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Look inside A Beginner's Guide to Kumihimo
  • Publisher: Search Press
  • Edition: BC Paperback
  • Publication: 17 August 2018
  • ISBN 13/EAN: 9781782215349
  • Stock: 50+
  • Size: 204x260 mm
  • Illustrations: 300
  • Pages: 80
  • RRP: £8.99
More Information

A Beginner's Guide to Kumihimo


12 beautiful braided jewellery projects to get you started by Donna McKean-Smith (Author)

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Book Description

Kumihimo is a popular jewellery-making technique with origins in Japanese tradition. This colourful and informative beginner's guide to the craft explains how to use a circular kumihimo disc and a variety of braids and beads to create 12 stunning pieces of jewellery, plus colour and style variations, for any occasion. Kumihimo is a transportable craft so once you have mastered the basics of placing your braids over the disc in different formations to make a variety of patterns and motifs, you can create kumihimo jewellery wherever you go.

Table of Contents



Essential Techniques

The Projects:

Basic eight-braid bracelet

Eight-braid beaded bracelet

'Inside-out' bracelet

Infinity Knot necklace

Four-colour stripe bracelet

Flower motif bracelet

Beaded popper charm bracelet

Crystal kumihimo necklace

Eight-braid cuff

Simple seven-braid bracelet

Eight-braid square cord bracelet

Twelve-braid raised cord bracelet


About the Author

About Donna McKean-Smith

Donna McKean-Smith founded Riverside Beads and Crafts early in 2002. Riverside has grown to be a household name in the jewellery-making and craft industry, bringing a wonderful range of craft and beading materials both to Donna's own shop and online at www.riversidebeads.co.uk

Donna is a regular contributor to jewellery-making magazines, and has self-published her first guide to kumihimo, Bead-Braid-Twist. Donna is also a regular guest on Create and Craft, and can be found at craft shows around the UK.

Donna lives in Market Deeping near Peterborough, UK, with her husband and three sons.



The book contains 12 projects to make bracelets and necklaces. Each project is explained with great clarity along with detailed diagrams and excellent photographs of every stage of making. All materials and equipment are listed and explained and can be purchased from the author's website which is noted on the inside front cover but not thrust at you on every page. Alternative colourways are suggested and shown for each project. As someone who has done some kumihimo before I was familiar with most of the patterns, but I have never used beads with my braiding before. To be honest I've always been a bit scared of working out how many beads I'd need and the length of thread to use. The book tells you exactly what you require to make an item of a certain size then gives information on how to adapt to be larger or smaller. Whether you are a complete novice or have prior experience of kumihimo or beading you are sure to find this book beneficial and inspirational and with the quality paper you expect of Search Press publications it's a lovely book to browse through and stroke (crafters will know what I mean!).

Bead Society of Great Britain, Journal 130 (Spring/Summer 2019)

A nice introduction to Kumihimo, the book includes information on materials, tools and essential techniques.

All of the projects are well explained and each is accompanied by bright, well photographed, pictures and colour diagrams.

Donna includes lots of tip boxes throughout the book. All in all a great introduction to Kumihimo. 

The Journal for Weavers, Spinners & Dyers (March 2019)

Even at first glance the book is filled with clear, colourful and informative images printed on good quality, glossy paper which offers the reader a seemingly more expensive book than the RRP would suggest.

The initial section on materials and essential techniques is detailed and concise, and offers both written and step-by-step picture instructions. There are clear directions to get you started on a two-coloured, eight-braid bracelet with a further eleven projects, plus braiding idea options. 

The book offers exactly what the title suggests. It is good value for money, the quality of printing and construction exceeds its price tag and I would buy this book as a beginner's reference guide or as a gift for a crafting friend.

Postcard Reviews

This stunning art of braiding to make wonderful pieces of jewellery is simple and unique.

You will learn basic techniques to braid and bead, which will give a beautiful finished piece of jewellery that will be wearable and stylish.

To make the projects you will need a Kumihimo disc or plate, I would have liked to have seen one included with this book, but you can pick them up for a couple of pounds quite easily, and you will need some cord.

The instructions are easy to follow and what I liked is that picture demonstration is included along with special hints and tips to give your work that professional finish.

Each piece is stunning, the beadwork is amazing and for a 'Magpie' like me I was drawn to the shiny and sparkle of the embellishments.

This is a book perfect for beginners, it really is a one to one craft class.

12 projects are showcased and each one is gorgeous and appealing.


Make your own beautiful jewellery with the ancient Japanese craft of kumihimo.  This traditional method of producing braids has been updated for the modern crafter with inexpensive disks and bobbins and is surprisingly easy to do. 

I have been using my marudai to make kumihimo braids for several years; basic fibre braids can be used for so many things.  This book does not require any of the larger, more expensive items but if you have them you can use them to make these beaded braids.  If you dont, the disks and other items you require are easy and inexpensive to obtain and you can use any cords or threads plus a wide range of beads and findings.  This is a well laid out, user friendly guide for either a total beginner, or somebody like myself who has made plain braids and wants to add beads and make jewellery.  A few pages are given to showing what you need and explaining why you need it; if you already make jewellery you will already own most of it.  Start making your first braid without the beads and learn the basics of kumihimo in the next chapter.  This includes working out how much thread you need, setting up the disk, the braiding sequence and finishing off.  Wisely this first piece is not just a cord but made into a bracelet which, even without beads, is a beautiful and wearable piece.  The rest of the book shows you how to add beads, make a variety of different cord types and fill your jewellery box with some gorgeous bracelets, cuffs and necklaces.  If you want to see them all at a glance there is a double page at the front with a gallery of the finished pieces.  Each project teaches you something new and has some very clear photographs and diagrams showing how to set up the disk, use different types of bead and achieve various effects.  There is a list of what you need, useful tips, and sometimes ideas and patterns for variations.  I would recommend this book to anybody who wants to try kumihimo and make their own jewellery.


This wonderful Kumihimo beginner's guide (or, to give the book its proper title: A Beginners Guide to Kumihimo) is by Donna McKean Smith.

Published by Search Press, it will come as no surprise for me to tell you that the book is beautifully laid out and illustrated. If youre someone who enjoys making beaded ropes, then Im going to tell you why you need this.

As the cover advertises, this Kumihimo beginner's guide gives you 12 projects to get you started. It also gives you a wealth of information about the tools and materials you need. Plus, in learning these projects, you are learning general Kumihimo techniques. So, youll end up with the skill set to go on and make loads more Kumihimo projects all on your own.

In case youre wondering, Kumihimo is actually an ancient Japanese craft. It is basically braiding. You will get to learn a number of different braid combinations. Each creates a different texture and look. You will start by learning how to braid with ribbon. Then, learn how to add in beads. Both these looks are beautiful. The projects in the book will give you necklaces and bracelets. If you want to try your own thing, then Kumihimo ropes also make fabulous necklaces for hanging a special pendant or cabochon.

Donna McKean Smith has been running Riverside crafts for many years. She is an expert teacher and this comes across in the book. She guides you through everything from a beginners perspective. So, you dont need to know anything before you start. Kumihimo is a very therapeutic craft. So, I can guarantee that with Donnas expert tuition, you will soon be relaxed and enjoying it for yourself.



Fantastic guide to Kumihimo, 12 beautiful, colourful projects designed to teach the technique in an easy to follow guide. I love that the photography matches the instructions perfectly and don't confuse the reader the way that other craft guides do. I look forward to making the projects from the book and starting a new crafting love affair, a very well written and inspirational book.


I found this book very interesting, as I have tried Kumhimo before, but not with beads. It has 12 projects that are clearly set out with photos, detailed instructions and tips. In the projects sections you get a "shopping list" of supplies which takes the guess work out of lengths and quantities required. I intend to try a project soon, but the hardest thing now is to choose which one to try first.


I have been intrigued by the technique of Kumihimo for a while and as an avid fan of jewellery - making as a hobby, really wanted to learn this fascinating new skill as I had seen the beautiful braids that can be made using it.

As a complete beginner to Kumihimo, I was looking for an instructional book with projects suitable for starters like me and was not disappointed by this lovely book.

Although at first glance the technique looked a bit complicated, thanks to the great detailed, step by step instructions in this book, accompanied by clear pictures - a bit of perseverance and time was all that was needed to get me started on braiding.

This book contains detailed sections on techniques, the tools needed to make a start, as well as instructions on 'finishing off' (essential to getting a nice professional look) - then twelve projects including bracelets and necklaces.

I am really pleased with this book, and look forward trying many of the projects within, once I have perfected the technique further and I'm sure my friends and family will love getting these braided bracelets as gifts.


I really enjoyed reading the paperback version of this book.

Its the perfect resource for either a beginner or a more advanced Kumihimo braider. Everything you need to know to start Kumihimo braiding is clearly explained and the whole book is well-illustrated. There is an explanation of the materials required and the techniques needed to start braiding and information on how to finish the braids attractively. The book also explains how to progress making Kumihimo braids using beads.

There are 12 twelve gorgeous projects to follow which are explained with great clarity aided by clear photography. The projects enable a variety of different techniques to be learned including beading from a centrepiece outwards (in the case of the Jade bracelet); making an eight-braid cuff (Maxine which is created from two beaded Kumihimo braides); creating a seven-braid bracelet (Jodie bracelet) and making a square cord bracelet (Katie).

Ive fancied learning how to do Kumihimo braiding for a while and after reading this great book I am inspired to start braiding as soon as I can gather the supplies together!

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