Starting Kumihimo Projects


Now this is going to be the first in a series of posts for my new technique section: Kumihimo. I will be taking you through some of the basics later on. But for now, I wanted to talk about starting Kumihimo projects, from the perspective of a beginner…that’s me! Yes, my experience is pretty limited, so I know I’m not the best qualified to answer all the questions you will probably have. Which is why I’m also planning to bring in some real experts later on. So, look out for interviews with some of the world’s leading Kumihimo designers.

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But for now, let’s get back to the beginning…

What do you need when starting Kumihimo projects?

Well, I guess the first things are tools and materials. Happily, you don’t need very much to get started. Of course, once you get to love this craft, you’ll probably want to expand. But I managed to get going on my first Kumihimo braid with just a round Kumihimo disk! And here’s a selection of my first braids…

Different Braid structures, Katie Dean, My World of Beads

I guess the second thing is your materials. For the braids above, I just grabbed some narrow ribbon from my craft stash. That was enough to let me get going and try out some of the different braids.

You might notice from the photo that you can get different looks. These are created according to the number of cords/ribbons you use and the pattern in which you braid them. Plus, the colour combination. You can braid with all your cords in a single colour, or you can mix colours to create patterns.

You can use all sorts of different materials. But, best of all, you can also use beads to created beaded ropes, like these…

How does the braiding work?

Now, you don’t have to make all this up (although there’s nothing to stop you from experimenting!). As a beginner, you’re best to try a tutorial first.

I found starting kumihimo projects was very easy.

Now, I could try and walk you through this, but as I said at the start, I’m just a beginner myself. So, I don’t feel qualified to be teaching others. Instead, I’m going to hand you over to a real expert… Pru Mcrae.

Pru is a lovely lady with whom I got to work when I was editing Bead and Jewellery Magazine. Then, we met again when we were both on shows on Jewellery Maker TV. She has done a huge amount in developing Kumihimo techniques. So, they have moved from ‘borrowing’ from the traditional Japanese techniques to more specialist techniques specifically suited to making jewellery and using beads. Pru has even invented her own disk!

So, if you’re wanting to see how to get started, this blog post gives you a ton of information. Plus, links to Pru’s YouTube videos for beginners. So, that gives you a first step in starting Kumihimo.

I’m going to give you a quick run-down of tools and materials in separate posts. Plus, look out for project ideas and a way of making beaded end caps to finish your ropes. Remember to keep checking the ‘Learn Kumihimo‘ section for all this and more!

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