DIYdiy projects

DIY Tassel Curtain Tie Backs

by Grace Bonney

I spent the last week soaking up the final days of summer in my hometown of Virginia Beach, Virginia. If there’s one thing I learned in addition to how nice it is to start every morning at the beach, it’s that I really need to get some window shades going in our home. My parents have really nice blackout shades, so Julia, Hope and I slept better than we have in a long time. Our apartment in Brooklyn is on the top floor of our building, so we don’t need shades for privacy, but rising with the sun every morning does make sleeping in a little difficult. So I’ve been looking for a way to integrate curtains that won’t overwhelm our space. We don’t have a lot of room for huge curtain hooks either, so I’ve been toying with the idea of making my own. Thankfully Janet and her team at For the Makers helped us out with a quick, simple and affordable DIY curtain tieback solution that you can whip up during a quick 30-minute episode of your favorite TV show. All you need are some colorful beads, string, leather cord and you’re good to go. Hopefully these will help you ensure you wake up and let the sun in only when you’re ready to start the day. Thanks, Janet!

Click through for the full how-to after the jump!

-jewelry pliers
-piece of thick card stock (at least 5″ in one direction)
-Beacon 527 multi use glue

-8 medium jump rings
-4 large closed rings
-4 large wood beads
-4 medium clear acrylic beads
-2 screw in wall hooks
-3 yards of round leather cord
-end caps to match thickness of leather cord
-silk thread (6 spools for each color, 110 yards per spool)
-2mm clear elastic cord
-beautiful curtains (ours are from West Elm)


1) Gather your tools and materials.

2) Begin making the first tassel by wrapping the silk thread around thick card stock. Our card stock was 5″ wide. Once one spool ends start wrapping a new one right on top. You’ll use 3 spools of thread for each tassel. If you want a longer or shorter tassel you can cut the card stock accordingly. Just remember if it’s longer you might want to increase the number of thread spools needed.


3) Cut a 10″ piece of elastic cord and thread it under one side of the silk thread. Tie a loose knot at the top.


4) Hold onto the elastic and the threads on one side. Slide the thread off the card. At the top, tie a tight triple knot with the elastic.


5) Slide both ends of the elastic through one wooden bead. Slide one end of the elastic through one acrylic bead.


6) Slide one jump ring onto the elastic you threaded through the acrylic bead and pull it back through the same hole.


7) Pull the elastic tight and securely knot it to the other end, under the acrylic bead. Trim the excess and tuck the ends into the hole of the wooden bead.


8) Trim the ends of the thread to create the tassel.


9) Open the jump ring and attach one end cap. Close the jump ring. Put a small dab of glue inside the end cap.


10) Cut 24″ of leather cord. Twist one end into the end cap. Let dry.


11) Repeat the steps and make another tassel. Take two tassels and tie the leather cords together in a loose double knot.


12) Open another jump ring and add one end cap and one large closed ring. Close the jump ring tightly. Add a bit of glue into the end cap and twist one end of the leather cord into the cap. Let Dry. Repeat on the other side.


13) This completes one tie back, repeat the steps to make a second tie back if you are using them for a space with two curtain panels. Install screw wall hooks behind your curtain to attach the closed rings.




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  • These are so cute! I love the addition if beads to the tassels. I think my curtains might be needing these real soon…

  • Ooo fun! I would have never thought of using thread. I like how full the tassels are using that method.

  • Okay I’ve been looking for silk tassels and although I sew and have a big thread collection, it never occurred to me to use the silk thread for tassels. Duh!! I’m doing this! Thank you for this idea!

  • The tassels are a great complement to the curtains! Can you please share the source for these panels/fabric?

  • This says there should be six spools per color – did I read that right? The picture shows three per color. I love this idea.

  • Cute idea….however @ $4.49 per spool and up this is close to $60 JUST for the
    12 spools of thread needed for one set of curtains. Add on all the other costs
    and can’t see how this could be labeled as affordable tie back solution. Still think
    it a fun idea, maybe just leave out the word “affordable ” as spools of thread like
    this are expensive.

    • Hi Annie!

      You don’t need to use real silk thread for this if you’d rather bring the cost down a bit. I found a lot of 40 spools of silk rayon thread here for $42.


  • Hi I am in Scotland and love your tie backs, can you tell me the diameter of the leather cord please?
    Yvonne Wallace

  • Lovely! These tassel tie-backs are beautiful but having recently developed an obsession with tassel-making, I have a suggestion to address affordability concerns. I have experimented with all kinds of threads, noting that a truly beautiful tassel is made of material that feels luxuriously silky but recognizing that, unlike thread or yarn, each strand needs to have a little weight/heft to it to prevent tangles and to allow the tassel to hang just right. Ultimately, I learned silk knotting cord is most ideal to make that perfect tassel but difficult to find at your basic craft or sewing shop. Fortunately, there are websites which offer affordable knotting cord of various thicknesses and sumptuous color choices. HOWEVER, for those looking for more immediate results, ribbon is a WONDERFUL and extremely affordable option, creating a tassel that hangs just right and has that desired silkiness. You may want to experiment with varying thicknesses and textures, but I’ve found that silky (polyester?) fabric ribbon (not grosgrain, textured, or gift wrapping ribbon) to be best; and in terms of width, the thinner the ribbon, the better, making it as thread-like as possible. Also, ribbon is widely available at any of the large chain craft shops, etc., very inexpensive and comes in delicious array of colors. (NOTE: If going the ribbon route, to prevent fraying, grip the completed tassel tightly toward the bottom, hold it an in inch or two above the flame of a lit candle just long enough to melt the rayon, thus sealing the ends.)

  • ~love this~gonna make, but yes in more affordable way. I have an idea, based on linen wall decor I have see out there lately. I have some old linen curtains…I can cut strips, let them fray, even possibly dip dye, and do the same. Silk thread is expensive…with a little creative thinking you can create the same tassel with materials you already have!