Previously, I published a beginner's guide on how to make a basic 8-strand Kumihimo braid (as part of my DIY art therapy journey). Today's post will be a little more advanced. I will demonstrate how you can make a beaded 8-strand Kumihimo braid, ie with S-Lon (SuperLon) beading cord and seed beads.
To Make a Kumihimo braid, you will need:
- Beading Cord
- Beading Cord Diameter & Type: #18 S-Lon Beading Cord
- Beading Cord Length: as a rule of thumb, each of the 8 warps (or lengths of beading cord) should measure roughly 3 times the length of the final product. (This measurement already allows for the extra length needed to knot the ends. NB Unlike the unbeaded version, the beaded kumihimo braid can not be stretched and elongated.). Example:
For the 6.5 inch Kumihimo bracelet pictured above, I needed:
6.5 inch Kumihimo braid * 3 = 19.5 inches per warp
- Seed Beads: If possible, get beads that are sold pre-strung on a string, ie rather than in a container as the ones I used, as pictured below. Strings of seed beads allow you to thread several inches within a second or less by pushing the needle along the length of the string.
- The required amount of seed beads is measured in terms of how much length of S Lon beading cord they occupy. The beads should be strung on each warp until half the length of the beaded part of the final product. This measurement has applied precisely for me.
- The size of the bead hole should be compatible with the width of the beading cord. For instance, both may be '0.6 mm'.
For a Kumihimo braid with a beaded section of 6.5 inches, I needed 3.25 inches of beads strung along each warp.
- A Big Eye Needle (optional)
- Beeswax (optional)
- A Kumihimo Disk (round)
- 8 Bobbins
- A pair of Scissors
- A calculator
- A weight. This may be something like a small bunch of keys or, as in my case, a bulldog clip onto which I could hook other things for additional weight if I need.
- Strong glue. Either E6000® Craft Adhesive (the preferred glue among artists) or contact cement
- Jewellery ends. Based on your string diameter, you'll also need 2 glue-on cord tip ends, 2 jump rings and a toggle clasps. You could complete braiding and even tying off the ends before taking a safe break during which to find the appropriate ends. Alternatively, if you are creative and proficient wire wrapping, you can make most or even all of these jewellery ends with a sufficiently stiff wire.
- Jewellery making pliers. Once you plan on using metal jewellry ends, this item applies, even if you do not make the jewellery ends. You will only need any 2 of the following: flat nose pliers; bent nose pliers or chain nose pliers. (These pliers will help you to open and close connections like jump rings.) On the other hand, if you are making the jewellery ends, will need additional pliers. Depending on the design, you are likely to need wire cutters with a rounded jaws and pointed tips (for cutting wire in small spaces and close to the wire); round nose pliers and; bale making pliers.
Instructions: How To Make a Kumihimo Braid with Sead Beads
- Cut the beading cord into 8 warps according to the length guidelines above.
- As pictured, knot all 8 warps together at one end.
All 8 warps are joined by a knot to all of their ends. See the knot in the bottom part of this image.
- Feed the tip of the knotted end through the hole in the center of the Kumihimo disk.
- Attach the weight to that knotted end.
- Thread the beads onto the loose dangling ends (See above how many beads you need). Since the size of my needle was too large to thread seed beads onto the S Lon cord, I had to use the tip of the S Lon cord like a needle to thread the beads. You have 2 further options, ie to prepare the tip of the S Lon beading cord by snipping it. If that does not make it easier to thread the seed beads, drag the beading cord over beeswax to hold the threads together tightly.
|This is how to thread beads onto a cord without a needle|
- After threading all the beads you need, knot the ends of each warp. This will be helpful to ensure you do not loose beads when the warps become shorter and their ends begin to slip out of the bobbins.
- Wrap the loose warp ends into the bobbins. You may choose to allow the beads to remain either inside or outside each bobbin.
- As pictured below, allow the unbeaded section of the 8 warps to lay on top of the Kumihimo disk and hang through the slots on either side of the 4 dots. For your guidance, position the Kumihimo disk so that its 4 dots at 32, 8, 16 and 24 are in the top, right, bottom and left positions respectively. BTW, regarding the color of beads per warp, you may need to experiment until you get this right.
As pictured here, I used 4 colors for this project, attaching beads of a single color to each pair of warps.
- Make the basic Kumihimo braid, ie without beads to make a braid of roughly 1/4 to 1/2 inch. This length will be used later for fitting end caps. To recap, the Kumihimo braiding technique is as follows.
- Starting from the bottom dot next to '16' on the disk, your weaving movements will be up LEFT warp with the LEFT hand and into the nearest slot that is to LEFT of the pair of warps in the top region of the Kumihimo disk. There should now be 3 warps in the top region, with the 3rd string being in the 31-32 slot.
- Next, starting from the top region, your weaving movements will be down RIGHT warp with the RIGHT hand and into the nearest slot that is to RIGHT of the pair of warps in the bottom region of the Kumihimo disk. There should now be 2 warps per region.
- Turn the Kumihimo disk counter clockwise (CCW) and stop when the next dot (at position '24') is in the new top region.
- Consistently continue this sequence of movements (without regard for the slot numbers). To recap, the movements are up left warp to the top left position, then down right warp to the bottom right position. As you proceed, maintain an equally taut tension for all 8 warps on the surface of the Kumihimo disk.
- If you must stop working before completing the Kumihimo braid, leave a 3rd warp in the top region. This will be an indication that your next move must involve the warp in the farthest right position of the Kumihimo disk. It needs to be brought down to the bottom right. Example: in the image below, there is a 3rd warp on farthest left in the top region. It has clearly been the last warp to be moved since it pulling up above the left region warps.
- The beading Kumihimo technique follows the same cord and disk movements as before. However, introduce beads as follows.
- When moving a warp, move only 1 of that warp's beads into the central hole of the disk. (See below) Tuck that bead underneath the warp at the nearest perpendicular position to the one you are currently moving before continuing as normal.
As your proceed, routinely measure the braid by placing the end of a measuring tape at the base of the hole from which the braid is made. When you have reached your desired length of beaded section (in my case 6.5 inches), create another unbeaded braid of roughly 1/4 to 1/2 inch (for gluing the braid to end clasps).
|The Kumihimo braid was 6.5 inches|
|The 2 ends were roughly 0.5 inches each.|
To prevent the Kumihimo braid from unravelling, you can do 1 of several things. For instance, you may tie each set of opposite warps or stitch through the unbeaded braid.
With the braid's ends secured, cut off the loose warp ends. Make the cut close to the braided section because each end must fit neatly into the glue-on cord ends. Furthermore, a close cut allows the warps of the unbeaded braid to bond better.
Place some glue into a cord end and insert an end into it. Allow your Kumihimo braid's ends to dry for at least 24 hours before handling.
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