How to Get Started with Kumihimo
Kumihimo, a traditional Japanese art form, means “gathered threads.” It involves creating intricate braids using various threads, beads, and other materials. Originally employed for samurai armour laces and obijimes (sashes) in kimonos, Kumihimo has gained global popularity for its relaxing nature and the beautiful accessories it produces. By following a repetitive pattern and rotating the disc as you go, it is easy to create colourful plaited braids that can be worn as jewellery on their own, or embellished further with beads. Eager to start? Let’s jump into the world of Kumihimo!
Tools & Materials:
Kumihimo Disk: These foam disks are most popular for beginners. The slots hold threads in place and provide a convenient platform for braiding.
Threads: Silk, cotton, satin, or synthetic threads work well. Start with a material that feels comfortable and progresses from there.
Beads: Optional but adding them will give a sparkly twist to your braids.
Scissors, Tape, & Clasps: For finishing off your creation.
Basic Techniques to Know:
Setting up the Disk:
- Cut equal lengths of thread. For starters, use eight strands (two of each colour if you're using four colours).
- Gather all threads, tying a simple overhand knot at one end.
- Slip the knot through the centre hole of the disk.
- Set each thread into a slot on the disk, placing opposing threads directly across from each other.
The Braiding Process:
- Hold the disk so the numbers are upright.
- Take the thread to the left of the top pair and move it down to the slot directly to the left of the bottom pair.
- Now, take the thread to the right of the bottom pair and move it up to the slot directly to the right of the top pair.
- Rotate the disk a quarter turn and repeat.
- Continue this process until you've achieved your desired length.
Pre-string Your Threads: Before you start braiding, thread your beads onto your chosen strands.
Introduce Beads into the Braid: As you transfer each thread, slide one bead down so it sits snugly against the previous round of braiding. The bead will naturally tuck itself inside the braid.
Once you’ve achieved the desired length:
- Remove the threads from the slots and tie a knot at the end of the braid.
- Trim any excess thread.
- Attach clasps or end caps to both ends. You can use jewelry glue for added security.
Tips for Beginners:
Tension Matters: Keeping an even tension ensures a consistent and smooth braid. Too tight, and it becomes stiff; too loose, and it lacks structure.
Practice: Start with basic braids before introducing beads or using more threads.
Mix and Match: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different textures, thread types, and bead sizes.
Kumihimo, with its rich history and beautiful results, is an engaging and rewarding craft. While it might seem intricate at first glance, a little practice will have you producing stunning braids in no time. So, grab your threads and get braiding – a world of creativity awaits!
We hope you hvae enjoyed this blog and are now on your way to start your Kumihimo journey!
Until next time jewellery makers,