An ancient form of Japanese braiding, kumihimo was actually developed for the closure of armor on Japanese samurai and their horses. Later, kumihimo braids were used to fasten quilted jackets and kimonos. Today, kumihimo is more popular than ever and beaders are discovering how these braids can be used to accent a special lampwork glass bead and how they can be embellished with strands of sparkling crystal beads. Kumihimo is done on a lightweight disc, usually made of foam, with notches for each strand of fiber being braided. Another type of free-standing kumihimo tool is called a marudai and consists of a wood circle on four legs. Fibers attached to bobbins are braided through the hole in the center of the wood circle. The easy, rhythmic motions of braiding fibers together make kumihimo a wonderful choice for adding a handmade rope to your favorite handmade glass or ceramic bead.