DIY Leather Tassel Keychain

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm forever losing my keys in my bag, so I decided it was time to make a keychain. I love the look of leather tassels on keychains - it feels expensive and chic. Luckily you can make your own for less than $10, even when using really high quality products. Here's how:


If you're here in the city, JEM Fabrics in Tribeca has an awesome pile of leather to hunt through. It's only $6 per square foot, and there are sooooo many colors and textures to choose from. Also, you can easily find leather scraps for sale online for just a few dollars. You'll need about a ruler's worth of leather for each tassel. I would steer clear of suede or super thin leathers.

You'll also want to grab a pretty key chain for your new tassel. I'm obsessed with brass, so I found a solid brass option at Gracious Home for about $5 that I really love.


Mine is a trigger snap so it cost an extra dollar or two, but this one is also a great option.


To make the actual tassel, just cut a piece of leather into a 3"x7" rectangle, though you can make yours as short or as long as you like. Then using a heavy duty scissor (I used kitchen shears), cut fringe into the leather, leaving about half an inch uncut. My fringe pieces were teeny tiny and I totally recommend going that route rather the fat, stiff widths. Try to be uniform in the widths, but it's not a huge big deal if the fringe is not all exactly the same size.


Next, cut a 1/2"x3" piece of thicker leather. This will be your tassel's tab top. I used a darker, contrasting leather for some color interest.


To assemble the tassel, simply fold the tab top piece in half and glue the very ends with Magnatac to create a tab or loop for your key ring. Then lay down a thin layer of Magnatac on the inside of your fringed leather. Tightly roll your tab top inside the fringed leather. You'll want the tab to be sticking out about 1/2"-3/4".


Keep lightly gluing while tightly rolling.


I used a scrap of kelly green leather to make a little belt trim for my tassel.


I just cut a little piece and glued it around the tassel. I love the pop of color, but it also really helps to cover up any inconsistencies in my fringe-cutting.


I tapped in a mini brass nail head to secure the ends of the rolled leather (you'll want to use the really small nails that are just over 1/4" diameter - this site sells them, but I would check your local hardware store first). I love how the little shiny bit helps the tassel look less DIY.


And that's it! This takes only about 15 minutes to make. I've been enjoying mine for a couple weeks now and at least a dozen people have asked where I bought my tassel keychain. Success!

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