Hey everyone, after posting a tutorial for a basic kumihimo braid earlier this week I thought I would talk a bit more about kumihimo as I don’t think it is that well known (even though it is amazing!). Kumihimo is a Japanese technique and the name means ‘gathered threads’ (thanks wikipedia!).

If you want to see tutorials for any of these then please let me know in the comments. You can also send me photos of anything you make and I will feature them in a post with a link to your blog! You should definitely give this technique a go!

Equipment

All the equipment you need is a kumihimo disk and the threads you want to make your braid with. You can by foam disks like the one below from jewellery making or craft shops or you can DIY one from some stiff card. The braid works up through the centre of the disk and the cords are held in place in the notches around the edge. To be honest I tend to ignore the numbers… it makes it look a lot more complicated than it actually is! The pattern on the braid depends on the starting position of the different coloured cords on the disk. The one below creates a striped pattern.

kumihimo keyring diy tutorial 1

You can use any type of cord or threading material you want for kumihimo. Here are some ideas:

  • Satin cord (great for beginners as it is easy to undo!)
  • Hemp cord, s-lon cord, any type of jewellery making cord you like really,
  • Embroidery thread (also great for beginners)
  • Wool
  • Stripes of fabric
  • Wire
  • Ribbon

Basic Braid

I show you how to create this type of braid here. In that tutorial 8 cords are used which is the minimum number you need. However, you can increase the number of cords to get different patterns and sizes but it always has to be a multiple of 4!

Spiral Braid

This is one of my favourites to do. The set up and technique is slightly more complicated but produces a nice 3D spiral effect. There are probably way better pictures out there than these sorry but I like to show off my own creations!

Beaded Kumihimo

The last one of the main types of kumihimo is beaded kumihimo. This uses the basic braid (I have used 8 cords in the one below) and you thread beads onto the cords as you braid with them. It is quite time consuming but you get an amazing braid afterwards. Here I have used gemstones on every braid but you can experiment with doing just one cord or only using beads on a section of your piece.

IMG_1537

There are loads of different techniques that I have yet to have a go at but there are also patterns which produce flat braids, square braids and half round braids… and probably loads I don’t even know about (yet!).

Useful Links

Finally a few links to some websites which I have found useful…

  • Prumihimo – great photos and some really useful tutorials on youtube
  • Jewellery Maker – easy to follow tutorials for basic skills and also sells the disks and various cords
  • All free jewelry making – loads of free patterns, projects and tutorials.

And for some more kumihimo inspiration check out my Pinterest board:

 

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