I suffer from a very serious disorder called Christmas Light Separation Anxiety (CLSA). Come December every year I get so excited to drive around suburbia and gaze at all my neighbors’ lights and guess who is going to have the highest electricity bill for the month. But then the 26th rolls around and everyone starts taking their lights down and dismantling their Christmas trees. But…I thought we were just getting started! Who decided that cheerful décor is reserved for one month a year?!

Today, I am going to show you how to make a cheerful tassel garland, which, unlike holiday lights, does not come with a made-up expiration date. Not only can it be made to suit any holiday or celebratory occasion, but no one will think you’re crazy for keeping it up year round. In fact, I think people will find you insane if you ever take it down.

What you’ll need:

  • A variety of tissue papers (available in the gift wrap section of any discount or craft store)
  • Cording (sold in the ribbon section of fabric stores). I used about two yards of a metallic silver variety, but you can use any color or size depending on how you want your garland to look.
  • Scissors
  • Tacky glue (like regular glue, but with a thicker consistency)

For my garland, I made a bunch of tassels of different lengths and thicknesses, but I’ll start off by showing you how to make a basic tassel, then we’ll get fancy.

Making the basic tassel:

1. Working on a flat surface, fold a piece of tissue paper in half once, lengthwise. One piece of tissue paper can make four tassels.

2. Fold the paper again, widthwise this time.

3. Fold widthwise one more time.

4. Using your scissors, cut thin strips as uniformly as you can, starting at the open end. Leave about two inches of uncut tissue paper at the top (the folded end).

5. Unfold the paper widthwise, and cut it down the middle, making two pieces.

6. Unfold each of those two pieces widthwise, and cut them down the middle again. This will leave you with four pieces.

7. Take one piece and unfold it lengthwise, so you’re left with a single piece that has fringe on both ends.

8. Roll the center (the part without the fringe). Make sure the fringe doesn’t get tangled by gently running your fingers through it as you roll.

9. Twist the center portion that you just rolled, to make it tighter and secure the fringe.

10. Fold the tassel in half at that middle, twisted part. I’m going to call that folded point the “top” for now. About an inch from the top, place a dot of glue on one of the who tassled “arms” (“legs”?) that extend from that fold/top/whatever.

11. Twist the tassel at that spot where you put the glue, to make a loop. Hold on to the glued spot for a minute or so, until it dries enough to not instantly unravel (this is where the tacky glue has a big advantage over regular ol’ Elmer’s). FYI, I noticed that foil tissue paper (the kind with a metallic sheen) required more glue to hold a loop.

12. Voilà! You’ve got you’re basic tassel.

Now to make a longer tassel:

1. Fold a piece of tissue paper in half once, widthwise.

2. Fold it again, lengthwise.

3. Fold it lengthwise again.

4. Now, cut, unfold, twist, and glue, the same way you did with the shorter tassel.
But, wait, that’s not all! For the low low price of $19.95—just kidding here is how to make a thicker tassel.

5. Once you’ve cut your tissue paper, stack two (or three or four) uniform pieces of it on top of one another.

6. Roll, twist, and glue, just like you did before.

Here’s a comparison of the different kinds of tassels. Left to right: a triple-layered long tassel, a single-layered long tassel, a double-layered short tassel, and a single short tassel. I used five or six of each variety to fill my garland, so about 20-24 tassels to fill a two-yard garland.

Assembling the garland:

1. Tie a knot at the end of your cord, to prevent the tassels from falling off.

2. Slide the tassels onto the cord, about two inches apart. When you first slide them on, their loops will be too loose—they’ll be bigger than the cord, so they’ll want to slide around and not stay where you put them. To prevent this, tighten each tassel’s loop by twisting the part of the tassel right under it. Get your tassels hugging the cord as tightly as you can without actually twisting their poor little heads/loops off.

3. Once you’ve filled your cord, tie a knot at the other end.

4. Using tape or thumbtacks, hang the garland wherever your heart desires.

5. Never, ever, ever take it down. ♦