Written by Francesca Kletz and Brooke Dennis, published 19th february
A cute gift for your bridesmaids - or for yourself...
I made them myself. BOOM. Mind blown. Let me tell you something, perfect party earrings are hard to find. Some of us have short necks or giant earlobes or, like, no ears! Which actually makes this tutorial a little redundant – but anyway.
I mean, yes, there are more important things than finding the perfect dangly earrings, ones that have hypoallergenic posts or aren’t so long that they sit way down below your shoulders (I’m looking at you, ‘the 70s’). So let’s just make them ourselves.
They can be the perfect colour combination, they can have sterling silver posts and we’re making them with tassels made of yarn, so if they’re too long you can just trim them. You’re welcome.
Spoiler alert! You’re going to need some jewellery pliers to make these earrings – they’re really easy to get hold of and once you own some you’ll feel like a pro.
How to tassel
Everyone loves a tassel. I mean, that’s just science. They go with everything: cushions, wall hangings, bookmarks, cats’ tails, all the things. Here’s our snappy guide to tasselling up your life.
1. You’re going to want to measure out a heck ton of yarn to make your tassel nice and bushy. Bushy tassel? Yes please. To keep your tassel yarn all the same length, wrap it around a piece of card. Snip the yarn along one side of the card.
2. Cut another, single piece of yarn. Make it long, so you can trim it later when you decide on the length for your project. Do a double knot with this long piece of yarn around the middle of your chunk of tassel yarn.
3. Hold the long piece of yarn in one hand and smooth the tassel tails together, keeping the other long piece of yarn hidden.
4. 4.1 Do a wrap knot around the head of the tassel. To create a wrap knot, cut a length of yarn approx. 30 cm (12 in). Lay the yarn on top of the tassel with a short tail towards the top, a small loop then the rest of the tail towards the left. This looks like an upside down ‘4’.
4.2 Wrap the long tail around the tassel, working from the top towards the bottom until you have the perfect length of wrap or you run out of yarn.
4.3 Dive your tail that you have been using to wrap into the loop.
4.4 Gently pull on the tail of yarn whilst firmly holding the short tail at the top. The loop will slide neatly under your knot.
4.5 Cut the excess tail off. Finished!
5. Hang and trim the tassel so you can cut it as straight as possible.
6. Make tassels in every colour and yarn combo you can find.
To make the earrings
- 2 x buttons with shanks
- 7 mm (1/4 in) split rings
- Jewellery culottes
- Jewellery pliers (cutter)
- Plastic-coated jewelry wire
- Yellow seed beads
- 2 x earposts and backs
- Yarn: red and yellow yarn
1. Get some buttons! I know, buttons in jewellery can look super twee and you guys thought this book was, like, ‘anticraft’ or something, but buttons come in many incarnations and only one of them is pearlised pastel pink. You need a shank button – that’s the kind of button with no holes at the front and a little, well, shank at the back. The size is up to you – you can buy earring posts on the internet with varying base sizes, so you’ll be able to get one to fit on the back of your button of choice.
2. To start with you need to make your collection of tassels – we’ve used three for each earring (so six for a set), but this is up to you. Measure and cut your chosen tassel yarn into clusters that are 15 cm (6 in) long. The amount of yarn per cluster depends on the yarn you choose – you’re going to need to fit your tassels into a 7 mm (1/4 in) split ring, so measure as you go – the finer the yarn, the more strands will fit into your split ring. Make your tassels (see page 60) using the split ring in place of the yarn your tassels usually hang from and wrap the tassels in a complementary coloured yarn – the finer, the better (but the colour is still up to you!).
3. Using fine plastic-coated jewellery wire, thread your tassels and beads together (you won’t see the wire, so the colour doesn’t really matter, but it comes in loads of options). Cut off more jewellery wire than you think you’ll need – you can trim it later, but it makes the wire easier to work with. You can also use a fine string for this, but you would need a beading needle, which I hate using because it’s so fine. We’ve used yellow seed beads in between our tassels, but the choice is yours. This might be a good excuse to use up those beads you bought on that trip to Tanzania, that you thought you’d make dolls with and then sat at the back of your dresser for, like, five years.
4. When you’re happy with the tassel and bead arrangement on your wire, tie a double knot with the two ends of your wire and use a pair of jewellery pliers to snip off any excess. Using your jewellery pliers, close a jewellery-making culotte over the knot and attach the hook of the culotte to a split ring. Open the split ring and fasten it onto the shank at the back of your button.
5. All that’s left to do now is add some super- or all-purpose glue to the base of your earring post and the spot on the back of the button shank where you’d like your beads and tassels to hang from and stick them together. Make sure you buy a good glue that works on metal and plastic and let it dry for 24 hours to ensure you don’t disrupt its magical sticking powers.
6. Put them in your earlobes! If you don’t have pierced ears, glue clip-ons to the button and not earring posts or you’ll be all, ‘Where does this bit go?!’
Extracted from Weave This by Francesca Kletz and Brooke Dennis (Hardie Grant, £14.99) Photography © Rita Platts