3 Things To Know When You Kumihimo

My son loves to help me string beads for beaded kumihimo projects! Get ’em started young!

Addicted to kumihimo? Me? Well, I guess admitting that I have a problem would be the first step. Yes, since I learned how to do beaded kumihimo at Bead Fest Philadelphia a few years ago, my bead orders suddenly started including every color of size 6 seed beads that I could get my hands on, masses of Czech fire polished beads, and even hanks of tiny Chinese crystals to string and braid. I even got my son in on the action — he loves to practice counting by helping me string my beads onto my braiding cord.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with this ancient Japanese braiding technique using all kinds of beads and stringing materials. If you’ve mastered the basic beaded kumihimo braid, it’s time to think about branching out and trying something new with your beaded kumihimo!

Mix up your braiding material. You don’t have to use just cord or satin rat tail for every kumihimo braid. When I learned how to do beaded kumihimo from Jill Wiseman a few years ago, she taught us how to do kumihimo using 2mm leather cord, too! I’ve also seen kumihimo braiding being done with materials like bead stringing wire, hand-dyed silk, and even fine-gauge craft wire. Just take note that if you use materials like these, you’ll most likely need to replace your foam disc frequently. These kinds of materials, while they produce gorgeous kumihimo braids, will enlarge the slots on your foam kumihimo disc so that eventually it will be impossible to keep the correct tension in your braids.

 

The Ergonomic Kumi Handle by BeadSmith: what a great idea!

Keep your hands comfortable.

Can’t hold your foam kumihimo disc comfortably? BeadSmith has released a great new tool for kumhimo, the Ergonomic Kumi Handle. Designed to help those who suffer from arthritis, this easy-to-grip handle will let you braid in comfort for longer periods of time. Your beaded kumihimo cord will drop straight through the hollow center so that you can maintain your tension as you braid. What a great idea! While the tool won’t let you work with a large focal bead on your braid, it’s still a great tool for creating simple beaded kumihimo braids without causing pain in your hands, wrists, and fingers.

Think outside of the braid. Sure, I’ve made nearly a hundred beaded kumihimo braids in the last couple of years (which I realize is probably not a terribly high number compared to some of you real kumihimo addicts!), but there are so many more ways to use them than just as necklaces or bracelets. How about earrings? Or maybe working flat braids using the square kumihimo disc to be sewn on as embellishments for your favorite jeans, t-shirts, or jackets?

Get a whole collection of beaded kumihimo inspiration when you get your Kumihimo Ultimate Collection, including a kumihimo earrings bead kit! In addition to getting instructions for 13 additional beaded kumihimo projects, you’ll get all the beads you need to make these fun beaded kumihimo earrings in either gold or blue. (Kit contains beads and findings only — you supply the cord and your favorite foam kumihimo disc for braiding.) There are a limited number of these collections available, so make sure you get yours before they’re all gone!

What’s your favorite technique to do with kumihimo? Have you tried using leather cord or wire? Do you like to use shaped beads or crystals in your beaded kumihimo braids? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your kumihimo tips and techniques with us!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

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