What is Kumihimo?

The ancient Japanese art of Kumihimo weaves fiber braids, with or without beads. Learn more about what is Kumihimo.

Kumihimo means the gathering of threads in Japanese. Artists interlace cords, threads and ribbons on either a portable handheld loom or disc, or on a traditional Marudai to create different patterns. You can even weave with wire!

How do artists and crafters weave Kumihimo braids?

The traditional Marudai is a wooden stand with a hole in the middle. Since it stands on its own, both of the artist’s hands are free to create the braid, but there are no markings to follow. Therefore, it takes some practice to make consistent braids with the Marudai, as there aren’t numbered slots that tell you where you need to place the next thread. But experienced artists can braid very quickly on the Marudai.

In today’s world, the craft is much easier for beginners with a portable handheld loom or disc that makes it easy to make a huge variety of braids. Because you move threads to different numbers and positions on the disc to create the braids, the patterns are easy to follow. The disc has 32 numbered slots and 4 dots that indicate North, South, East and West positions. The positions help you keep the loom oriented correctly for a consistent braid pattern.

The most common braiding patterns weave 8 strands. If you fall in love with the art and want to try something more advanced, there are patterns for 16 strand braids.

Different patterns and threads result in a variety of flat or rounded braids. So you can add or remove threads and arrange the colors in different sequences to make each braid unique! We’ve put together some basic instructions on how to do Kumihimo.

What types of materials do artists use to create Kumihimo braids?

Different threads, cords and ribbons, combined with different weaving patterns, make each braid unique. Braids even look amazing using yarn made from old saris. Use bold cords for thick braids or fine threads for delicate ones.

Adding beads to the threads before braiding makes unique bracelets and necklaces. We’ve got a post that shows you just how to add beads to your Kumihimo project to make a unique bracelet or necklace. Because of their unique shape, if you add Unicorne drop beads, your project will have awesome texture.

Where can I buy Kumihimo supplies?

Visit your local bead or craft store or shop online for everything you need to get started! Some retailers even have kits that make it easy to get started.

Check out all of our Kumihimo projects and posts!

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