Kumihimo Braided Bracelet

When I saw the complex beaded braids that can be braided using a Kumihimo loom, I instantly wanted to make one. Kumihimo is a traditional form of Japanese braiding that uses a notched loom in either a circle or a square to create a rope-like braid. The pattern of swapping strings and turning the loom is easy to do once you find a rhythm, and you can play around with how many beads you add to create different beaded designs. The possibilities are endless!

Project Yield 
6 bracelets

Step-by-Step Tutorial

Materials
Tools
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    Description 
    Gather your materials.
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    Cut four 46 inch strands of cord, and tie them together in the middle with a scrap piece so that you have eight ends to work with.
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    Place the tied cord at the center of the kumihimo loom, and pull the cords into the notches on either side of the N, S, E, and W markings. There should be two cords for each direction to form a plus sign. Then, holding your loom with the E facing forward, take the cord on the right of the E, and move it down to the notch on the right of the two W cords.
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    4
    Description 
    Then take the cord to the left of the W and bring it up to the notch on the left of the remaining E cord. Turn the loom clockwise so the next direction marker is facing forward and repeat steps three and four to build up the braid.
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    Continue turning and moving cords until your bracelet measures about 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Then slip a spring clasp over the end. The braid should be bulky enough to feel secure inside of the spring. At this point you can also cut the scrap string used to tie the cords together.
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    String 10 beads onto every other strand, and tie temporary knots to keep them there. Continue braiding as before, but this time pushing a bead down into the braid when you switch the strand from the top to bottom notch. Sometimes the top strand won’t have beads, so just braid those normally.
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    Description 
    Make sure that when you place the cord into the bottom notch, the bead sits underneath the horizontal cords. Continue adding beads in this pattern and you will begin to see a spiral form.
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    Description 
    Once you run out of beads, continue braiding the rest of the bracelet until it will fit around your wrist. Then take it off the loom and pull all eight ends through a spring clasp.
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    Once they are all through, tie a knot to secure them and clip off the excess cord.
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    Description 
    Play around with different beading patterns by putting beads on more than four strands or adding a bead every turn. There are lots of possibilities to explore!
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