How to Make Sporran Tassels

Written by cynthia myers
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A sporran is the bag that is worn in front of a Scotsman's kilt. Sporran means "purse" in Gaelic. Originally a small leather pouch, the sporran evolved over the years to a more ornate, larger pouch, often made of badger skin or goat skin with the hair left on. These sporrans are decorated with tassels that varied in number, length and colour. Tassels can be short or very long and made of leather or of fur.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 3 strings leather or rawhide, 12 inches long
  • 4-by-6-inch rectangle of leather
  • Scissors or Exacto knife
  • Black or brown thread
  • 2-by-4-inch rectangle of real or fake fur
  • Thread to match fur
  • Jewellery glue
  • Tassel cap
  • Chain

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    Leather Tassel

  1. 1

    Lay two 12-inch strings of leather side by side on a table, with ends even.

  2. 2

    Lay the rectangle of leather over the strings with one short edge aligned with the side of the leather strings and the top edge of one long side of the rectangle five inches from the top of the leather strings.

  3. 3

    Pinch all the pieces of leather with the thumb and forefinger of one hand and hold them securely while you wrap the rectangle of leather around the strings. Wrap tightly at the top, but leave the bottom loose.

  4. 4

    Take the third leather string and tie it around the top of the bunched leather. Cinch tightly, then wrap all the excess string around the bunched leather and tie again, tucking the ends of the ties in the leather wrapping.

  5. 5

    Cut the leather rectangle into fringe with sharp scissors or the Exacto knife. Start at the bottom of and cut upward toward the wrapping, making a one-eighth-inch wide fringe.

  6. 6

    Cut an eight-inch strand of black or brown cotton and wrap tightly around the bottom of the fringed section, gathering in all the fringe. Knot securely.

  7. 7

    Trim the ends of the fringe until they're even. At this point you can cut the thread, or leave it in place for a neater look.

  8. 8

    Attach the tassel to the sporran with the leather strings at the top.

    Fur Tassel

  1. 1

    Roll the fur into a tight tube, starting at one short end.

  2. 2

    Pinch the top of the tube between your thumb and forefinger and hold it while you wrap thread around the top half inch of the tube. Completely cover this area with thread.

  3. 3

    Apply a generous drop of jewellery glue to the top of the tassel. Fit the tassel cap over the top, covering the threaded areas completely. It should be a tight fit. If it doesn't fit tightly, remove the cap, wrap with more thread, apply more glue and repeat.

  4. 4

    Allow the glue to dry. Use your fingers to comb out the fur and gently trim to a slightly rounded shape at the bottom.

  5. 5

    Thread chain through the loop at the top of the tassel cap and attach to sporran.

Tips and warnings

  • You can buy tassel caps at bead stores of jewellery supply stores
  • Look for longhair fur for the fullest tassel.
  • When cutting the leather, always cut away from your body to avoid injury.
  • Avoid getting glue on the fur.

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