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Soft twist kumihimo charm bracelet

Put a new twist on an old technique by using flexible beading wire in this kumihimo braid bracelet.

Put a new twist on an old technique by using flexible beading wire in this kumihimo braid bracelet. To finish off this fast, fun project, make your own bead caps and add your favorite charms.

Supplies

Bracelet 8 in. (20.3 cm)

  • Flexible beading wire: 0.014, 21 or more inner strands, 100-ft. (31 m) spool
  • Wire, half-hard: 
  • 18-gauge (1.02 mm), round, 24 in. (61 cm)
  • 20-gauge (0.81 mm), round, 12 in. (30.5 cm); or 6 20-gauge (0.81 mm), 4 mm jump rings
  • 6 charms
  • Clasp with 2 jump rings
tools & supplies
  • Wirework toolbox, p. 8
  • Painter’s tape
  • Hamanaka kumihimo disk with 16 plastic bobbins
  • E-6000 adhesive or Euro Tools Super New Glue
  • Toothpick or scrap wire
 Instructions
Soft twist kumihimo charm bracelet 1
Step 1a
Soft twist kumihimo charm bracelet 2
Step 1b

Braid

1. Cut three 22-in. (55.9 cm) pieces of beading wire. Align the wire ends, press them onto a 1⁄2-in. (13 mm) piece of painter’s tape, and press the painter’s tape into a plastic bobbin (1a). Without twisting the wires, wrap them around the bobbin (1b) until about 7 in. (17.8 cm) remain.

Soft twist kumihimo charm bracelet 3
Step 1c
Snap the bobbin closed. Repeat to make a total of 16 bobbins with three wires each. Snap eight bobbins together to make a stack (1c). Repeat with the other eight bobbins.
 
Soft twist kumihimo charm bracelet 4
Step 2
2. Cut a 2-in. (51 mm) piece of painter’s tape, and set it sticky-side up on your work surface. Align all the wire ends and place them on the tape. Use a toothpick or scrap wire to spread adhesive onto and between all the wires. Carefully fold the tape around the wire bundle, keeping it neat. Set the bundle aside to dry.
Soft twist kumihimo charm bracelet 5
3. When the glue has dried, guide the wire bundle down through the hole in a kumihimo disk, and hold the disk with your nondominant hand. With your other hand, arrange the wire groups as shown.
Soft twist kumihimo charm bracelet 6
Figure a
Soft twist kumihimo charm bracelet 7
Figure b
4 To braid the wires, use your dominant hand, and work in pairs of movements as follows:

• Remove the wires from slot 8, and move them clockwise around the disk into slot 25 (Figure a).
• Remove the wires from slot 24, and move them counterclockwise into slot 9 (Figure b). 
Soft twist kumihimo charm bracelet 8
Figure c
Soft twist kumihimo charm bracelet 9
Figure d
• Move the slot 7 wires clockwise into slot 24 (Figure c).
• Move the slot 23 wires counterclockwise into slot 8 (Figure d).

• Move the slot 6 wires clockwise into slot 23.
• Move the slot 22 wires counterclockwise into slot 7.

• Move the slot 5 wires clockwise into slot 22.
• Move the slot 21 wires counterclockwise into slot 6.
• Move the slot 4 wires clockwise into slot 21.
• Move the slot 20 wires counterclockwise into slot 5.

• Move the slot 3 wires clockwise into slot 20.
• Move the slot 19 wires counterclockwise into slot 4.

• Move the slot 2 wires clockwise into slot 19.
• Move the slot 18 wires counterclockwise into slot 3.

• Move the slot 1 wires clockwise into slot 18.
• Move the slot 17 wires counterclockwise into slot 2.
Soft twist kumihimo charm bracelet 10

Repeat the entire sequence of movements, rotating around the disk as you work. Determine the desired finished length of your bracelet, subtract about 1 in. (25.5 mm) for the clasp, and continue until the braid is this length.

Leaving the wires on the disk, use a toothpick or scrap wire to spread adhesive on and between them at the end of the braid. Allow the glue to dry.

Remove the braid from the disk, and remove the tape from the braid. Cut the wires at each end so the braid is the desired length and the ends are even.

Soft twist kumihimo charm bracelet 11
Step 5

Finishing

5. To make an end cap, cut 12 in. (30.5 cm) of 18-gauge (1.02 mm) wire. Using a 4 mm mandrel or the 4 mm jaw of coiling or roundnose pliers, wrap the wire to make a 3⁄8-in. (9.5 mm) coil. Test-fit the coil over one end of the braid, adjust the coil if needed, and trim the wire tail flush. 

Soft twist kumihimo charm bracelet 12
Step 6

6. Insert flatnose pliers under the last half of the last coil, and make a 90° bend to form a loop. Apply adhesive to one end of the braid, and slide the coiled end cap in place. Let dry. Repeat steps 5–6 at the other end of the braid.

Soft twist kumihimo charm bracelet 13
Step 7

7. Open six 4 mm 20-gauge (0.81 mm) jump rings, or make your own. Decide where your charms will hang from your braid. Using an open jump ring, attach a charm and a wire in the braid, and close the jump ring. Repeat with the remaining charms.

Soft twist kumihimo charm bracelet 14
Step 8

8. On one half of a clasp, open its jump ring, attach the loop of an end cap, and close the jump ring. Repeat at the other end.

Tip!

• If you’re going to set up the bobbins in the evening and work your braid the next day, E-6000 is a fine adhesive to use. If you can’t wait, try Euro Tools Super New Glue instead. It dries rock solid in 10–15 minutes.

• I suggested starting with 22-in. (55.9 cm) wires so that if you make an error partway through, you can just keep braiding until you have a usable length. If you were to start with a shorter length and make a mistake, you’d have to scrap the entire project. Once you get the hang of this technique, you can start with 15-in. (38.1 cm) wires instead.

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