I’m not exactly sure what happened… I had started working up a braid with the very last of my favorite purple sparkle fiber and I hoped that I had just enough to eke out one last bracelet. In fact, I felt pretty confident that things would work out pretty well. But somewhere along the line I tied off my braid and took it off of my disc even though I had more fiber to go.
The next day when I went after it to add on the end caps and some pretty beads I had gotten just for the occasion, I realized something was wrong. What’s going on here? Oh, heck. This sucker is way too short to be a bracelet! I tossed it in my Kumihimo box and forgot about it.
But then one day many days later I was able to look at the braid from a different persepctive. No longer irritated with myself for messing it up I realized that this was totally workable. Not only was it going to be okay, but it just might be better. I guess up to this point I’d been kind of a braid purist. You make the braid you put on the end caps and closure and you wear it. Sometimes you add beads, sometimes you don’t.
In the end, my too short Kumihimo braid wound up being a great thing because it helped me to move past that and into using my braids for more elaborate jewelry pieces.
For this project you’ll need a short Kumihimo braid with end caps already glued on. If you’re new to Kumihimo, here’s a great Kumihimo starter kit with everything you need, here’s a tutorial for the basic Kumihimo braid, here’s a tutorial for putting end caps on your Kumihimo (with links to good end caps to purchase).
For this project you will also need:
Before we begin, while my braid looks pretty darn short, I don’t need tons and tons of length for this to be the perfect bracelet length for me. Depending on your braid length and the type of beads you want to use there’s going to be a lot of variables that mean you’ll have to kind of “go with the flow”.
On my bracelet I only want to bead one side. If you’re new to beading this is a good way to go about this because beading can be frustrating at first. This way you get the one side done well and it’s time to move on!
Run the jewelry wire through the loop on your end cap. Double it over so that you have one end that is about 3-4 inches long and the other tail 1-2 inches long.
Take one of your crimp beads and run it down both wires toward the loop in your end cap.
Take your pliers and squeeze the crimp bead shut.
Next string on your beads. You may have to play with different sizes and arrangements to get the fit you like. Also take into consideration the amount of length your closure is going to take up. Feel free to place the bracelet around your wrist to see if you’re getting close.
Run the beads over both the tails of wire. When you’re happy with the arrangement, trim the shorter wire so that it will sit inside of one of the beads and not poke you. You’ll have to move the beads around to accomplish this.
String on another crimp bead and one side of your closure or a jump ring if you’re using a lobster clasp.
Loop the wire around to go through the crimp bead again.
Continue the cord through a few of your beads and begin tightening the whole thing up. Now if you ask me, this can be the frustrating part. You’ll need to pull and finagle and pull and twist to get it to sit correctly but keep at it. You’ll eventually get it and all will be right with the world!
Use your pliers to close up the crimp bead and then trim the excess wire as close to a bead as possible to keep from scratching yourself on it (they actually have cutters called flush cutters that are supposed to make this much easier).
On the other end, attach your closure to the end cap with a jump ring. Simply open the ring slightly, run it through the loop and then run the closure onto the jump ring. Close the ring taking care that the ends meet nice and flush.
And here is my bracelet on with my pretty beads showing…
I used a long hook clasp which is why I only beaded one side. The look is kind of asymmetrical but I love it.
Extra pluses? It fits me just the way I like. AND I got to use my braid with the purple fiber I love. AND I got out of my Kumi rut. AND everybody compliments me on it when I wear it!
Hopefully if you find that you made a too short Kumihimo braid accidentally, or if you want to try something new with your braids this tutorial will help you out. I’m also hoping that you can accomplish this with no prior beading experience. If you’re a jewelry newbie and having some issues, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Everyone will tell you how much fun and how simple beading is. After a few projects and a little bit of experience under your belt it’s a great time and it’s not hard at all. But that learning curve at the beginning can throw you for a loop. Just ignore everyone saying “oh, it isn’t that hard” and take a deep breath and work it until you get it!