Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Beaded Leather Kumihimo Bracelet Tutorial with Sliding Knot

If you've mastered the basic 8-strand Kumihimo braid but would love to take it to the next level, then this project is right up your alley. 

Without learning anything new, you can make a simple braid look very classy just by working with a totally different stringing material. 

In this tutorial, you'll combine 3 different techniques to create a gorgeous beaded Kumihimo bracelet. 

  1. You'll learn the basic braid
  2. How to add beads as you go
  3. Learn how to make your bracelet adjustable by tying a sliding knot - no clasp required!

For this project, I used ReaLeather 1mm leather cord which is thin enough to string large-hole seed beads. Look for it at Michaels under the Bead Landing label. Or, you can substitute other types of cord. Whatever you choose, it needs to be round and firm.
Adding beads to leather cord gives a simple 8-strand Kumihimo braid that WOW factor.

 Here's what you'll need:

How to Create the Kumihimo Braid

Cut three 1m (39") lengths each of gold and silver cord and two 1m (39") lengths of black cord, Align the ends of the cords and tie them in a loose knot approximately 10cm (4") from the end.
Make a loose knot in the leather cords

Place the knot into the hole of the Kumihimo disk.
Position the knot of leather cords in the centre of the Kumihimo disk

Set the cords into the slots of the disk using the photo below as a guide, i.e. on either side of the 32, 8, 16 and 24 (N, S, E and W) markings.

Once all the cords have been placed in the slots, you can begin the braid. The braid consists of three simple steps:

Step 1: 
Take the cord at the bottom on the left-hand side of 16 (S) and place it in the slot to the left of the 32 (N) cords at the top.
Kumihimo disk set up with leather cords

Step 2: 
Then take the cord to the right of the 16 (N) mark and place it in the slot to the right of the bottom cord.
Working a Kumihimo braid on the Kumihimo disk

Step 3: 
Rotate the disk anti-clockwise.
How to create a round braid on the Kumihimo disk

Repeat these three steps until the braid is approximately 15mm (5/8") long. Try to keep your tension even as you create the braid. Attaching a weight to the bottom of the braid can help with this. Or, you can just pull it through as the braid gets longer.
Working the cords on the Kumihimo disk

Working the Beads into the Kumihimo Braid

Next, it's time to add beads to the braid. I've strung twelve white beads on the bottom left black cord and twelve gold beads on the top right silver cord.
Kumihimo disk set up with cords and beads

Tie a loose knot or add a bead stopper to the end of the two cords to keep the beads on.
Leather cord with knotted end

Continue working the braid using the 3 steps. But now, when you come to a cord with a bead on it, slide it to the centre of the braid.
Working the beads into the Kumihimo braid

Then cross the cord to the other side of the disk as before. 

EXPERT TIP: The bead must sit underneath the cord that it crosses over or it will end up inside the braid instead of on the outside of it.
Capturing the beads on the Kumihimo braid as you work

Once you've worked all the strung beads into the braid, it's time to add the large-hole bead. To do this, you will need to remove all eight cords from the disk, one pair at a time so that you can thread them through the bead.
Threading leather cords through a large hole bead

As soon as each pair of cords has been threaded through the bead, replace them back into the disk slots, so that you keep them in order.
Positioning a large hole bead in the centre of a Kumihimo braid

Tighten up all the cords so that the bead now sits in the hole of the disk.
Kumihimo round disk set up with leather cords

String the remaining beads on the black and silver cords opposite each other and continue braiding until all the beads have been used.

Whilst the braid is still on the disk, take a length of sewing thread and wrap it around the ends of the braid, knotting it securely so that the braid won't unravel. Do the same thing at the beginning and then undo the knot in the cords.
Tying off the end of a Kumihimo braid with sewing thread

Apply adhesive to all the cords just beyond where the thread has been tied.
Gluing the end of a Kumihimo braid so it doesn't unravel.

Move the pair of gold cords and the pair of silver cords to the side and knot the black cords around the remaining gold and white cords. Apply more adhesive to this knot.
Tying the end of the Kumihimo braid into a knot

Trim away the four cords you just knotted. Do this at both ends of the braid.
Trimming away excess cords close to the leather knot

String a bead cone on the four remaining cords on each end of the bracelet and slide them up to the braid. Gather the cords on each side and tie them into a knot at the end.
Knotting the ends of the leather cords

How to Create a Sliding Knot

Cross the ends over each other.
Leather cord bracelet ends crossed over each other

Hold the point where the cords cross over between your thumb and finger. Cut a 30cm (12") length of gold cord and place it under your thumb on top of cords, leaving a 7.5cm (3") tail.
Leather cord ends aligned in readiness to create a sliding knot

Wrap the loose end of the cord four times around all the cords back towards your thumb.
Threading the leather cord end through a sliding knot

Thread the loose end back through the coils, making sure they don't cross over each other.

Pull both loose ends of the wrapping cord to pull up the knot. Pull it up firmly but not too tightly or you won't be able to operate the sliding knot.
Pulling the cord ends to tighten the sliding knot

Trim the loose ends close to the coil. For added security, you can apply adhesive to the cut ends where they touch the coils. but make sure not to get any on the bracelet cords or the the sliding knot will knot work.
Trimming away the excess cord on a leather sliding knot

Now you have a very classy, leather bracelet with an adjustable closure.

See these related posts:

Basic 8-strand Kumihimo Braid
WATCH this short sliding knot video, to see this knot in action.

Pin it for later!
Beaded leather Kumihimo bracelet inspiration sheet

'Til next time.....

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