February 20, 2018 / How To

Two Ways to Create Sterling Silver Tassels

Make your own sterling silver tassels from chain and jewelry findings. Tassels make beautiful earring dangles, charms or pendants. ...

Create your own silver jewelry tassels! In this step-by-step guide, we show you how to wire-wrap or solder chain tassels for your jewelry making.

Tassels have been a hot item for a while now and, yes, you can purchase one of our many sterling silver tassels. But, sometimes it's fun to make your own! Making tassels is a great way to use up the bits and pieces of scrap you have laying around your studio. Here are two tassels that were quick to make and made from scrap footage chain.

Wire-Wrapped Tassel (assembly time 15-20 minutes)

Sterling silver bead caps

Although bead caps come in many different shapes and sizes, the one I chose for this project is a fairly large bullet cap. It will accommodate several pieces of small chain.

Materials Used:

  • SW20H - 2in, 20ga sterling silver wire (1)
  • 21740 - 2in, 1.6mm sterling silver  cable chain (9)
  • 7.9x8.1mm bullet cap, 1.8mm hole ID, oxidized, hammered (1)
  • 21322 - 20in, 1.2mm curb chain necklace with spring ring (1)

Step-by-step Instructions

Creating a loop for a bead cap

Step 1: The Loop

Choose a gauge of wire that will pass through a link on your chain and fit easily through the hole on your end cap. Use round-nose pliers to make a basic loop if your wire gauge is heavy enough. Or, you may choose to use an eye pin instead of making your own.

Tip: Make sure your loop can fit inside of the cap after you have created it.

Step 2: Chain

Gather your chains. The ones I used for this piece are 2" long and the chain is a 1.6mm double cable chain.

Tip: Cut your chains the same length or switch it up with varying lengths.

Bulk footage chain

Threading the chain for a tassel

Step 3: Assembly

Thread the end of each piece of chain on the loop. Close the loop and pull the wire through the bead cap hole as shown on the left.

Tip: You can thread the chain through the loop from any link. That will double up on your tassels plus give you different lengths, as well.

Step 4: Top Loop

Use round nose pliers to create a loop at the top of the bead cap.

Tip: Leave a 3mm space in the wire from the top of the bead cap to the bottom of the loop and a tail on your wire so you can wrap it in the next step.

Create a loop on a bead cap

Wrapping the wire at the end of a loop

Step 5: Wrapping the Wire

Finish the loop and then tightly wrap the wire in the space between the loop and the cap. This looks great, plus, it tightens all the pieces together.

Tip: I textured the loop using the round nose pliers. This is optional, of course.

Step 6: Finishing

Use your new tassel as a pendant, earring dangle or bracelet ornament and you're done!

Finished handmade tassel

Soldering a Tassel (assembly time 30 minutes)

Sterling silver end cap This end cap (item S713) is one of my favorite items here at Halstead. I love the look and the finish of it, however, this was a challenge to me. To solder the chains, I needed to figure out a way to do that because of the open tube at the top. I went into this project thinking I could thread the chain on a jump ring and then loop that over the pre-attached ring. I began by sizing the jump ring and the tube's inner dimensions. Happy with what I found, I added the chain to the jump ring. I placed it into the tube, which wasn't easy with the jump ring open. When I was finally ready to close the jump ring over the pre-attached ring on the top of the end cap, there wasn't any room for the flat nose pliers to do their job. Back to the drawing board! I thought it out carefully and decided the best way was to create a u-shaped wire and solder it that way.

Materials Used:

  • 1in, 20ga sterling silver wire (1)
  • 5.2x11.2mm sterling silver end clasp (1)
  • 3in, 1.6mm sterling silver double cable chain (4)
  • 3in, 1.5mm flat cable chain, dark oxidized finish (4)

Step-by-step Instructions

Footage chain for a tassel

Step 1: Tassels 

Cut your chain into 3" pieces using your wire cutters. I chose oxidized and brite finishes for this piece.

Tip: Use chain links that will fit through the wire in the next step.

Step 2: Preparing the Loop

Cut a piece of wire 1 1/4" long. You will bend this wire in half to create a u-shape, so use a permanent marker to mark the wire where the bend will be located.

Tip: Make sure the u-shaped wire can slide up into the bottom of the end cap.

Create a u-shape with jewelry wire
Creating a loop for a tassel

Step 3: Creating the Loop

Use round nose pliers to bend the wire into a u-shape for your loop.

Tip: Don't create a loop yet. Leave the u-shape open at the top. The loop will be created in step 6.

Step 4: Chains

Thread the end of the chain pieces onto the u-shaped wire.

Tip: Keep a close eye on the number of chains that you use. Check often to make sure they still fit inside the tube on the end cap.

Thread the footage chain through the wire

Assembling the end cap and chain

Step 5: Assembly

Run the wire up through the bottom of the end cap. The two ends of the wire should now stick out at the top, on either side of the ring.

Tip: I kept the u-shaped wire long so that I could better manipulate it while shaping it. You can always trim long wires but you can't add to short ones!

Step 6: Creating the Loop

The end cap I am working with has a ring on the top of it. I want to have the ring that I am making, loop over that ring to hold the tassels in place. Use narrow flat nose pliers to grip one end of the u-shaped wire. Use wire cutters in your other hand to snip the opposite wire down about 8mm. Take round nose pliers and put a loop at the end of the cut wire. Use the flat nose pliers to hang onto the ring while you repeat these steps with the other end of the u-shaped wire. You should now have your ring wrapped around the end caps ring.

Tip: Make sure that you've created a well-made ring with the ends tightly together.

Making a loop in the end cap
Preparing to solder the loop

Step 7: Preparing to Solder

Use one third-hand to hold the bottom of the end cap and another third hand to hold the ring on top. The steel will draw a lot of the heat away from the piece which will protect the chain at the bottom and the ring at the top.

Tip: If you're new to soldering, read our blog Five Steps to Start Silver Soldering for tips and help.

Step 8: Soldering

Flux then add one piece of easy solder on the top of the ring you created. Heat up your piece until the solder flows then pickle, quench and dry.

Tip: Use the smallest torch tip or flame that you can, you want to keep the chain cool by only heating between the third hands.

Soldering the loop closed
Finishing the handmade tassel

Step 9: Filing and Sanding

Use needle-nose files and sandpaper to clean any extra solder off of your tassel

Tip: It is dangerous to use a buffing wheel or rotary tool on loose chain ends. Hand polish your tassel as needed.

Step 10: Finishing

Tassels also look great at the back of necklaces. What's your favorite use of the tassel trend? 

Handmade finished tassel

Shop at Halstead for other great tassel making findings!

Got questions? Email our studio coordinator Erica Stice at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you. Sorry, studio support is not available by phone. Emails only, please.

Be sure to check out these related past articles from the Halstead archives:

4 Trendy Earring Making Ideas

3 Ways to Set Crystal Points with Sterling Silver Findings

Riveting Techniques from Gwen Youngblood

Written By: Erica Stice
Erica is the former Studio Coordinator at Halstead. She spent 14 years with the company across a variety of departments but fell in love with metalsmithing. Erica's top tip for new metalsmiths is: "Practice! Be patient with yourself and have fun with it. Don't be afraid to ask questions. All of us at Halstead enjoy helping people whether it's questions on products or technical help in the studio. We're here for you."