Kumihimo Braiding: How To Use Your Kumihimo Disk!
Have you heard of Kumihimo braiding? In Japanese, the word ‘Kumihimo‘ means gathering threads. In jewellery-making, the art of kumihimo braiding can be combined with beads to create some truly stunning pieces of jewellery… which is exactly what Sarah Millsop does in her latest project! Check out her kumihimo tutorial below, and learn exactly how to use a kumihimo disk to create a gorgeous necklace.
This kumihimo braided necklace is a great place for any beginner to start. I’ve used a simple braid, but added beaded accessories for a statement finish!
The great thing about making your own braid, is that you get to make it from your chosen colours, create your bespoke design, and ensure it’s the perfect length to suit you and your outfit. You can braid with any cords, ribbons, wools and even incorporate beads into the braid itself.
To make your kumihimo necklace, follow this simple 8 strand braid; when you reach your desired length, finish buy gluing caps onto the ends and attaching your clasp. The beads are wrapped onto head pins, and added as a finishing touch.
You will need 4 times the finished length of your necklace to create your Kumihimo braid. So if you want a 16-inch necklace, you will need 64 inches per strand of your braid. We will need 8 of this length, for our braid. If you are unsure of your desired length, you can refer to our necklace 101-blog post, which should help you decide on measurements.
Begin by knotting all 8 strands together and placing in the centre hole of your Kumihimo board. You will need place each of the cords on either side of the North, South, East and West letters on the board, as shown.
Move the cord to the right of ‘N’ to the next available slot to the right of ‘S’. This is just a straight down motion from top to bottom of the board. All movements will be done in the way!
Now take the far left cord on your ‘S’ and move to the next available slot, far left of ‘N’. Again, just a straight movement bottom to top. You will need to do this with all your cords from here on in…
Now rotate your board anti-clockwise, so ‘E’ becomes your top letter.
Take the far right cord at ‘E’ and secure to the bottom.
Move the far left ‘W’ cord to the top.
Rotate the board anti-clockwise so ‘S’ is at the top.
Move your far right ‘S’ to the bottom.
And the far left bottom cord to the top.
Again rotate, and your final moves are with ‘W’ at the top. Far right top cord to the bottom…
Far left bottom cord to the top.
You have now completed one full rotation of your board! Your braid will begin to form in the centre of the board, and you may want to begin to pull on this as the braid develops to ensure you have a neat tension.
Tip: Pulling it or weighing the braid down as you work can lengthen it by tightening the tension, so keep checking the length as you work!
Continue by repeating steps 1-10 until you achieve the desired length of braid. It is neater and safer (otherwise your braid may unravel) to braid an extra couple of inches. You can glue the ends and, once dry, cut into the glued section for a neat end. Then add glue into an end cap, slide on, and leave to dry.
To add my wire wrapped beads, I used long head pins and added a jump ring to each pin. I used the same loops in the braid (all at one level) to thread the jump rings on at equal gaps. This will ensure the beads sit nicely when you wear it!
Add your bead onto the pin, hold the very tip (thinnest part) of your round nosed pliers at the top of the bead and bend the pin to 90 degrees above it.
Now hold the wire in your pliers, and bend the wire around them to form a loop. Hold this loop in your flat nosed pliers now (to keep and secure its shape) and use the remaining wire and your pliers to fill the gaps in between the loop and the bead. You will probably only manage 2-3 rotations. Keep the wire tight to avoid gaps and ‘sagging’. You may want to practise this a few times. Remember… practice makes perfect!
If you would like to see how I create a wrapped loop, you can watch this Facebook live demonstration and see the necklace worn!
There are so many ways you can personalise this necklace, and it really highlights the possibilities when it comes to making your own jewellery. Not only can you add the beads you like and have collections in your favourite colours… but now you will be making your own braids and necklace bases too!
Enjoy….and don’t forget to share your creations with us too! ❤
Lots of love,