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Eight-strand braided bracelet

Work kumihimo technique into eight strands of braided beads

Bring one strand down, one strand up, and turn – that’s all there is to this Japanese braiding technique. Kumihimo is a beautiful way to showcase special fibers, and seed beads and fire-polished glass add sparkle and color.

Materials

Bracelet 8 in. (20 cm)

  • 68-72 4 mm fire-polished beads
  • 6-8 g 8/0 seed beads, color A
  • 3-4 g 8/0 seed beads, color B
  • Clasp
  • 2 10 x 11 mm bead caps or cones
  • 6 in. (15 cm) 22-gauge wire
  • scrap wire
  • S-Lon beading cord
  • Big Eye or twisted-wire beading needle (optional)
  • 8 bobbins or cardboard
  • glue, such as G-S Hypo Cement or One Stik adhesive
  • kumihimo disk with weight
  • chainnose pliers
  • roundnose pliers
  • wire cutters
Eight strand braided bracelet Photo a
Photo A
Eight strand braided bracelet Photo b
Photo B

Instructions

[1] On 1 yd. (.9 m) of S-Lon cord, string 68-70 4 mm fire-polished beads. Center the beads on the cord, and wind each end around a bobbin or piece of cardboard, leaving about 20 in. (51 cm) in the center.

[2] Repeat step 1 three times to make three more strands, but instead of 4 mms, string 8 in. (20 cm) of color A 8/0 seed beads on each of two strands, and 8 in. (20 cm) of color B 8/0 seed beads on the third.

[3] Pick up the strand of 4 mms, and push half of the beads toward each end, leaving the center open. Center the strand over the kumihimo disk, positioning one end in the slot to the right of the top dot and the other end in the slot to the left of the bottom dot. Repeat with the strand of B 8/0s, but position the strand so it fits in the slots to the left of the top dot, and the right of the bottom dot (Photo A).

[4] Turn the disk 1/4 turn left or right, and repeat step 3 with the two remaining strands. Cut a 3-in. (7.6 cm) piece of 22-gauge wire or scrap wire, and bend it into a U shape. Position it over the crossing strands, and attach the weight to the wire (Photo B).

Eight strand braided bracelet Photo c
Photo C
Eight strand braided bracelet Photo d
Photo D

[5] Turn the disk 1/4 turn. Bring the top right strand straight down to fit in the slot next to the bottom right strand (Photo C). Bring the bottom left strand straight up to fit in the slot to the left of the top strand (Photo D).

[6] Repeat step 5 four times.

Eight strand braided bracelet Photo e
Photo E
Eight strand braided bracelet Photo f
Photo F

[7] Turn the disk 1/4 turn. Pick up the top right strand, and slide a bead down to fit under the cord crossing over it. Pull the top right strand straight down to the slot next to the bottom right strand (Photo E). Pick up the bottom left strand, slide a bead up to sit under the cord crossing over it, and pull the bottom left strand up to the slot to the left of the top strand (Photo F).

Eight strand braided bracelet Photo g
Photo G
Eight strand braided bracelet Photo h
Photo H

[8] Repeat step 7 (Photo G) until the bracelet is 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm) short of the desired length.

[9] Braid three rounds without beads, as in steps 3 and 4. Cut a 3-in. (7.6 cm) piece of 22-gauge wire, position it across the top of the strands, and braid two rounds over the wire (Photo H). Tie opposite pairs of strands (top and bottom and left and right) together with square knots, and lightly cover the knots and part of the unbeaded braid with glue. Let dry. 

[10] On the other end of the braid, replace the scrap wire with a 3-in. (7.6 cm) piece of 22-gauge wire, if necessary. Lightly coat the end with glue, and let dry.

Eight strand braided bracelet Photo i
Photo i
Eight strand braided bracelet Photo j
Photo J

[11] Working with one end of the bracelet at a time, bend the end of the wire to make a tight hook or coil around the end of the braid, and bend the other end away from the bracelet (Photo I).

[12] Slide a bead cap or cone over the wire and the end of the braid, and make the first half of a wrapped loop. Attach half of the clasp, and complete the wraps (Photo J).

[13] Repeat steps 11 and 12 to finish the other end of the bracelet.

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