I design … I teach … I create … I craft … I love kumihimo

Go Away

Normally, I’m not this harsh.

I’m out of patience now.

After this, I’m no longer speaking to Winter.

Dear Winter GO AWAY

Who’s with me?

Creatively yours,

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Looking Forward

2015 hasn’t quite lived up to my expectations. Thankfully, it’s only February and there’s time for this year to perk up.

Please, 2015: perk up!

I’m always hopeful, so here are some things I’m looking forward to…

Beaded Kumihimo Memory Wrap Bracelet

How many edits are required to satisfy a persnickety tutorial-writer? I don’t know. I’ll let you know when I’m done.

 

Yes, I edited the Memory Wire Beaded Kumihimo tutorial. Again. Apparently, it takes six hands to photograph this while executing the technique. Sadly, I don’t have six hands. I’ve had to improvise. Repeatedly. It’s working. Sort of.

I’m not a giver-upper.

Beaded kumihimo memory wire bracelet by Monica K Campbell, EdM.

 

I’m also looking forward to teaching Beaded Kumihimo at Parkland Community College this summer.

This will be our in-class project when I teach Beaded Kumihimo this summer.

This will be our in-class project when I teach Beaded Kumihimo this summer.

 

More Beaded Kumihimo

More Beaded Kumihimo

 

To keep current with all that 2015 will bring (the good stuff, anyway), follow Ikumihimo’s social feeds …

tweet ~ http://twitter.com/ikumihimo
pin ~ http://pinterest.com/ikumihimo
like ~ http://facebook.com/ikumihimo

Dearest 2015, get your act together now. Please.

 

Creatively yours,

Monica

Yoga Humor

Soon, I’ll share my latest projects and tutorials.

Until then, enjoy a little yoga humor…

Namaste_Monica

Creatively yours,

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Deep Wisdom

Random info unrelated to anything…

Peacocks can live 20 years.

Peahens also live 20 years.

Peacocks and peahens are together known as peafowl.

A group of peafowl is called a party.

Party!!!

I think they’re beautiful, so I made a poster.

I like you, so I’m sharing a mini version of my poster here.

There is deep wisdom here.

There is deep wisdom here.

Be yourself. That’s deep wisdom, right?

What nugget of wisdom is your favorite? Please share.

 

Creatively yours,

Monica

Not Good At All

This is me. No question.

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What do you love to do, even if you’re not good at it?

Creatively yours,

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Stringing Beads

Tools are great. I truly like adore my tools. A perfect tool for a job is a beautiful thing.

Sometimes, though, the best tool is … no tool.

People frequently ask me what needle I use to load beads onto my cords for beaded kumihimo. I make and wear a lot of beaded kumihimo. A LOT. Oodles.

In fact, I finished a beaded kumihimo bracelet this weekend that has just over a thousand size 8/0 beads.

Exactly 1,056 beads.

Exactly 1,056 beads.

But I don’t use a beading needle.

I’ve tried. I’ve tried many beading needles. And I’m disappointed every single time.

I prefer to stiffen the ends of my s-lon cord with Gum Arabic Beading Glue and let the end of the cord become the needle.

The process is super simple and takes very little time. It’s even a bit messy. (Messy = fun, right?)

1. Cut the end of your cord at an angle.

I'm using size 18 Super-Lon cord. First, I cut the end of the cord at an angle to form the point of the "needle".

I’m using size 18 Super-Lon cord. First, I cut the end of the cord at an angle to form the point of the “needle”.

2. Dip at least 2″ into the Gum Arabic. Use your fingers to wipe off the excess, making sure the end of the cord is coated well but not dripping.

Dip at least 2" into the Gum Arabic. Use your fingers to wipe off the excess, making sure the end of the cord is coated well but not dripping.

Dip at least 2″ into the Gum Arabic. Use your fingers to wipe off the excess, making sure the end of the cord is coated well but not dripping.

3. Hang the cord to dry. It doesn’t really matter if the cord is perfectly straight or a little curved. Once the cord is dry, it will be stiff enough to use as a needle to load your beads.

Once the gum arabic is dry, your cord tip works as your bead needle.

Once the gum arabic is dry, your cord tip works as your bead needle.

When you’re done loading beads, just tie a square knot in the end of your cord. This is just a temporary “needle” after all.

Gum arabic is water soluble and washes off hands and tools.

I hope you find this helpful.

What’s your preferred method of loading beads? I’d love to learn  your process.

 

Creatively yours,

Monica

Final Prototypes

I fiddle. I modify. I tweak.

I delay.

Delays aren’t always bad.

I wasn’t procrastinating. I know this because I can procrastinate very well and this just wasn’t one of those times.

I just wasn’t done. I knew it could be better. And face it, I’m persnickety. (It’s ok. I know I am.)

Beaded kumihimo memory wire bracelet by Monica K Campbell, EdM.

I was nearly finished with the technique tutorial and what did I do? I made a major modification.

Major.

Ah, now it’s good. Now I really like it.

And I’m nearly done re-photographing and re-writing the tutorial. Again. I’m not ready to tell you how many times I’ve done this.

Persnickety can be annoying (ask my family). But it can also be good.

Beaded kumihimo memory wire bracelet in "Lavender & More Mix #3" by Monica K Campbell, EdM.

So, what do you think?

 

Creatively yours,

monicaKcampbell

Solution

I’m arm-wrestling with a tutorial on a new technique I’ve developed.

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I doubt another cup of coffee is the solution, but I’m not afraid to try.

Creatively yours,

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Wise Choice

We all have “one of those days” occasionally, right?

Today I’m using my anti-whine strategy #7 …

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… and logging out. :-)

Creatively yours,

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I’m not always fast. I may be persnickety … detail-oriented … analytical … creative … organized (ha!) … but face it, oftentimes my techniques for making surprisingly durable jewelry are NOT fast. Until now.

I’m happy to share my 10-Minute Method of making a bangle in this free tutorial…

 

Step 1. Gather Materials

 

Step 2: Print image on durable jewelry paper.

Step 2: Print your digital image with a laser printer onto Monica’s Matte Jewelry Paper.

Note: Is my Matte Jewelry Paper really necessary? That depends. It is necessary if you want your bangle to be waterproof. But if you choose other paper (scrapbook paper or inkjet prints), you’ll need to seal your paper. The paper and sealer you choose will make all the difference. See my “Variations” notes at the end of this post for more info.

 

Step 3: Trim your printed art to 7.5mm wide and approximately 220mm long.

  • Test the fit of your trimmed paper by wrapping it around the bangle.
  • The trimmed paper should fit in the channel.
  • The ends of the printed paper should overlap a bit, which makes adhering the paper a bit easier to do. The true circumference of the bangle is 216mm, so I usually add about 4mm for overlap.

 

Step 4 Apply E-6000

Step 4: Apply E-6000 adhesive to the back of the trimmed paper.

Tips:

  • I prefer the mini .18-fluid-ounce E-6000 tubes. They are an easier size for me to use and I can easily squeeze a narrow line of glue on the trimmed strip. Your mileage may vary.
  • A single, solid narrow line of adhesive will be sufficient. You’ll spread it in the next step.
  • Follow all E-6000 safety precautions, such as “wear gloves” and “work in a well ventilated area”.

 

Step 5 Spread E-6000

Step 5: Spread the E-6000 with a plastic card.

One swipe of the plastic down the length of the paper, in a squeegee type of motion, will give you a smooth layer of E-6000 on the back of the paper without any dry spots or lumps.

Tips:

  • Hold the paper in place as you spread the E-6000. Don’t let the E-6000 get on the printed side of your paper. It would smear the ink and leave gummy lumps. Not an attractive look.
  • This is messy. Expect the E-6000 to smoosh off the edges of the paper and smear onto your work surface. You’ll also have a lump of adhesive under your plastic card. My favorite work surface for this is an oven liner. Seriously. In fact, I use oven liners during oodles of crafty techniques. I’ll blog about that another day.

 

Step 6: Apply the paper to the bangle.

Start by aligning one edge of the paper in the channel then use a finger to push the paper onto/around the bangle. You’ll be burnishing and applying all in one step, which ensures a smooth, bubble-free fit.

 

Step 7: Apply a non-stick clip or two where the edges of the paper overlap. Set aside to dry.

I can’t say exactly how long it will take the E-6000 to dry. I know temperature and humidity are important factors. According to the manufacturer, though, 24 – 72 hours is considered a “full dry time” for the product to be considered truly waterproof.

I tend to make bangles in the evening and usually wear them the next day (I’m so patient). The E-6000 has consistently held the paper together well enough for me. However, if you intend to immerse the bangle in water, I recommend you follow the manufacturer’s guide and wait a day or three.

 

Step 8: Congratulations! Your new bangle is finished. Enjoy!

 

If you sell jewelry at craft fairs and the like, this technique can be an easy table-filler for you. One printed sheet can yield 17 – 25 trimmed strips, depending on the art you choose and the efficiency of your trimming. I can trim and assemble 25 in an hour. That’s a fantastic creation timeframe for a hand-made product that looks amazing.

Are you curious about the art I used for the tutorial bangle? It’s one of my favorite bangles and it features part of a chromolithograph from the 1850’s. I adore the bright colors and intricate patterns. It’s from one of my favorite artists, Corinna of Piddix. You can read more about her art and why I prefer it in my Wanna Know a Secret post.

Variations:

  • My technique in this tutorial is pretty flexible. I’ve used liquid resin instead of E-6000 (still using my Matte Jewelry Paper). The resin gave the bracelet a very nice glossy effect because I coated both sides of the paper with the resin before applying it to the bangle.
  • In a previous free tutorial, I showed you how to wallpaper a Nunn Design® Bangle with liquid resin. You can modify the wallpaper technique by using E-6000 instead of liquid resin. I’ve made a few wallpapered bangles with E-6000 and so far I’m pleased with the durability.
  • One of my favorite adhesives is Glamour Glaze from Annie Howes. It’s a water-based adhesive that dries crystal clear. Soon, I’ll be experimenting with Glamour Glaze as a bangle adhesive. If you beat me to it, though, please share your experience. I love learning.
  • If you use an InkJet printer and want to try modifying my technique to make bangles from inkjet-printed art, I suggest trying Glamour Seal (another Annie Howes product). I haven’t personally tried Glamour Seal but I trust Annie. If she says it seals well, I’m sure it does.

 

Go have fun!

 

 

Creatively yours,

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Let’s talk about vintage home decor. Specifically, wallpaper. What do you do with vintage wallpaper?  I wear mine.

It’s true. I wear wallpaper. And I love it!

What do you do with your vintage wallpaper? I wear mine.

What do you do with your vintage wallpaper? I wear mine.

As you can see from the above photo, I wallpaper a lot of bangles.

Would you like to make your own? Then this free tutorial is for you.

Here is Monica’s Waterproof Method of Making a Wallpapered Nunn Design® Bangle…

 

Step 1: Gather Supplies

Step 1. Gather Supplies:

 

Step 2: Trim Wallpaper

Step 2: Trim Wallpaper to 7.5mm wide and 216mm long.

  • Test the fit of your trimmed wallpaper by wrapping it around the bangle. Trim again as necessary.
  • The wallpaper should fit in the channel.
  • The ends of the wallpaper should touch but not overlap. Why? Because overlapped wallpaper will probably be thicker than the depth of the bangle channel.

 

Step 3: Apply Liquid Resin

Step 3: Mix liquid resin according to directions. Drip resin onto wallpaper.

Note: A pipette is optional, but is my preferred tool for applying liquid resin.
If you don’t have pipettes, I carry them here.

 

Step 4: Coat Wallpaper

Step 4: Using nitrile gloves, smear the resin all over the wallpaper until the wallpaper is completely coated.

You want the wallpaper coated, not dripping.

Note: Changing gloves after this step is a really good idea. 

 

Step 5: Align on Bangle

Step 5: Align one edge of the wallpaper on the bangle.

 

Step 6: Smooth Around Bangle

Step 6: Wrap the wallpaper around the bangle.

Starting at the first edge you aligned, use a finger to push the wallpaper onto (around) the bangle. This is really burnishing and applying all in one step, which ensures a smooth, bubble-free fit.

 

Step 7: Clip Until Dry

Step 7: Apply a non-stick clip where the edges of the wallpaper meet.Set aside to cure according to resin directions.

Note: Almost any small clip will do as long as the edge is smooth. Don’t worry about the clip leaving a dimple in the resin. You’ll touch it up in the next step.

 

Step 8: Touch Up

Step 8: Touching up can involve two stages.

A) Remove any excess dried resin from the outer surface of the bangle by gently gliding a sharp craft knife along the metal.

B) If necessary, apply fresh resin to smooth along the wallpaper seam. A cosmetic sponge can be a good applicator. Or use your finger, since you’re wearing gloves. Set aside to cure.

 

Step 9: Enjoy!

Step 9: All done! If you sealed the wallpaper thoroughly, your bangle will be waterproof. Enjoy!

I hope you find this tutorial helpful. I enjoy making and wearing the wallpapered bangles, probably because the texture of the wallpaper adds an interesting element to the bangles. Plus, they’re super fun to make.

Printable tutorials are available. Click the version you wish to use:

All the details.

Quick photo reference.

Wallpapered bangles by Monica K Campbell.

Wallpapered bangles by Monica K Campbell.

If you like this concept but don’t have any wallpaper handy, be sure to check out my next post. I’ll show you how to use printed art in your bangles. I also offer some variations to this technique that you may find helpful.

 

Creatively yours,

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Messy

Sometimes you can gauge the day just by the mess left behind.

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Today was a good day.

What messes are you making?

Creatively yours,

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If It Works

It’s true. I’ll use any handy thing for a kumihimo weight.

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Hey, if it works, it’s good.

Now where are my car keys?

Creatively yours,

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Nunn Design® has a new Summer Collection and they’re giving it away!

I’ve already been designing with a couple of the new charms. They’re fantastic!

I’m hoping to win the whole caboodle. Seriously.

Nunn design has been busy! This is the prize. Hurry, ends June 8, 2014.

Nunn design has been busy! Hurry, enter to win all this by June 8, 2014.

Wouldn’t you like to win? You would. I know you would.

That’s nice.

This is really nice weather we’re having, right? Such a great time of year.

What??? You just want to know about the giveaway?  ;-)  I understand. Here you go…

http://www.nunndesign.com/nunn-design-summer-collection-giveaway

Good luck to you!

If you win, stop back by and show us something you made, ok?

 

Creatively yours,

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Perfect Camouflage

I’m persnickety. No one doubts this, right?

I found a comfortable denim jacket that met all my standard criteria: comfortable fit, great length and perfectly-sized pockets … and the jacket was even in the exact shade of color I wanted. I didn’t hesitate to buy it, even though it had the maker’s tag sewn right on a front pocket. Ew.

Why didn’t I hesitate? Because I knew I could trim that little tag right off. And I did.

Tag be gone!

Tag be gone!

Which left an unsightly dark splotch where the denim underneath the tag didn’t fade during the pre-washing-whatever-process that denim jacket maker people do. I suffered through wearing the blemish for about a week. Then my new Nunn Design components arrived. Ta-daaa!

Empty Nunn Design ® Oval Brooch component

Empty Nunn Design ® Oval Brooch component

I just knew an oval brooch would camouflage that darkened denim blemish perfectly.

Perfect camouflage.

Perfect camouflage.

And it did! But there is more to the story. As if perfect camouflage isn’t enough … the brooch can also be worn as a pendant. Score!

It's a brooch; it's a pendant.

It’s a brooch; it’s a pendant.

I like this Nunn Design ® brooch so much, I’ll be adding all available shapes to my shop: oval, round, rectangular. Thank you, Becky Nunn!

 

And yes, I made multiple brooches while I experimented. Because they’re super simple to make … and super fun to wear.

Waterproof brooch/pendant with vintage kimono fabric design, hand made by Monica at Ikumihimo.

Waterproof brooch/pendant with vintage kimono fabric design, hand made by Monica at Ikumihimo.

Persnicketiness pays. Oh, and if you like the art in these brooch designs, you’ll want to read all about my secret.

 

Creatively yours,

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Just 5 More Minutes

“Just 5 more minutes. Pleeeeaaassse!”

No, I’m not trying to sleep in. I want to finish one more project.

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But alas and alack, I’m out of time for tonight. I’ll share more when these are finished. Keys and buttons and more.

Come back soon.

Creatively yours,

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We’re friends, right? I mean, we’re close. Close enough I can tell you a trade secret of my designs, right?

Gee. Maybe I shouldn’t say.

Nah, you need to know.

Gosh. I can’t decide. This has been my secret for quite a while, after all.

I can do this. Are you ready?      ..…. drum roll …….

Handmade waterproof bracelet featuring Piddix images.

Handmade waterproof bracelet featuring Piddix images. Designed by Monica K Campbell.

Piddix!

Many of my jewelry designs showcase the artistic brilliance of Corinna Buchholz of Piddix. Piddix images are more than just beautiful and versatile. If you know me at all, you know how persnickety I get with copyright details. Corinna researches everything she uses, acquiring copyrights when necessary and ensuring public domain status. This matters, people. This matters a lot.

Piddix images are superior quality and guilt-free. Better than a cupcake, I say.

Piddix art rocks. Trust me.

Piddix art rocks. Trust me.

 

Off you go now. Explore something fun. Treat yourself to oodles of creativity. All the links you need are right here:

piddix.etsy.com
instantcollagesheets.com
piddix.blogspot.com

twitter.com/piddix
fb.com/piddix

 

I’d love to see what you make. Do share.

 

Creatively yours,

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I adore tools. Really. The perfect tool for a job is a beautiful thing.

My tools overfloweth.

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So I consulted Pinterest (of course) and found this cool DIY pliers caddy from Embergrass Jewelry, which became the foundational idea for my own caddy.

I modified the technique based on the materials I had on hand. My supplies were:
Cardboard box
Glue
Ruler
Scissors
Bone folder
Wallpaper sample *

* I covered mine with wallpaper because I had it on hand, but oodles of other options would work: paper, washi tape, duct tape, paint, etcetera.

Using a box for the frame made sense to me because it already had the folded edge I wanted for the top of my shape.

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For my first try, I wanted a 16″ caddy, which is fairly long, so I used a rather large box. For this tutorial, though, I used a smaller section of the same box.

I sliced open the box and selected the corner that would be the top fold of my finished rack, making sure the box wasn’t overlapping in the area I wanted. I marked the inside of the fold with a bold marker to make it easier to measure the next step. (Confession: I already used the best corner of the box for the first caddy. For this tutorial, I’m using an uneven corner that has an overlapping layer, even though it is a bit lopsided in the end.)

Center line:

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I measured and drew a line 4″ from the center mark. Then I measured and drew a second line 6.5″ from the center mark.

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I repeated the measuring and marking process on the other side of my center line.

I cut the cardboard along both 6.5″ marks.

Then I measured the length of my finished caddy and marked it on the center line and trimmed each edge nice and straight.

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Using a bone folder, I scored the cardboard on each 4″ line. This gave me the fold I wanted to make the bottom.

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The bone folder was perfect because it would “cut” through the currogated inside layer of the cardboard … but would not cut through the outer edge. It also wouldn’t cut my new work table. Whew.

I bent the cardboard along the 4″ lines that I scored, which gave me an overlapping bottom.

Here is my upside down frame…

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I turned it right-side up and stapled the overlap to hold it together.

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I stapled the other end as well, then pressed the staples in firmly with pliers.

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I measured the wallpaper I would need for my caddy, adding an additional 2″ of width so that I could fold over the edges. I cut the wallpaper 12″ long to give me enough paper to wrap the caddy with a bit of overlap to glue it together.

Once trimmed, I marked the extra width on the wallpaper and folded it over for a finished edge.

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And I angle cut the folded-over edges so they wouldn’t stick out when the wrapping was done. Being persnickety at this stage paid off in the end.

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I covered the open ends of my frame with wallpaper and taped them in place. It wasn’t necessary for function, but I liked the finished look.

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Making sure it was centered, I used a bit of tape to adhere one edge of the wallpaper to bottom of the frame. I took care to not leave much tape on the wallpaper itself because I needed adhesive in the final step to hold the layers together.

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Before glueing the paper, I did a “dry” run to make sure I had everything centered and overlapped properly.

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Then I brushed adhesive on the paper and wrapped it around the frame, pressing it into place for good adhesion.

Ta-dah! A new plier caddy. Super functional. Super easy to make.

Here is my first caddy, loaded and ready:
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Many thanks to Embergrass Jewelry for the original plier caddy tutorial.

Let me know what you think of this caddy … and my blog post in general. This is my first blog post done entirely on my mobile device, unedited photographs and all.

Creatively yours,

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In my last post, I showed a variety of handmade kumihimo weights and explained simple methods you can use to make your own kumi weights. As I promised, I will now unveil my favorite handmade kumi weight.  Drum roll, please ….

Monica's current favorite handmade kumi weight.

Monica’s current favorite handmade kumi weight.

Side view of handmade double-sided swivel kumi weight.

A few weeks ago, I was in a rush to leave the house. I grabbed the beaded kumihimo project I needed to weave … knowing I would have time to kill between appointments … but realized I didn’t have a free kumi weight handy. Ack! So I grabbed the first thing I could think of: a double-sided pendant I had ruined the previous evening during a jewelry experiment. Sure, it was ugly. But hey, it was something to let gravity gently tug the cords… and it worked great!

I experimented with the design over the next couple of weeks until my persnickety self was satisfied. I’m finally ready to proclaim this my favorite kumi weight.  For now.

What features make this my favorite?

  • The oversized lobster claw clasp makes this weight easy to remove from the finished kumihimo weave.
  • This style of clasp also lets me easily add the weight when I begin weaving at the midpoint of my cords.
  • This weight swivels, which reduces unwanted twisting of my finished weave.
  • Snag-free design with tucked wire wrap, meaning only one cut end is exposed.  And the exposed end has been smoothed.
  • It weighs approximately 1.6 ounces, the same as the smaller (standard) size gator weight.
  • Additional weight can be added easily, if necessary.  Think: washers & string.
  • It’s made with tarnish-resistant materials.
  • It’s pretty.  Hey, sometimes aesthetics matter.
  • It’s waterproof.  (Now, does a kumi weight really need to be waterproof?  No.  I’m just bragging.)
handmade swivel kumi weight

Beaded kumihimo with my handmade swivel kumi weight.

I like this design so much, I’m including this kumi weight in the supplies kit for my next Parkland College kumihimo class. And I added it to my Etsy shop and online store.

What’s the moral of this story? Use what you have. Find that functional solution, even if it’s ugly.  Recycle your failures.  You may surprise yourself with what you discover and how you can change it. I know I did.

What surprise tools or solutions have you discovered?

Happy kumihimo-ing!

Monica

If you kumihimo on a foam disk, a kumi weight is a basic — and essential — tool.  Placed on the beginning end of your warps (cords), a kumi weight helps you keep consistent tension in the finished braid.

You can easily make your own kumihimo weight.  It’s super simple and can probably be done with stuff right in your home… like a scrap of string and some washers from your toolbox.  Or an empty prescription bottle with a hook on top.

DIY kumihimo weights

DIY kumihimo weights: a prescription bottle with coins, a large safety pin with metal washers and a scrap piece of string with metal washers.

When selecting your components, consider items that…

  1. won’t snag your cord.
  2. will easily remove from your finished project.

Most people are comfortable with a kumi weight in the 1.5 oz – 2.5 oz range.  An added bonus of a DIY kumi weight?  You control the weight, so it’s always exactly what you need.

Commercial kumihimo weights with gator clips (also known as “gator weights”) can be purchased from a variety of craft places. I confess, I even carried them in my shop for a brief time. But the minute a gator weight snagged my cord, I went back to making my own.

Gator weight

Gator weight

In my next post, I’ll show you my favorite kumi weight (yes, I made it myself) and tell you why I love it.

Have you experimented with making kumihimo weights?  What do you use — and why do you like it?

Creatively yours,

Monica