Colorful Kumihimo: Beautiful Braids & Woven Wonders
Kumihimo is a versatile technique to add to your bead weaving toolbox. It can be adjusted to suit any style of beaded jewelry. You can make beaded kumihimo braids or weave them without beads–both ways add dimension and interest to your designs. You can bring color into your braids with colorful cords, beads, or both.
Even though kumi looks complex, it’s actually really easy to get started. Read Kumihimo 101: 5 Easy Steps for Braiding Beads, and More Kumihimo Tips by Lavon Peters for where to begin. Most foam disks also come with instructions, so grab some 2mm leather cord and start braiding! Then, check out the colorful kumi patterns in this post and take your skills to the next level.
If you’re already smitten with this technique, read Fun Facts About the Origins of Kumihimo to learn more about the history of the art of braiding. For example, did you know that multiple strand braids used to require several people to work together? Now, you can vary the size or style of your kumi disk if you want to create a different base for expanding your skills, then look at switching your materials or braiding pattern to freshen-up your jewelry making techniques.
One of my favorite things about kumihimo is that it’s easy to do on the go. I was once using a kumi foam disk with leather cord to make a basic braid while on a plane. My neighbor was very intrigued and, lucky for her, I happened to have an extra foam disk and supplies. We spent the flight working on our braids. She arrived at her destination with a beautiful new bracelet and a fun new skill!
Kumi Frond Necklace
Svetlana Chernitsky’s Kumi Frond Necklace is an intermediate necklace that combines the beauty of beaded ropes with the design of netted necklaces. You’ll use seed beads and crystals with kumihimo and wirework to braid a colorful, sparkly showpiece with lovely beaded accents. Adding beads and embellishments isn’t hard once you get the hang of it, but it takes some patience to work it out. Completing this necklace is a gorgeous reward!
Trust in Your Path Bracelet
This colorful Trust in Your Path bracelet by Kristen Fagan uses colorful beading wire and SuperDuos. It’s a little bit rare to see projects that use a square kumi disk, so this is a great way to expand your skills—and it’s perfect for beginners. For tips on square kumi, read Toolbox Essentials: Must-Have Tools for Kumihimo Wirework.
Captured Kumihimo Earrings
Sonia Davis’s Captured Kumihimo Earrings start with strategically braiding SuperDuos alongside seed beads. Then, finish them with circular peyote stitch to capture the pretty crystals that shine within. Notice how the finishing touch of circular peyote stitch really captures the crystals. Use seed beads, long magatamas, and daisy spacers to create these ornamental graduated kumi earrings. You also have the option to create larger earrings by adding two beads to each section of A and B, but keeping the same number of spacers as the original pattern. The structure of these earrings is so intricate and interesting – you could also make multiples to use as pendants.
Mama Got Rocks
The Mama Got Rocks necklace by Maggie Thompson is inspired by the colorful jasper fans she discovered. In this intermediate pattern, Maggie shares how to weave the stone beads into the kumi braid. You can use the same technique to attach other types of pendant-shaped elements to your own kumi designs. This necklace includes crystals for extra sparkle and shine. Maggie is so into kumihimo that she invented the The Traveller, a wooden kumi stand that makes it easy to weave on the go. Check out Kumihimo 3 Ways to create a lariat-style necklace using larimar stone chip beads.
Kumihimo with Beads Online Workshop
In Kumihimo with Beads Online Workshop with Jill Wiseman, you’ll get to learn basic kumihimo techniques, tips, and tricks to make beautiful beaded jewelry. Jill Wiseman will show you how to add a variety of beads to your kumihimo braid such as seed beads, drop beads, and more. You’ll also learn how to estimate cord length and bead amounts for projects all while using different braids made from silk, leather, ribbon and other types of cord. Jill is an engaging instructor and a kumi pro!
Kumihimo Made Easy: 10 Beautiful Projects to Braid eBook
In this eBook by Maggie Thompson, explore the design possibilities with projects using spikes, ovals, and teardrop shaped beads, make stand-out braided jewelry. Get started with handy instructions so you can become a kumi braiding pro. Maggie is a kumihimo pro braider and instructor. She’ll lead you through how to find what fits your style so you can easily alter the projects to be the color and size you want with a little artistic imagination.
Make Beautiful Braids
Kumihimo is wonderfully versatile – whether you use it with leather cord to make basic, fast braids, or work with beaded threads for more intricate designs, learning how to do kumihimo adds a whole new element to your beading repertoire. It can be colorful or textural, neutral or eye-catching. Leave it plain, add embellishments, use your beading stash and creativity to make it your own.
Interim Managing Editor of Beadwork