What is Kimekomi?

Kimekomi is a technique where a pattern is drawn and then cut onto a surface, such as a soft wood or smooth foam. Fabric is then placed over the pattern and tucked into the cuts.

Kimekomi was developed in the 18th century in Japan as a doll making technique. Kimekomi literally means “to tuck into a groove”. The technique has been passed down through the generations and somewhere along the way someone started making kimekomi balls. With the modern invention of polystyrene foam and the easy access to materials, kimekomi is no longer limited to Japanese artisans.


How to Make a Simple Kimekomi Ornament

Here is my new HD video on making simple kimekomi ornaments. This video will take you through each step in real time with lots of detail. 

Need the written instructions for drawing lines on your ball? Download them below absolutely free.

Simple Division Instructions (pdf)


Combination Divisions

 Once you are comfortable with basic divisions you can start doing Combination Divisions. There are four types of combination divisions.

  • Combination Six
  • Combination Eight
  • Double Combination Eight
  • Combination 10

Combination divisions are for the advanced ornament artist. I highly recommend you master drawing simple divisions before moving on to these more complicated patterns. I have four older videos on YouTube showing how to draw these divisions.

Please follow this link to see the playlist on YouTube.


“Help! My ball has no factory markings.” 

 Sometimes foam balls are bare, and have no factory markings on them. This video explains the best way to mark the poles and equator when there are no markings to help you along. 

More Useful Tips

If your foam is especially hard and difficult to cut, typical of Plasteel Corp’s foam, use a hot knife for the best results. There is a good hot knife recommendation on the Tools & Materials Page.

If you are making a template for cutting your fabric, use clear vinyl for your cutting pattern so that you can select the fabric design for the most pleasing effect – especially when you want to feature a particular motif. Also, vinyl is a bit easier than paper to mold around the curved surface of the balls when you are tracing.
Thanks to Joyce Slaton for this tip.

See the FAQ page for even more tips.