How hard can it be?
Maybe this should be called How Not To Make Beaded Tassel Earrings.
You know how there's always an easy way to do something and the hard way? Well, I think I tried every way imaginable with these earrings!
I expected they would be soooo simple. What could be difficult about a beaded tassle for gosh sakes?
Especially since I already knew what the key was to making them swing and hang properly. I mean, once you know that, it should be a snap - right?
Well, they actually are a snap to make - and you can click this link to get the simple step by step on how to make these beaded tassle earrings.
But if you're interested, you can stick around here for a few more minutes and find out why it took me three tries to be satisfied with the design.
Here's the first two versions - both quite respectable and very similar looking. A few extra tassels, slightly different shape, but that's it. The differences are obviously hidden beneath the cone.
Don't be a tease
Before I get to that though, I teased you with what the key to making tassel earrings hang correctly. I just want to get that out of the way - it's the thread. It's got to be Nymo size D or something with similar drape. Never Fireline or Wildfire or DandyLine or any of the other heavier beading threads.
If you have to wax or condition it, that's probably the right thread (only somewhat joking).
And in the beginning
My tale begins with red glass leaf beads from Fire Mountain Gems that I decided resemble hearts enough that I had to have them in time for Valentine's day. They look like hearts - right?
I picture cute necklaces with them as dangles, lariats, charm bracelets... Yeah - I could go on.
But the reality is, the holes just aren't going to work for most of that. The beads themselves are a bit thick, curved in the center and only fit 22g wire. They will not just leap onto a jump ring - or be coaxed even.
No worries! I have seed beads - lots and lots of seed beads.
Leaf me bee
Even with seed beads, the hole in the bead is still a pesky problem because I don't want the bead string to show between the hole and the start of the tassel beads. But, I come up with a solution.
I leave a few beads on either side of the hole and it makes a small bail of sorts. Yay! Easy, peasy... so let's make some tassel strands!
Now, I know I plan to use a bead cone, so I'll have to attach all of these tassel threads to an eye pin to feed them into the cone. Hmmmm. How do I do that?
Attempt 1: I gather all the threads, tie them all together with a knot, slide the tails through my eye pin, make another knot. Done! But some threads are loose and the different length tassels are no longer even. Bummer!
Attempt 2: I knot each cord individually to the eye pin in size order. Takes at least five times longer, but it works. And has the added benefit of resulting in tassels that retain my size gradiation - see the nice angular even separation of the tassels on the right?
Oh yeah - there was glue involved in all of these knots. Just in case.
So, what's the problem?
K I S SKeep it simple, silly.
OMG - there was nothing easy about doing or explaining any of that. And worst of all, I just didn't feel like they would last. Nothing like a little tug and beads flying everywhere...
Third time's a charm
Please read the free tutorial at beadwork.about.com for my final solution, but it didn't involve cutting down the number of tassles. I just got tired of working with five (and making mistakes with five).
I promise the tutorial is easier, and more secure, and can be used even if you don't have cones to cover the top of the tassels.
I have lots of tutorials and projects in the works.
I'm thrilled that I have new followers at my Lisa Yang Jewelry facebook page. I've been hoping to reach 500 likes and I'm at 399 right now, but climbing steadily.
Thank you for your support.