My jewelry-making adventure began in the 80s with beadwork. It started with selling safety pin bracelets to my classmates when I was eight years old. My first craft-show experience, when I was an awkward middle-schooler, was making daisy chain bracelets and necklaces with seed beads in a rainbow of colors. Because my love of jewelry making started with beads, it is an art that will always hold a special place in my heart. Today I have a guest post to share with you the beautiful art of Kumihimo bead designs.
The Kumihimo braided bead is an ancient style that originates from Japan and incorporates a variety of colors and designs into one piece of jewelry. A round disc is used as a guide for weaving various strands into a magnificent piece. Though Kumihimo braid techniques may appear to be difficult, they are actually pretty simple once you’ve tried a tutorial or two that give a clear example of organizing and twisting your strands.
Beginner Kumihimo tutorials are typically around 18 to 20 minutes in length due to some helpful repetition. Once you get the hang of it and explore others, they may reduce their time to around 9-10 minutes. Working with gemstone beads has never been so much fun. Here are fifteen sensational Kumihimo bead designs you can try for yourself now!
Please note, for your convenience, this post contains affiliate links.
Support your favorite team with this simple eight-warp design. Choose a smaller variation in beads of your favorite team’s two primary colors. You will also need chord, a clasp, scissors, plastic bobbins, and your round Kumihimo braiding disc. For this design, you will have four strands with one color and four strands with the secondary color. Once the braiding begins, you should see two strands of each color divided out onto the disc in four different directions. This allows for organization while you continuously twist the two colors together into a fun bracelet that represents your alma mater or favorite team!
Make it Fancy
Using longer beads for a fancier design. You can use this tutorial for creating a lovely long-beaded bracelet. This is the same simple eight-warp design as before but with tips for using a different type of bead. The longer beads create a more exotic design than the smaller, round beads. You need the same tools but, this time, you can add a third color into the mix. The result is a thicker “scale”-like looking piece of stunning jewelry.
Elegant multi-sized beaded design
Pull out your larger, round white beads, as well as some tiny, silver round beads to create this stunning look. In this tutorial, you will not be dividing out your gemstone bead by color and size onto the round organization disc. Instead, once your braid is established, you will place beads onto all eight strands in big to small sequences. Place one large bead, then two or three small beads, and continue the pattern. After the braid, this bracelet or necklace turns out gorgeous.
Fully beaded flat Kumihimo bracelet
This design is great if you only want to work with one color and if you enjoy wearing the flat-designed bracelet for a more comfortable fit. It will work with multiple colors and various sizes of beads. You will need a square organization disc and good substantial cord or string that can keep the integrity of the braid throughout the process. If you have a smaller bead with a larger hole, they will work great since you may need to choose a thicker cord.
Reflection of city lights
This project is so simple because it only involves choosing one small gold or silver batch of beads. Use a darker cord mixture to create the essence of the city at nighttime right onto your wrist. You are using your round organization disc and using the basic Kumihimo braiding style while weaving in your bead throughout. This bracelet is meant to be very thin so it can wrap around the wrist several times.
The Boho look with Kumihimo
Mixing some of your smaller gemstone beads together to create a boho look is a great idea for the young traveler in your life. Use the same basic braiding method, but incorporate different shapes and use a mixture of browns, greens, and maybe some clear beads. Rather than using a clasp, use a loop and unique button as your connector piece.
Hollow wirework design
This bracelet has wires woven for the outer layer and beads lining the inside. Rather than a cord, you will need a shapeable wire that is about 0.8mm and your round organization disc. The beads that will fit inside of the hollow weave are 6mm rounds that can already be placed on a string or fishing line. Also needed is a stick with a hook on one end that will serve as a mold for your wire braid.
Charm Kumihimo bracelets
You are never limited to only bracelets, though most tutorials are geared for this specific piece of jewelry. Charm bracelets could also be charm necklaces or key chains. This Kumihimo design focuses on a removable or smaller clasp that allows for larger beads to be inserted or removed at any time. You will use your usual Kumihimo braid, with or without the tiny beads. This is used as your primary bracelet for large-holed beads to be added.
Button and Bead Braid
This version of the Kumihimo braid requires a lot of trial and error in the creation phase. It requires an organization disc in the shape of an octagon. Buttons of all shapes and sizes can be used for this version of the braid. They can be paired with a complementary smaller bead to make a fun bracelet! One of the main factors to consider when making this type of braid is the way you will thread the buttons that you choose since they have multiple holes to work with.
The Mushroom Weave
The tutorial for this weave suggests using an octagon shaped organization disc for this project. You will be using large mushroom beads as the focal point of this design, along with very tiny beads in contrast. The weave of the cord is very visible in this design and requires very few beads to accomplish it.
Large Beaded Necklace
For this necklace, you are using the Kumihimo braid-in for the back neckline. This allows for a sleek look and comfort. It also keeps your large focal point beads at the front so you aren’t wasting them in the design. You can also include a nice pendant in the center of your necklace.
Letter Beads Spell Out Fun
Cubed beads can be used if you want your letters to stand out from the braid and flatter beads will sit into the piece if you’re making jewelry rather than a keychain or ornament. The primary focus of this project is keeping letters in order, symmetrical, and in a position where they can be read.
Bead Cluster Jewelry
Kumihimo is the perfect technique for creating small bead clusters throughout a piece of jewelry. The cord can remain as a plain spiral braid or you can add the smaller gemstone beads in between each cluster. You are using a round organization disc and simply add your clusters into the braid every few centimeters with the focus being on evenly spacing the clusters and creating same-size clusters.
Leopard Print Beaded Bracelet
These are lots of fun in any color. If you want to stay true to leopard colors, choose gold, brown, yellow, and black beads. The snow leopard bracelet is simply beautiful and is a mixture of white, black, gray, and silver beads. The key to this design is keeping it randomized yet organized enough to pull off the leopard pattern.
The Zig Zag Braid
This braid pattern is unlike any others and is primarily made of whatever cord colors you choose. At the tip of each zag, include a corresponding bead color of a small or large variety. You will be using a square organization disc for this project. This unique design is perfect for a bracelet or a choker style necklace.
About the author: Jordan Smith loves glue guns, beads, and spending time with her family. She is a stay at home mom and crafting a great creative outlet. Blogging about her crafts is a relatively new venture for her but one she is really enjoying!!! Some of her work can be found on TheBeadTraders.com.
Get your dose of creative inspiration
Receive email updates & tips about creative living and fun DIY tutorials sent right to your inbox! You'll also get FREE instant access to a chapter of my book, The Busy Mom's Guide to Creativity!