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You are here: Crafts / Kumihimo / Kumihimo – Beaded 8 Strand Cord

Some time ago my sweet nephews gave me a present. It was a package of hot pink seed beads and some braiding cords from the children’s craft section. They sat in my stash for a long time because I didn’t really know what to do with them. And then Kumihimo happened in a big, big way. My name is Allison and I’m a Kumihimo addict.

Never before have I taken to a craft so strongly as I have this fun, Japanese braiding technique. The second I heard about the technique I was Googling it and purchasing a kit. This whole thing happened in like 20 minutes. Bam! Kumihimo, what? $25 kit? Buy it now. Why does mail take soooo long!?!

So pretty! Beaded Kumihimo tutorial.

And now here I am with a gazillion kumi braided bracelets in my jewelry box and I am so excited because I just keep learning more and more about it. For instance, you can take the normal 8 strand braid and add beads and it’s like a whole new thing. Bing, bang, boom. I’m not gonna talk any more – let’s just get on with it, shall we?

For this project you will need: 

So pretty! Beaded Kumihimo tutorial.

Take your cord and cut four lengths of approximately 40 inches. Match up the ends, find the center and tie a knot maintaining a loop.

So pretty! Beaded Kumihimo tutorial.

Take your braiding cords and add 3-4 inches worth of seed beads on each strand. They sell these nifty bobbins to help keep your beads on your strand and keep things from tangling up but I lost mine before I ever even used them. So in true hillbilly fashion, I used paper clips. It worked out pretty well but when things got tangled, many did they get tangled.

If you have trouble getting with your cord fraying as you try to add the beads, you can give each cord a quick dip in glue or Mod Podge, clean off the excess and allow to dry. The result will be a firmer cord that acts more like a needle for easier threading.

So pretty! Beaded Kumihimo tutorial.

Take your cords and situation in the normal 8 strand method. If using two colors and you want each to spiral around the other group in twos together and place across from each other. For example, my black beads are on numbers 1 & 16 and my white beads are on numbers 8 & 24.

If you’re going to be using a closure, you’ll start the braid without any beads. Just knock out an inch or so of regular Kumihimo braiding. (need assistance? learn the 8 strand braid method here).

So pretty! Beaded Kumihimo tutorial.

Now we’re going to start adding the beads one at a time. Every time we move a cord, first we’ll be transferring a bead into the cord as it is being worked up.

Here I’ve got a black bead all ready to go on the bottom left cord.

Take the bead and push up until it goes under the very first horizontal strand.

So pretty! Beaded Kumihimo tutorial.

This is how it will look under the first strand. Now push it is close to the braid as possible.

So pretty! Beaded Kumihimo tutorial.

Then bring the cord up to the upper left just as you would in the normal 8 strand braid.

So pretty! Beaded Kumihimo tutorial.

Take the top right cord and push a bead down under the first horizontal cord, as close to the braid as possible, then bring that cord down to the bottom right. Remember that we’re doing the 8 strand cord method exactly, just pushing a bead down the string before each movement.

So pretty! Beaded Kumihimo tutorial.

And here is our braid as it’s being worked up. The white and the black are swirling together because of the way we placed the cords at the beginning of the braid.

Work the braid until you have the length you need to comfortably wear as a bracelet.

Now, a thing to note here really quickly. I’m using cheapie beads from Wal-Mart and none of them are anywhere near being the same size. If you look you can see some are big and fat, some are short  and wide… we’ve got all sorts of variety happening here. Since I’m still newish to using beads I don’t mind practicing with my junky beads. Just know that when you use better quality beads that are consistent in size, the end result is going to be prettier!

So pretty! Beaded Kumihimo tutorial.

If using a button to use as a closure, tie a very tight knot at the end of the braid and trim half of the strands kind of closely to the knot. Use the remaining strands to go through the button holes and secure onto the braid.

So pretty! Beaded Kumihimo tutorial.

Trim the excess cord as needed. Pull the button through the loop to wear.

So pretty! Beaded Kumihimo tutorial.

If using a closure, after you’ve gotten your beaded length, braid for about an inch with no beads. Then follow the directions here for adding closures to your Kumihimo braids. I really, really love these glue in closures – you can buy them for about 75 cents a pair here.

So pretty! Beaded Kumihimo tutorial.

Here is our finished beaded 8 strand cord that uses two bead colors and a button closure.

So pretty! Beaded Kumihimo tutorial.

And here is our single color beaded 8 strand cord with pretty silver glue in closures.

So, what do you think? Are you going to try out this highly addicted Japanese art? I’d love to see some of your cords if you do!

So pretty! Beaded Kumihimo tutorial.

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  1. Just came across your site on Pinterest I just love your breakdown on kumi it’s helped me clear up so many issues that I needed help with I am a new comer to this craft but I am addicted to it all ready your blog is like a ray of sunshine with the breakdown explained so clearly ,I first came across this on the craft channel on tv .love your bracelets and demos keep up the good work ,I will be able to take this on the plane when Visiting family in England ,thanks agin x

  2. Donald Oliver says:

    Love kumi with beads .I want to use size 11 seed beads have tried size 6 with floss need to learn to put on end caps .I am not sorry i am addicted .thanks Donald kumi addict.

  3. Fishing sinker make great weight

    1. Yes they do! I’ve recently started using them after seeing them super cheap at Walmart. Good and cheap is always great by me :)

  4. Just started learning how to make my own jewelry a few days ago, say one of these and said I wanted to learn that. Was told it was a more advanced thing than I should start with.

    Well thanks to your information, I am wearing my first one. Granted it is inside out – but it still looks cool.


  5. Elena Evans says:

    I have been working with the round loom and get wonderful results when I change my warp strands in different directions and have come out with some unique designs. I love being a Kumi addict. Any and all patterns appreciated.
    Have a nice Kumi day.

  6. Allison, I stumbled upon your blog looking for Kumihimo patterns. You have cleared up the mm thing for me! I have been struggling with what size rattail/cord to buy and what size findings to finish it with. At a total stand still, bummer.
    I made one string out of crochet thread (very thin) but enjoyed the process. I want to make beaded bracelets and necklaces. Thank you for that info.
    For a weight I used 25 pennies. I believe I got that info from off a U-tube demo.
    Have fun braiding!

  7. wow, that was fun…and i was just READING about it! no really, your manner of presenting kumihimo makes it seem that maybe even I can do it…and, thanks to you, i am going to try!

  8. Cyndi James says:

    I too am addicted to Kumihimo! I love using S-lon with 6/0 and 8/0 seed beads, and c-lon with the smaller beads. Try Magatama beads! I love all your bracelets!

    1. That’s so funny, Cyndi – I actually just started a braid last night with c-lon and tiny seed beads. It was strange at first with the cords so thin but it’s a daintier, prettier braid. :)

  9. Priscilla says:

    can’t wait to try this one, I have two granddaughters in Va.

    1. I’m so glad. I hope your granddaughters love it (I know they will :)

  10. I have just started making kumihimo bracelets, and want to make my sister in law a beaded kumihimo bracelet for christmas. I cannot wait to get started! i made a purple and silver rattail bracelet with silver end caps, and i also made one from my horses tail hair as a keepsake. they both turned out beautifully. I am so glad i found this as a hobby!

    1. It’s so much fun, isn’t it?! And beads just add something so special and amazing! Have fun braiding up some gorgeous gifts :)

  11. Hi Allison, I have just come across your blog and it is really teaching me the very basics of Kumihimo which i love!! Thank you for sharing. The adding of beads was really complex for me!
    Best regards from Argentina!

    1. I’m so glad you love Kumihimo, too and very glad that the blog has been helpful to you :)

  12. Hi Allison,

    I’m a kumihimo addict too!! You are doing great!! Try seed beads with C-Lon cord, it’s great and try satin rattail if you haven’t yet. Fire Mountain Gems has a great selection! Have fun.

    1. I have been all over the c-lon and seed beads. I really should invest in some weights but I’m too cheap – it would make it much easier, I thanks!

    2. Hi Allison and everyone, I LOVE this site – so creative and fun. I am into the Kumihimo too and saw your comment about weights – I always try to do stuff on the cheap first so I took some large beads and strung them together, tied them up and used just the fastner from one of those ring drapes thing to make a weight – easy to remove and the beads are kind of artsy and pretty. Keep going with this site!!

    3. try using dollar store table weights. they have clips on them and work nicely! I have been teaching Kumihimo to RV’ers and it’s a big hit!

  13. Karen Johnson says:

    I was kind of in the “dumps” and I found your Mondrian knock off on Pinterest and connect to your blog and I have been here over 30 mins before I knew it! I love ALL your ideas and I have never followed a blog before but I think yours will be my first! I am retired and I see lots of things to do with and for my granddaughters (8,9 & 14 yrs). Now I am going to try and figure out how to join your blog! THANKS! You made a day a little brighter!

    1. That is one of the nicest things anyone has ever commented on here! I am so happy to have you as a new reader and hope that I don’t disappoint!

  14. Mary Wemhoff says:

    I am so addicted to kumihimo, Beadaholique is my source for quality end caps. More pics/tutorials PLEASE, Thanks! Mary

    1. Most definitely, Mary! Kumihimo is definitely addictive and I’m all about it, too!

  15. Allison Murray says:

    Thanks, Tita.