I have been having fun recently with letter braids and every time I post one on facebook I get lots of requests for instructions, so I have decided to write them up as a free tutorial. The Prumihimo Disk is the perfect tool for this sort of braid because the braid does not spiral, making it easy to work out the postitioning of the letters. The letter beads are available from many different sources. The ones I have found so far are all cheap, plasic ones, intended for children’s jewellery. Although it would be great to find some high quality letter beads, there will always be a lot of wastage, depending on the words you want to spell out, so unless it is possible to buy the letters individually it is best to stick to well-priced beads. Again, depending on what letters you plan to use, you may need to buy several packs if you are buying them as a mixed pack. For me the letter M has been the problem. I have made braids for Prumihimo, Kumihimo, Merry Christmas, Pru McRae and I am now left with a huge pile of unused letters. I can now only work on M-free words!
The best letter beads have the hole running horizontally through the bead when it is held with the letter the correct way up, so that the word can be read easily from left to right. If the hole runs vertically through the bead they could be used very effectively on a lariat or on some sort of decoration. The beads may be double or single-sided and either type works well. The flatter type of beads sit best on the braid, but the cube type ones can also work.
The most obvious use for a letter braid is a personalised bracelet, but don’t stop there!
- Make individual keyrings for your household keys, garage, shed, back door etc.
- Write festive messages on a long braid and use it as a garland for the Christmas tree
- A personalised book mark can be made with a word at either end and plain braid in the middle, to sit in the book
- Promote your brand by offering bag tags with your brand name spelt out
- Make charity pins by braiding directly from a large safety pin
If your Scrabble skills are good I am sure you will be able to use up most of the extra letters in some way or other!