Learn how to make a fabulous beaded kumihimo design using small black peacock potato shaped freshwater pearls and black Soft Flex .014/Fine beading wire. This beaded kumihimo braid looks complex and elegant, but works up quickly. After making this 8 strand beaded kumihimo braid, you can turn it into a necklace or bracelet!
This week, Sara Oehler and James Browning both shared kumihimo video tutorials, a couple were even filmed live from The Whole Bead Show this past weekend! You can find replays of Sara’s kumihimo designs using crystals, Soft Flex and SilverSilk on the Soft Flex Company Facebook Page and James’ kumihimo design using Soft Flex Craft Wire on the Soft Flex Company YouTube Channel.
Soft Flex Wire is a lead-free beading wire for designers. Our .014/Fine diameter is constructed of 21 micro woven stainless steel wires. It is supple enough that it can be knotted and comes in a variety of colors. .014/Fine diameter is ideal for soft materials, seed beads and freshwater pearls.
How to Make a Kumihimo Braid with Pearls and Soft Flex Wire
Round Kumihimo Disk
Soft Flex .014/Fine Beading Wire in Black
3mm Black Peacock Potato Shaped Freshwater Pearls
Soft Flex 3x3mm Sterling Silver Crimp Tubes
Soft Flex 2x2mm Sterling Silver Crimp Tubes
Soft Flex 3mm Sterling Silver Crimp Covers
Captial Cord Ends in Tin Plate
Lobster Claw Clasp
22 Gauge Soft Flex Craft Wire
SilverSilk Urban Capture Chain
Accent Beads (optional)
Large Focal Pendant (optional)
Regular Crimping Pliers
Mighty Crimping Pliers
Chain Nose Pliers
Round Nose Pliers
What is kumihimo?
Kumihimo is an ancient Japanese form of braiding. Translated, the word Kumihimo means, "gathering of threads". The traditional form of Kumihimo is done on wooden stands and the cords are weighted with bobbins.
Modern Kumihimo has moved to portable boards made from a foam base, rather than wood. The boards have notches that gently pinch the cords in place. All you need to do is follow a pattern and use the numbers (or letters) on the disk to braid your cord, beading wire or craft wire. You can add bobbins however, we suggest using our ten foot spools of Soft Flex Beading Wire or cutting strands and using bead stoppers.
Kumihimo disks are incredibly affordable. Purchasing two or more will allow you to leave a design on one if you wanted to try something new on another. There are tons of options for your designs. You can customize the cords or wire used, colors, beads and patterns. There are many varieties of braids that can be designed on the boards.
For this 8 warp kumihimo pattern, you will need to cut (8) 16" strands of beading wire and gather them into a bead stopper. Place the bead stopper through the center hole of the round kumihimo disk and place each strand on the left and right of the black dots as a starting point. Next, string (25) 3mm pearls onto each strand and hold the beads in place on the wire with mini bead stoppers. Follow the pattern in the video above to make your braid and continue until all the beads are used. Then, follow the pattern 4 more times without beads to complete it. This will give you about a 6" braided strand to either use in a bracelet or necklace design.
In the video, we create a focal for a necklace design. To finish the braid, crimp the 8 strands closed on either end of the braid with 3x3mm crimp tubes and the Mighty Crimper.
Trim 7 strands from on each crimp, leaving one strand left on each end. Add a cord end, an optional accent bead and then crimp a loop in the beading with wire 2x2mm crimp tubes and Regular Crimping Pliers. String on a large focal pendant if desired. Then repeat the with the cord end on the other side.
This is where the video ends. You can then customize the back of your necklace by attaching a chain or beaded strand to the back end of your focal piece.
I chose to add SilverSilk Capture Chain and a lobster claw clasp to finish off my design. SilverSilk has custom findings to go along with their knitted chain that you can use. However, I only had two in my bead stash and needed four for the design. I decided to create my own with 22 Gauge Soft Flex Craft Wire.
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Kristen Fagan is the Website Graphic Designer and a Jewelry Making Educator for Soft Flex® Company. She is the co-author of Seed Bead Revolution, an artist and creativity guide. She currently lives in Arizona with her husband, their two sons and two dogs. When she's not painting, drawing or beading, she enjoys reading, yoga, exploring the outdoors and traveling. Her favorite stones are Opal, Turquoise, and Quartz and she can't bead without Bead Stoppers. You can email her at Kristen@softflexcompany.com or visit her Website | Facebook | Instagram