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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mizuhiki

Mizuhiki  (mizz oo hee' kee?) is a form of ornamental Japanese paper cord. It is usually used to make ornate knots to decorate packages and notes, but it can also be used for jewelry.

 

Here is a YouTube of the cord and a brief look at how it is made. It is very durable and was traditionally used to tie back the hair of Japanese warriors.

 

These cords come in many metallic colors with combinations of effects from iridescent to striped. 

 



The major manufacturer is Yasutomo in Japan, but you can find it sold in many craft places especially online. I picked some up for cheap on eBay, just wait for a bargain to pop up.

The length is typically 36" per cord, but I have gotten some at 18". The diameter, while it varies somewhat, seems to be between a 20 and an 18 g wire. I make my own French wire to fit it for clasps. I make it on an 18g wire with 28g wire.

These cords are quite strong. I have used crimps on them with no problem. I have used half round wire on it for binding, too. I have used glue to space beads on it. I wouldn't say that you could create heirloom lasting jewelry with it and I wouldn't hang a heavy pendant on it- only because of the wear, not the weight- but I do use it for fun fashion jewelry.

I have worn it in the summer and it seems to be ok with the heat and sweat. Most cords have a mylar coating which is water proof, however, I wouldn't wear it in the shower.

I'm no expert and I am still playing with this myself, but I feel confident about using it for fashion jewelry. In fact, I am making lightweight, glittery metallic looking earrings right now. I will be posting some of the pieces I make and I may even accomplish a few fancy knots.

As some of you know, I don't make bracelets, but I think these cords would be fun to try in a bracelet, too especially with a big fancy knot in the middle. :) For those of you making paper beads, these are the perfect necklace to wear your beads on. Actually, I am planning to try some paper beads for this cord myself.

EDIT:
I just finished up these earrings and thought I would share my first attempt at any fancy knot. Artistic wire, #4 crimp, seed beads and Mizuhiki cord. These have a great metallic sparkle that doesn't show and they are very light, so they will have lots of light catching movement.

1 comment:

  1. Tela, This looks like a lot of fun to play with. The colors are yummy and the light weight of the material seems perfect for summer. Seeing your cute knotted earrings opens the possibilities door! Thanks for sharing.

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