Kumihimo Braiding & Kumihimo Braids with Beads

The literal translation of kumihimo means the “coming together (kumi) of threads (himo)”. In samurai times, Kumihimo was used extensively for wrapping sword handles for a better grip, and also to make armor for horses.

Kumihimo was introduced to the Western world in the 20th century. While you may have never heard of kumihimo, it is quite popular in the beading community. In fact, it is one of the most popular classes I have taught to students!

There are many different kumihimo braids, some more complex than others. I’ve made braids with as few as 8 cords, and as many at 16 cords, but some braids are made with many more. In the banner photo I’ve created a coiled bracelet of silk strands with the edo yatso kumihimo braid (basketweave), and finished the ends with peyote stitched endcaps. Browse the Kumihimo samples in my Portfolio to see just a few of the possibilities!

Examples of kumihimo braids in multiple colors with semi-precious stone pendants
Kumihimo laramie braid with african beads for focal point and fringe

Kumihimo Necklaces

There are so many different kumihimo braids, it’s impossible to show them all here. On the left is a basic 8-strand braid, and on the right is a Laramie braid, which is braided around a core.

Flat kumihimo braids in red and blue with multicolored bead and fringe
Square kumihimo braids in red and blue with multicolored bead and fringe

Traditional Kumihimo Necklaces

Traditional Kumihimo braiding is done with very fine silk strands. These braids are done with faux silk, with many fine strands bundled together to create one “cord.” The braid on the left is a flat braid, while the braid on the right is square.

Beautiful vase used as a backdrop for several spiral kumihimo bracelets in the basketweave pattern
Several wire kumihimo bracelets in various colors displayed on a tree branck

Kumihimo Bracelets

Kumihimo braided in the basketweave pattern with 16 silk strands worked around plastic tubing with beaded endcaps on the left, and thin wires bundled together to make the bracelets on the right.

Several multicolored kumihimo necklaces made with all strands of beads
Several multi-colored necklace made from strands of beads using the kumihimo technique

Kumihimo with beads

Yes, kumihimo can be done with beads! Either all beads (on the left), strands of beads (on the right), or a mixture of cord and cords with beads. The possibilities are endless!

I teach classes!

I teach classes to small groups or in a classroom setting. Contact me for more information!