Very often I have wanted some braided cord for a card, and what I had, or could find, was either the wrong colours, or far too heavyweight, or both.So after a little research, the method I found works best is this. You will need a small hand-drill, the sort everyone used before electric drills, lol. You may find you have one lying disused around the house, but if you need to purchase one, it will only cost you a couple of pounds.The second thing you will need is a brass cup hook.
You will see from the picture that the cuphook has been inserted into the part of the drill, the chuck. that would normally hold a drillbit. To do this, loosen the chuck by holding the handle still, and twisting the chuck anti-clockwise. Push the thread of the hook into the chuck, and retighten.
You can use a door or window handle-as long as you can slide the thread off it when you have wound it- don't use a round door knob! Yes I did realise how silly this was the hard way.
Next choose your thread for your cords. I tend to use embroidery thread (floss), as it is lightweight, so you don't end up with too much of a bulky cord, and the range of colours available is enormous. You will need two colours.
You need to unravel your skein of thread, and tie the two ends together to make a huge loop. Do this with both colours. Try to make sure they are approximately the same length.
Also have ready a few pieces of low-tack tape, or masking tape.
Now you begin to wind the handle of the drill to wind the first of the threads. It doesn't matter whether you wind forwards or back, but whichever way you do turn, you MUST twist both of the cords the same way. You also need to count HOW MANY TIMES you turn the handle-its best to do this by counting each time the handle is facing the front of the drill, for instance. There is no hard & fast rule for how many turns- it will depend on the length of the thread, how much stretch it has, how tight or loose you want the wind- if you think its too taught, just unwind a little, if too loose, wind a few more turns.
The reason you need to know how many times you have turned the handle is because you need to repeat this winding with the second cord, and you need to wind it the same number of times, so the tension of the cords is the same. When you have this second cord wound to match he first, do not remove it from tbe cup hook. Take the loop you taped to your desk, and put this over the cup hook.You should now have two wound cords, attached to your peg and cup hook.
Now we are going to twist these two cords together.To do this, you have to wind the drill the OPPOSITE way to how you wound the cords the first time, so if you wound your drill FORWARDS to twist the individual cords, you now have to wind BACKWARDS, and vice versa.Wind the handle, twisting the cords together, until you are happy with how it looks. It may kink up a little, don't worry as it will straighten out when released, its how tightly you want it wound that is important at the moment.
When you have it looking as you want, slip the cords off the cuphook and tie then together in a knot. Do the same for the other end, and let the cord dangle to straighten out.
When you want to cut a length from your cord, wrap a piece of tape around it, and cut through the tape. This will prevent it from unravelling.
Or, you can wrap it around the spine of your card, tie a knot in each end a couple of inches above where you want the cord to hang to, then trim off the excess cord. Now use a toothbrush to brush out the ends, to make a 'tassel'.
The possibilities with this are endless-the thickness of your cord is determined by the thread you use. If you use a skein of thread as it is, you will get a cord of reasonable weight & thickness, but still suitable for a card. If you were to take two or three individual threads from a skein, you would get a light, delicate cord.You could also use wool, narrow ribbon, string- whatever you like. I think that three individual cords would be the maximum you could do this with in this way and get an evenly wound cord - it would be difficult to control the wind with any more.
Making your Own Tassels
The problem with tassels is very often trying to match the colour to your card/bookmark, etc. Often you can get close, but you don't always have the right colour. This is how you can make your own, using embroidery thread(floss), or any similar choice- silk thread, string, cotton, even very narrow ribbon.
There are a number of bowmakers available, and these are ideal for tassel making. However, if you don't have one, and I didn't at the time, here is a really simple little gadget I made to do them with.
This is what you should end up with.
You can make loads of these in different lengths to suit your projects.
When you think you have enough for your tassel, if you have used two , or more, colours, cut off the excess thread, at what will be the bottom of the tassel.You will use the excess you left at the top to secure your tassel. If you have only used one colour, take the last wind up to the top, and cut off level with the first trailing end, to give you two threads to tie off.
Take both ends of the longer trailing thread and pass them through the gap on either side of the wound cord then wrap them tightly around the tassel in opposite directions, as close to the top as you can get it, and tie them together with a knot - this creates the shorter top end of the tassel.
Slip the whole tassel off the card, and separate the two trailing ends to opposite sides of the tassel.
Thread the left hand thread onto a darning needle and pass the thread through the head of the tassel to come out on the right hand side. Repeat with the right hand thread, to come out on the left hand side. Now take both threads up to the top of the tassel and tie in a knot.
Next, snip through the loops at the bottom of the tassel and trim any long ends level. Then use a small stiff brush (I use a toothbrush) and brush your tassel to separate the strands of thread.
And thats all there is to it. Simple, cheap and very useful.