Tassels are so fun, aren’t they? I wanted to try my hand at a leather craft and decided a tassel would be a good place to start. Add a touch of paint and you’ve got a unique keychain or fashion accessory.
If you are just starting out in leather, I recommend finding a local leather retailer and rummaging through their scrap bin. You can try a bunch of different types of leather (weight, texture, color, etc.) without spending a lot. The alternative to the scrap bin is either buy the entire hide (that’s a lot of tassels!) or look for options at your local craft store. The craft store won’t have as much variety but it’s a good option if it’s a one-off project.
DIY painted leather tassel
It should take about 15 minutes to cut and assemble your tassel, not including time to apply and dry the paint. All told, be generous and give yourself an hour with paint.
- 5″ x 0.5″ leather piece for the hook
- 5″ x 3.5″ leather piece for the tassel
- Lobster clasps swivel claw hook keyring
- Split ring (not shown, optional)
- Small double cap rivets (matching the clasp finish)
- Leather acrylic paint
- Craft glue
- X-acto blade
- Setting hammer
- Rotary leather punch
- Fine-tip brush
Optional supplies and tips at the end.
On the back of your large leather piece measure one inch from the top, drawing a line along its length. Next, measure and mark perpendicular lines at 1/4 inch intervals.
On the front of your tassel and hook pieces, mark with tape where you want to paint.
Using the tape as a guide, paint your design. I don’t recommend painting up to or over the edge of the tape. The leather has too much texture and the paint is likely to bleed under the tape. Instead, embrace a slightly imperfect line – you’ll be happier for it (trust me)!
Allow to dry.
Once your leather is dry, turn it around and cut along the vertical marks.
Tip: Clean up the leather fibers (lint) by trimming the edges with scissors.
Fold your small leather piece in half and punch a hole through both halves 1/2″ from the top.
Place your clasp through the piece and secure in place with a rivet.
Apply glue on the back of the tassel piece. Align the hook piece along the top left edge and fold the tassel piece around it until you have a tight coil.
Allow to dry.
Shimmy shimmy! You just made a painted leather tassel!
Add a split ring to use it as a keyring.
If you want to use recycled or scrap leather, you may need to clean it up with a leather cleaner.
Similarly, if the leather has a finish, you may need to deglaze it in order for the paint to adhere. Deglazer has a noxious odor, so be sure to use it in a well-ventilated area.
- Leather cleaner
If your leather has wrinkles, place it under a towel and iron it on low.