Japanese Braiding (Kumihimo) Made Easy!

kumihimo japanese braid1 I wondered how our River Silks ribbon would look braided with a kumihimo disc and had to try it. The braids come out very tight, intricate and beautiful. I used ribbon from our River Silks Heirloom collection (pastel colors). Click on the picture (to the right) to get a close-up view.

Then I began experimenting with various fibers (alpaca, hemp, string, wool, etc.). Our soft and flexible kumihimo disc holds the strands firmly, but gently so you can braid with fragile fibers like Alpaca and other animal yarn.

No matter what the length was (4 feet or 8 feet), I found the River Silk Ribbon strands the easiest to separate and untangle by simply combing my hand down as I went. And since the River Silk ribbon is so durable, it stayed intact and perfect throughout the whole braid. After trying weights I decided I preferred to braid without them (they made my hands tired).

kumihimo japanese braid4

You will love these kits. There are different combinations so you can pick what you want. We bought a huge assortment of the wild and crazy fiber furs so you won't know for sure which one you're getting till it arrives, but I'm sure you will love it.

kumihimo japanese braid7 A braid made of silk will look quite different from one made of hemp, cotton or wool. The number of strands and the fiber you choose affects how thick the braid will be. The pattern of the braid is determined by how you arrange the colors, the sequence used, and how many strands pass through at once. Even a simple structure can produce a tremendous variety of different designs depending on what colors you choose and how they are arranged. The fancy fiber stretches a lot more than the silk ribbon so you don't have to cut them as long. The longest strands I worked with were 99 inches long. I found them a little hard to work with in the beginning until I'd braided quite a bit and only recommend cutting strands that long if you need a long braid. I prefer to work with a 49.5 inch length (one silk ribbon spool (5.5 yards) cut into 4 equal pieces). The silk ribbons are easy to separate/untangle, but the wild fibers tangle easily. I prefer to use only one fancy/wild fiber (folded in half of course) per braid. If you comb your finger through each time you complete a braid cycle you will keep your braid tangle-free.

Click here for some detailed braiding instructions in case you lose the ones the come with the kit or just want to see how it is done.

kumihimo japanese men's braid kumihimo japanese sampler necklace Kumihimo Sampler Kit
We introduced this kit at the Denver Quilt, Craft & Sewing Festival, and they flew off the shelf when people saw how beautiful our finished braids were. This kit includes a nice assortment of different fibers that look great together. We think you will be pleased with your finished braid.

1 round foam kumihimo disc
1 spool River Silks dyed ribbon (4mm, 5.5 yards each)
10 yards of hemp yarn
Handful of fancy/fun fur


Light Dark Colorful Wild & Wacky Surprise Me

kumihimo japanese sampler wristband kumihimo japanese disc

Val's spectacular silk garland kumihimo kit
Exotic Silks Kit
I was fortunate to find some soft white silk yarn and spools of two different very colorful dyed silk yarn at a local show.

I braided some of the colorful raw silk with some River Silk Ribbon and white silk yarn to make a beautiful garland for my Christmas tree.

Make your own colorful and beautiful cord, Christmas garland, purse handle, necklace/choker or bracelet/wrist band.

The silk ribbon and white silk yarn is easy to separate/untangle, but the raw silk tangles easily. If you comb your fingers through each time you complete a braid cycle you will keep your braid tangle-free.
Exotic Silks Kit includes:
1 round foam kumihimo disc
1 spool of 4mm River Silk Ribbon (5.5 yards)
10 yards of white silk yarn
20 yards of colorful variegated, hand-dyed raw silk yarn
river silk ribbons garland kumihimo kit

kumihimo japanese men's braid Kumihimo Men's Braid Kit

kumihimo japanese hemp men's wristbandHemp may be known for its strength and durability, but its comfort and style are second to none. Hemp also holds its shape, stretching less than any other natural fiber. The porous nature of hemp allows allows it to "breathe," so it is cool in warm weather. Conversely, air which is trapped in the fibers is warmed by the body, making hemp garments naturally warm in cooler weather.

1 round foam kumihimo disc
20 yards of black hemp yarn
5 yards of natural hemp yarn

Nick is wearing a braid made with all Black plus one Natural hemp strand.
The wrist band braid on the right includes two Natural hemp strands.


kumihimo japanese men's braid kumihimo japanese braid ribbon necklace Kumihimo Fun with River Silk Ribbons Kit
River Silks manufactures premium 100% silk ribbon. The silk ribbon is woven to strict specifications and hand dyed in Suzhou, China, the ancient capital of the Silk Road. The ribbon has a barely perceptible selvedge which gives them incredible durability. This silk ribbon is not fragile and likely to run, ravel or fray as many silk ribbons do. You will find our ribbons are perfect for braiding.

1 round foam kumihimo disc
3 spools River Silks dyed ribbons (2 solid, 1 overdyed/variegated)
(Ribbons are 4mm, 5.5 yards each for a total of 16.5 yards)
Handful of fancy/fun fur


Pastels Medium Dark Surprise Me!

Kumihimo Refill Packs

Detailed Braiding Instructions

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