Bead Cluster Kumihimo Braided Necklace with Soft Flex Beading Wire
Learn how to make a fabulous beaded kumihimo design using seed beads, cathedral beads and Soft Flex .019/Medium beading wire. This beaded kumihimo braid looks complex, but works up quickly. In this video, Kristen shares how to kumihimo on a round disk with an 8-wrap pattern. You will need (8) 36" strands of Soft Flex beading wire, (720) size 11 seed beads and (24) size 4-5mm beads (I am using Czech glass cathedral cut beads). The cathedral beads will form a bead cluster focal point in the center with seed beads going up both sides. After making this 8 strand beaded kumihimo braid, you can turn it into a necklace!
Bead Stoppers (1 Regular, 8 Mini)
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) 36" 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 (45) size 11 seed beads, (3) cathedral beads, (45) size 11 seed beads onto each strand and hold the beads in place on the wire with mini bead stoppers. Coil each strand into a bobbin for safe keeping.
Follow the pattern in the video above to make your braid (2 rounds without beads) and continue until all the beads are used. Then, follow the pattern 2 more times without beads to complete it. This will give you about a 18" braided strand to use in 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 cone and then crimp a loop in the beading with wire 2x2mm crimp tubes and Magical Crimping Pliers.
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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 [email protected] or visit her Website | Facebook | Instagram