Nautical Style: 4 Strand Kumihimo Braid

One of the most fun crafts I do is Kumihimo disk braiding. It’s very useful to know if you’re into watersports or the nautical/beach scene, since you can craft a lot of useful and fun stuff out of these type of braids. I use these frequently for cords on my Hei Matau and shark tooth pendants since they look nice, are very durable, and don’t require metal clasps (metal doesn’t do well over time in saltwater).

These days, it’s easy to find tutorials on 8 strand Kumihimo, but sometimes that can get a little thick for a necklace cord, even in hemp thread or Linhasita thread. So I thought I’d share a quick tutorial on doing your own 4 strand round braided cord to show off your own cool small to medium sized beachy finds or creations.

Most craft stores these days carry basic Kumihimo disks- or you can make one. I think it makes a better looking cord if you use a foam disk because the tension is better. A weight helps too, but is not necessary for these type of cords, since you can pull them taut later. But, the consistency is better with a weight though. Made mine with a screw, alligator clip and some washers (so I can adjust the weight depending on the material).

So, check out the picture tutorial I’ve got below using Linhasita thread in red, green, dark blue, and tan. Just follow the movement of the colors around the disc to see each movement. Repeat Steps 1-7 until the cord is the desired length.

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Tie four strands together that are each 1.5 to 2 times longer than you want your finished cord to be

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Set up your threads on the right side of every dot and attach the weight under by the knot if you use one

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Keep repeating these steps until your cord is finished.

I used earthy colors to make some cords to use:

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A ball of hemp twine and spools of waxed nylon cord

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4 Strand Braid in Hemp (top) and Linhasita (bottom)

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All the different pendants I can use this cord with

Ok, so I’ve already got a project ready for this cord, and it feels like a classic Brady Bunch trilogy is coming on…..

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I know! My wipeouts are DA BEST

Surf Wax Wrapper Beads DIY

My friends gave me a beautiful Ugandan charity bracelet for Christmas. I’m really not big on gifts and holiday trappings but they know I’m always a sucker for handmade things, charitable causes and groups, so it was really thoughtful.

I love my bracelet!


Another super cool thing about this bracelet is that it had lacquered beads made from bits of hand rolled newspaper and magazine paper. I’ve seen these type of beads before, and I’ve even made them in the past, so I can appreciate the time that goes into making them!

This bracelet inspired me to try this craft again, only this time with Sticky Bumps wax wrappers I’ve been hoarding in the garage. I knew these had been waiting for another good craft project to come along.

The Sticky Bumps wax wrappers are eye catching, the paper is thick, but not too thick to handle and fold, so they made good candidates.


I folded the wrappers longways like an accordion, making sure each strip was equal in width.

Origami practice


I could have cut out the long trapezoids through all four layers, but I was afraid they might come out a touch wonky, so I cut each one separately. You can use a template if you want. I just folded each long strip in half, cut an angle from the bottom base to the top, leaving a narrower base than the bottom. Trapezoid. Boom.

Long trapezoid.

Making thinner beads


Then, I rolled each strip onto a very thin stainless steel rod, putting a little white craft glue on the inside of the strip as I rolled it on the rod.

Dab some glue on the inside of the strip- I found if you put too much, it can peel the paper!


After allowing the glue to dry, I painted all the beads with a thick sealer in gloss and allowed them to dry again for 24 hours.

I gave them a little sanding with a nail buffer, cleaned up any stray paper on the ends with some scissors, and sealed them one more time.

An old nail buffer is perfect for this

A toothpick helps me hold it while I sand lightly


Once they were dry again, they were ready to use in bracelets. I decided to add a little charm saying “Surfer Girl” that I bought from a local surf clothing shop, Island Surf and Skate, because I’m also I sucker for locally made stuff too. Mermaid Moon (also local!) made the cute stamped charm. Free Plug for them courtesy of Captain Kook. Lucky them. Yikes.

Just a foot of .5 mm elastic, a few 6 mm seed beads, a charm, and a pair of scissors.


I strung on a 6 mm seed bead alternating with a surf wax wrapper bead, stringing the charm through on the way. I tied the ends together with a surgeon’s knot.

Done!


I need to make even more of these beads and clear out my stash of wrappers. As if I needed to hoard anymore leftover surf crap. I need to set a hoarder time limit on my stashes to get my lazy butt in gear.

“That 4 pound ball of old scraped surf wax in the corner has TWO WEEKS to become recycled bars of wax OR candles or it’s out to the curb with it! And this time- I MEAN IT!”