. To stop the knot slipping free of the head a tightly clamped 'collar' may be placed at the top of the head where it meets the suspension cord.

Wooden heads also help separate the threads and space them out, making them neat and even. I've seen material heads used too, where the knot is wrapped in rags before having fine silk cord added to hide it all away!


Making Simple Tassels

You will need -

A lovely skein of thread



A needle


The easiest tassel to make does not involve a wooden head, ruff or collar. It still looks lovely and is quite simple and fast to make. I make them to put on the end of the bookmarks my mother and I create, they add an elegant look. And I use them to finish twisted cords for drawstrings on potpourri sachets.

wind around fingers.

Cut a length of cardboard 1/4 longer than you want your tassel, or if the length is right - use your fingers. Wrap your thread around the cardboard/your fingers until the bundle of thread is as thick as you will need. Remember, add both sides of the wrapping together to figure out how thick the tassel is getting.

tie top, cut bottem.

Slip it off the cardboard (or fingers ) and bind one end by wrapping the thread around it to form a head. Pull the thread firmly, but do not strangle it as that will cause some of the fringe to jut out awkwardly.

Next thread on a needle and sew back into the binding
several times.

sew back through.

Hide the threads tail by taking it halfway through the middle of the 'head' and then either 1) taking it up to connect with the suspension cord or 2) take it down through the length of the tassel and trim excess level with the bottom of the fringe.

You can attach the suspension cord by looping it through the 'head' of the tassel. Cut the unbound loop ends at the bottom of the fringe and trim to an even length.


Lovely bookmarks

These bookmarks are made using Encaustic wax pictures set in paper frames.

They have a plastic film over them so that the wax doesn't damage the books they are used in.

The long tassels are made with metallic thread and look quite opulent!


If you want to cheat a little, you can buy a commercial fringed braid and make a tassel using that.

Use a fairly thick suspension cord for this. Wrap the braid around the knot in the suspension cord, with the fringe hanging down to make the skirt.

sew fringe to knot.

When your skirt looks thick enough cut the braid, some strands will fall loose so allow for that a little. Fix the braid by gluing and sewing it in place, then if needed (the braid alone may look all right) cover the head area of the braid with lace etc.

Ta da - simple tassel!

Warning, it is quite hard to get the damn knot to sit central, it will try its hardest to exit the fringe at an angle and to one side.

And any knot below the braid will try and poke through the skirting, so a cord and fringe that match might be a better idea for hiding that.


For a beaded tassel - cut several lengths of strong thread. They need to be long enough to go double the length of the fringe you want with enough left over to comfortably knot at it.

Cut as many lengths as you plan on strands of tassel, you will be threading each individually.

tie off the top.

Thread beads. When you get to the end thread back into the second last bead and go back up the strand again.

Watch out for the rascal beads that slip to the side and don't get second threaded - you can see the bit of unthreaded thread and it looks very bad!

Having gone through the strand twice so both ends end at the top, bundle all the strands together and tie off them so that they hang fairly evenly.

Enclose this knot in a large bead and attach the suspension cord to it as well. Cover any messy stitching etc with braid or ribbon.

wrap stitching with ribbon.

^The ribbon shown here proved too hard to wrap, so I used some fine cord instead. The end result was a little lumpy, but okay for all that.


Another way to make a beaded tassel is using a small
material ball.

Attach one end of a length of thread to the rag ball.

Add twenty or so beads to the thread, then skipping the end bead sew back up the other nineteen, so you end up at the rag ball again. Sew back into the ball near where your first thread went in. Place another twenty beads on the thread and repeat. Continue doing this in a spiral pattern, using your first strand
as the center.

Keep the tassel threads close together and tie them off at regular intervals. Stop when you are just under halfway up the ball, then sew into the ball and knot the thread for the last time.

Attach the suspension cord by sewing it on then cover the top of the material ball in ribbon to hide it and the join to the suspension cord.

Will post a picture as soon as I have made one!


bell rope

This beaded tassel is attached to the end of a black,
un-embroidered bell rope.

The beads and end sequins are in peacock shimmer colours.

The top is encased in a metallic masking bead made especially to attach two different width materials - ropes to chains, ribbon rope to satin etc.

 beaded tassel

Found this on the internet. This tassel's head is a metallic bead, the fringe has been beaded and so has the suspension cord. Nice.

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