Rainy Day Fun: How to Make Kumihimo Friendship Bracelets

friendship-braceletsI’ve recently come across a Japanese form of braid making called kumihimo. Japanese for “gathered threads,” kumihimo is now a popular trend in bracelet making that varies from simple to intricate.

I remember making friendship bracelets as a child. I would pin colored strands of embroidery floss, and knot and braid it into a fun accessory during long road trips or laid back summer afternoons.

Now that I have kids, I want them to get that same joy from making friendship bracelets, so I’ve introduced them to kumihimo — it’s inexpensive, easy and fun. This is a great DIY project on a rainy day for both kids and adults.  It’s also a great creative activity for a plane ride or long road trip.

Here’s how to do it…

Materials:

  • Material to create weaving disk. I like to use thick foam. You could also use chipboard, or cardboard.
  • Embroidery floss — up to 7 colors
  • Scissors

How to Create the Weaving Disk

1. On the foam, chipboard or cardboard create an octagon approximately 3 inches tall and three inches wide.kumihimo bracelet

2. Draw a hatch mark on the center of each side of the octagon and draw a dot in the center of the disk.

kumihimo bracelet

3. Cut out the template.  Cut on hatch marks around the perimeter and punch a hole through the disk where you put the dot in the middle.

kumihimo bracelet

Related:  How to Make Waldorf Inspired Window Stars

How to Make the Bracelet

1. Cut 14 – 18 inch pieces of your embroidery floss, cutting 2 of each color.

kumihimo-4

kumihimo-52. Knot together all the embroidery thread at one end so that there is still a little tail of ends.
kumihimo-63. Guide the ends of all the threads through the hole so that the knot is on the back side of your weaving disk.  Flip the disk, then put two pieces of matching color threads into each slit so that it’s snug into place.

kumihimo-8

4. Now, turn the template so that the empty space is pointing to your chest.  Count 3 slit spaces to the left from there (approx. the 10:00 pm position if it were a clock).  Take that piece(s) out of the slit and place into the empty space that is facing your chest.kumihimo-105. Shift the strings that are in the 10:00 position (in the image above it would be the green strings) to the open 6:00 position.

6. Then turn the weaving disk a quarter turn counter clockwise so that the open slit is on the bottom, 6:00 position again.  Continue this process:  10:00 to 6:00, shift, 10:00 to 6:00, shift (repeat….)

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Eventually you’ll start seeing the bracelet appear underneath the disk.

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7. Keep repeating the process until you’ve reached your desired length.

8. To finish, pull the strings from the disk and knot off.

9. Tie together the ends to complete your bracelet.kumihimo-15You and the kids enjoy the simple, meditative and productive process of simple weaving.  You may want to experiment with color variations and adding beads. Have fun!


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