8 Strand Kumihimo Patterns by Color Placement

August 23, 2013Allison Murray

 8 Strand Kumihimo Patterns by Color Placement

I’m really into braiding right now and that totally includes trying to work out a gazillion Kumihimo patterns… You see I’m the type of person that will eat pancakes every meal of every day for 5 day straight and then not want pancakes again for months. The same type of person who will glitter everything in her house over the course of a few days only to decide she’s over glitter on the last day.  My personality is an addictive one, just like everybody else in my family. When we get into something, we get into it. And when we’ve had our fill, it’s over with. Just ask the 3/4 of a case left of Haribo Gummy Peaches I bought because I couldn’t get enough of them.

Last year I was embroidering my heart out and this year I haven’t even busted out my embroidery hoop once that I can remember. This year it’s all about Kumihimo in a big, big way. Perhaps by this time next year I’ll have exhausted any bit of interest I have in this amazing braiding technique but for now I’m going to immerse myself in it.

One of the things I noticed was that I didn’t have a guide for what each of the braids I’d been knocking out looked like, and I’ve made some pretty awesome Kumihimo patterns. But what good is that when you can’t remember how to make them again? So I’m starting from square one and documenting where I place my cords and what the resulting braid is. Last night I knocked out a quick five and I’m sharing them here today!

If you’re interested in Kumihimo you’ll need a few things. Kits are a great way to get started and they cost around $20-25 – Beadsmith Kumihimo Kit. You can also buy things piecemeal but you’ll at least need to buy the Kumihimo Wheel which runs around $4-5.

When I first got started I used rattail for everything. Rattail is that shiny cord that looks so pretty on kumihimo braids. The bad thing is that I cannot buy it locally so I have to order it (which means paying for shipping which is such a pet peeve of mine for some crazy reason). So I buy it in bulk when I do which is anywhere from $25-40 per order. I’ve since learned that I can work out my Kumihimo patterns with cheap acrylic yarn, like Red Heart brand, and see what’s going to happen without each experiment costing a few dollars.

So get your wheel or your kit and a few colors or yarn and let’s get started, shall we? All of these Kumihimo patterns are for 8 strand braids using 2 colors. Mimic the cord colors and locations to get the braid you see to the right.

 8 Strand Kumihimo Patterns by Color Placement

 8 Strand Kumihimo Patterns by Color Placement

 8 Strand Kumihimo Patterns by Color Placement

 8 Strand Kumihimo Patterns by Color Placement

 8 Strand Kumihimo Patterns by Color Placement

The first fourth and fifth look a lot alike but they are definitely visually different when set side by side:

 8 Strand Kumihimo Patterns by Color Placement

I’ve been documenting my braids and cords so I’ll be able to share more soon! Have you gotten into Kumihimo yet? From what I understand, I’m hardly the only one well and truly addicted to it!

Comments (33)

  • wendy

    September 14, 2013 at 5:40 AM

    fantastic! I’m new to kumihimo and was thinking I needed to figure out the colour placement, now I don’t have to so thank you!

    1. Allison

      September 14, 2013 at 10:17 AM

      You’re so welcome – I’m working on posting a whole slew of patterns soon so you’ll have even more to go by :)

      1. wendy

        October 12, 2013 at 12:13 PM

        I’m pleased to hear that, thank you. I only just realised you reply to comments in the comments section!

      2. Mia

        April 6, 2017 at 2:09 PM

        thank you!!!

  • Susan

    September 21, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    I am learning Kumihimo myself right now. I love it and have made a few spiral bracelets and right now am working on a design I made up myself. I had to figure out how many beads of each color I needed to make a certain length. A Japanese lady I talked with at a bead show told me she goes by inches so 10 inches of beads would make a 20 inch necklace so I go with that figure but like you, I am keeping track of the beads I use for any project too. I am having a hard time finding books on the subject. I want to look through a book before purchasing so do not want to buy online. Sadly, not even Barnes and Noble had any in their craft section.

    1. Allison

      September 22, 2013 at 9:37 AM

      Books are darn near impossible to find. I bought one online and it doesn’t use a foam disc but the big wood station thing and I don’t have one of those. Needless to say that was $20 wasted… I’m keeping track of the lengths and amounts I use to try and give a good estimate for anyone. I feel sick when I waste a good 8 inches of expensive cord that could have been used on another braid so I have to assume others get just as upset as me!

  • Kelley

    September 21, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Thanks for the info, it is really appreciated!

    1. Allison

      September 22, 2013 at 9:39 AM

      No problem. Thanks for saying thanks :)

  • Kelly Karlin

    September 22, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    Thanks, I am trying kumihimo with wire and this will help when I try two colors. Blessings.

    1. Allison

      September 22, 2013 at 9:43 AM

      Very glad that the post is helpful! I’ve been braiding the weekend away so I’ll have another handful of patterns to share soon…

  • Carol Heister

    September 23, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    Hi Allison,

    I’m not new to kumi, but I, too, didn’t know how to get different looks; consequently my work has been somewhat boring. Thanks for the lesson – we all surely appreciate it.
    Have you tried kumi with 1-1.5mm leather??( and not expensive, either) Very cool. Love using beads, too, for a dressier look. As you know, kumi is VERY addictive!!

    Keep on beading,

    1. Allison

      September 23, 2013 at 10:23 AM

      Hey, Carol – I haven’t tried leather but I adore Kumi with beads! I’ve got some leather on order and guess how it will be used the second it is dropped in my mailbox. Thanks much for the tip!

  • JennyCup

    September 28, 2013 at 9:32 AM


    Thank you for your wonderful looks. I think I will try patterns 3 and 5 this weekend.

    I took a class locally and learned how to do kumihimo with pattern #2 above using beads. I have purchased some books on amazon and the one I found was most helpful was Kumihimo Wire Jewelry.

    It gives you *everything* you need to know about Kumihimo on the round foam disk, square foam disk and the traditional bobbin thing. It details several different patterns showing the placement on the disk, different finishing techniques, and gives many many step by step instructions of what you can make. The pictures are amazing! You can apply these principals with any medium you desire but the metal wire is a nice way to visually see it so you can learn to replicate it. Well worth the $13.

    1. Allison

      September 28, 2013 at 9:49 AM

      I’m so glad you like them! Thanks for the tip on the book, that cover is gorgeous and that has to be a great start, right?!

  • Judith W

    October 11, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    Help! This does NOT look like the starting point I learned through a class at a local art center (which uses seed beads on #1 TufCord). In these photos you have somehow already knotted up the cords in the center. How is that? Are you just making an initial knot?

    My starting cord pattern on a kumihimo disk has the cords running straight top-to-bottom, and east-to-west, just gathered at the center wired to a weight, but otherwise parallel. Help!! {{pinning anyway – for the future!}}

    1. Allison

      October 11, 2013 at 9:16 AM

      This is not a starting point. This is simply a reference guide for where to place your cords to achieve certain patterns. The intro to creating a simple 8 strand braid can be found by clicking here.

  • Shelley

    October 29, 2013 at 7:55 AM

    Your photos for the various patterns are just what I was looking for – thank you! I want to braid horse hair: how do I splice together the strands to make something longer? With my 28-32 inches horse tail hairs, I am limited to making only bracelets; I would like to make cowboy hat bands which need a 54 inch braided piece. Any help would be very much appreciated!

    Thanks, Shelley in Saskatchewan

    1. Allison

      October 29, 2013 at 3:16 PM

      Hey, Shelley – I’m so glad that I could help :) Unfortunately I don’t know anything about braiding with horse hair and a quick search online didn’t teach me much either. I’m so sorry! Have you tried looking into books at the library? I find that is a great source of information for crafts that are difficult to find online.

  • Laurie Normandeau

    October 31, 2013 at 8:01 AM

    I love your website! I too, have developed a bit of an addiction to kumihimo…and beading. Just getting started at it really, but have a very hard time putting my projects down. Great job, Allison. I’ll be looking forward to seeing more of your work online!

    1. Allison

      October 31, 2013 at 8:31 AM

      I’m so glad that you’re into Kumihimo AND that you like my blog. So glad to have you here :)

  • Karen

    November 23, 2013 at 7:15 AM

    I just discovered your site. I am new to kumihimo and the information you presented was SO helpful! I shall be following you to see as you develop new patterns. Thank you for sharing this. You rock!

  • Brenda

    January 3, 2014 at 6:31 AM

    Dose it matter which shape of kumihimo you use? I think mine is an octagon. thanks
    I am as of today a follower of your blog!

    1. Allison

      January 10, 2014 at 11:17 AM

      I think that the octagon shape should work very similarly to the round. In fact, I think that it is meant to work as both a round and a square shaped one so you should be good to go!

  • Janet

    January 3, 2014 at 7:29 PM

    I bought a wheel, and one card,8 yd of rattail. I didn’t think about doing something plain. And I too have to buy online so.After I read your article above, I thought……YEAH, my years of doing plastic canvas can really pay off. I can try the designs that you did for free…..sorta. Thank you… I know I am going to need help when I want to put that fat cord through those tiny seed beads……later…..

    1. Allison

      January 10, 2014 at 11:14 AM

      Absolutely! Yarn is a great, great practice material.

  • Teresa

    May 3, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    Hi! Thanks for the tips on making these things. I just started making them today. I like that they’re easy enough for my 4 and 6 yr old girls to make, and fun enough for me! I just want to say that although it’s probably nice to have a “real” disk, I just made my own out of cardboard for free and it works just the same. I’m not really into rushing out and buying something if I can do it for free instead. Also we’re using yarn ( I’m a knitter) because I have a ton of it already. My daughter is proudly flaunting a “choker” as I type this, anxiously waiting for my husband to get off of work so she can ask him if she looks beautiful ( even though I’ve assured her numerous times that she’s beautiful as always). Not bad for having just hear of this a couple of hours ago,lol.

  • Lyn

    August 6, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    Hello Alison,
    I just found your comments on Face Book. Thank you, some very interesting ideas. I have been making Kumihimo bracelets for some time, and have also invented some new ideas I could share with you if I only knew how to put them on the computer ! For instance, I use 1/8 inch ribbon from Michaels, 50c for 10 yards on a disc, so not expensive, and a good selection of colours. I don’t start with a knot of the ribbon, but fold the lengths in half and secure them with a wire. It is easy to remove the wire and soak the end in glue before inserting it into the bead end. I have also made a continuous length, starting with five yards of each colour, folded, and then when finished, place wire around the ribbon at about 5 inch spaces. That is two pieces of wire half an inch apart. Then coat between the wires with glue. Cut the lengths when the glue has dried and then insert into the cord ends. Sometimes I will string beads on elastic and attach them to the cord ends. This is sometimes more flexible in size than using a standard closure. I too was irritated by the lengths of material left at the end of a single bracelet, and found by making the long length, there is only one time of odd lengths !! I have also discovered how to make a Rainbow bracelet, with a six colour spiral, but a little complicated to explain here. I hope that you find some of my ideas useful !! Best wishes for your future weaving!!!.

  • Shella

    October 27, 2014 at 12:25 AM

    There’s this really cool website ( http://craftdesignonline.com/kumihimo/braids/ ) where you can plan out your colours ahead of time and see what they’ll look like. It’s been a great tool for me to figure out some great unique designs before I start! Also, you can use DMC embroidery floss (if you embroidered you probably have plenty lying around, but instead of separating the strands you just use the whole piece) instead of yarn. One skein of floss would usually make me about one solid-colour bracelet, and they’re pretty cheap!

  • Natashalh

    December 23, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    What a fantastic resource! Thank you. I just picked up a disk today and can’t wait to get braiding. Pinning so I don’t loose track of your visual pattern placement index!

  • Caroline Fisher

    January 28, 2015 at 11:14 AM

    Thank you so much! I was hunting all over for a guide to the color combinations to make what I wanted. Really helpful.

  • Joann

    June 10, 2016 at 12:14 AM

    You can buy the nylon thread on eBay pretty cheap by doing auction only and free shipping. I have gotten most of my colors for under 40 cents for 28 m.


    January 22, 2019 at 5:39 PM

    the designs are great but there are no instructions on movement . Yes I am a new inductee. I am hooked and need lots of help. Thank you.

    1. Allison Murray

      January 23, 2019 at 9:57 AM

      Hi, Lydia! I actually have a different post with movements for the basic 8-strand. Just place your colors in your disc like you see in this post here for the pattern you want, and then move them like you see here –> https://www.dreamalittlebigger.com/post/kumihimo-8-strand-cord-tutorial.html BEST OF LUCK! :)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Post Next Post