In my last design tip you learned how to calculated how many beads you need for your kumihimo necklace when working with seed beads. (If you missed it, you can read that lesson here.)

I love braiding with seed beads! They come in an amazing array of colors and fit so neatly together in a braid; however, if we only braided with seed beads we’d be missing out on all the other exciting shapes and sizes. There are fire polished and pearls and rizos and daggers and leaves and bicones and the list just goes on and on. In fact, new bead sizes and shapes are coming to market all the time. It’s hard for me to keep up!

With seed beads the ratio of strung beads to finished beaded braid was 1 to 2. So what’s our magic formula for all the other types of beads?

Sorry. That was bit of trick question. There isn’t one simple ratio for ALL other types of beads. They’re just too varied for one ratio to be true for EVERY bead, but it is possible for you to figure out your usage ratio for ANY bead.

Let’s take the pip bead for example. Pips are a type of pressed glass bead that arrived on the scene a few years ago. They’re flat-ish teardrops that look a bit like flower petals. They’re really cute and come in lots of fun colors!

The first time you’re braiding with a new type of bead, you’ll need to do a test braid to figure out how many beads per warp you need for every inch of finished beaded braid. You can make a really short sample braid using as few as 10 beads per warp or a longer test braid with more beads. Just be sure to make a note of how many beads per warp you string.

For my pip test braid, I strung 35 pips per warp. How did I pick 35 beads per warp? That’s how many pips come on a string. 🙂

When finished, I measured my beaded braid and learned that it’s 7 1/2″ long. Don’t count the endcaps or the nubbin. Just measure the beaded braid.

To figure out how many pip beads you need to string per warp for every inch of finished braid divide the beads strung on one warp by the finished beaded braid length.

Beads Strung on 1 Warp ÷ Finished Beaded Braid Length = Beads Needed on Each Warp for Every Inch of Finished Beaded Braid

35 Pips ÷ 7 1/2″ = 4.6666 Pips per Inch of Finished Beaded Braid

Great! Now to put that number to work for us. Let’s say we want to make a 20″ beaded braid that will be a 21″ necklace once we put the endcap and clasp on.

Desired Finished Beaded Braid Length X Beads Needed Per Inch of Beaded Braid = Number of Beads to String on Each Warp

For our pip example take our 20″ desired finished braid length, multiply by 4.6666 and we get 93.33 pips per warp. Let’s round that down and call it 93 pips per warp.

Now that we know how many beads to string on each warp, we can figure out how many total beads are needed for the project.

Beads per Warp X Number of Warps = Total Beads Needed for Project

In our example that’s 93 pips per warp times 8 warps so 744 pips are needed to make the 20″ beaded braid.

We’re almost done. It’s time to make our shopping list.

Beads Needed for Project ÷ Beads Per Strand = Number of Strands Needed

Pips come 35 to a strand at Design & Adorn. 744 pips divided by 35 is 21.25 strands of pips. We’ll come up short if we round down here, so round that up to 22 strands of pips to make the necklace.

Stay tuned for my next design tip and I’ll explain how a simple mind set shift can make all the difference when it comes to enjoying the design process.  In the meantime, if you’re interested in learning more about kumihimo design check out my all new kumihimo retreat Designing in 3D! It’s November 14th – 17th in Sonoita, Ariozona. Click here to read all about it!

Happy Beading!


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