Make hemp friendship bracelets and more with a Kumihimo braiding disk

July 15, 2011

Colorful hemp bracelets are fun for kids of all ages to make … by “all ages” I mean 8 to oh, 80.

I’ve been intrigued by Kumihimo braiding disks for a while now. Kumihimo (a Japanese form of braid making) is an easy way to make intricate multiple strand braids. Braiding bracelets is the perfect summer-time activity, as anyone who has been to summer camp can attest.

I used the “Spring” Hemptique assortment and round Kumihimo disk. Any type of thread or cord could be used. There is also a square disk available to make flat braids.

Most Kumihimo braids use 8 or 16 warps (each warp could be made up of multiple strands). I decided to try the 8-warp braid first. Since I was using 4 colors of hemp cord, I divided each color into two equal lengths and knotted them all together at one end (just a basic overhand knot). A basic rule of thumb is to have 3″ of each cord for each 1″ of braid length. If you are mixing different types of cord I would suggest estimating a bit higher.

Feed the knotted end through the center of the disk to get started.

Place one cord (or “warp”) next to each of the four dots on the board.

And start braiding! Bottom left cord goes to top left. Then top right cord goes to bottom right.

Now, the instructions told me to rotate the board 90 degrees so that I was always working from top to bottom, but I found it much easier to hold the board in one position and just apply the pattern. As long as you don’t cross the warps (ex. taking a left strand from the bottom and placing it on the upper right) it is really hard to mess this up. You’ll probably do it slightly differently than I did. What is really important is to keep your cords bundled into “no-tangle bobbins” – NOT all loose and tangly like in the photo above.

Keep the cord bundled up tightly to save yourself a headache.

The braid travels around the disk as you work, but you don’t need to pay attention to the numbers. And that’s all there is to it! For a project that requires no tools and no counting, the results are impressive! For a traditional friendship bracelet like the ones Jaci made, simply knot the ends together, preferably on your BFF’s wrist, so that it must be worn until it disintegrates.

Just tie a knot and trim the ends when you’ve braided a long enough piece.

I got on a roll, so I kept going and made my braid into a necklace. In the next blog I will show you how to finish braids like these, or any type of cord, really, with glue-on bullet ends. Have a great weekend! ~ Cindy

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  • Emily August 15, 2012 at 10:05 am

    These were the first friendship bracelets I learned to make ^_^ My group at summer camp started making them. I do other patterns now but they’re my favourite to do.

  • mei May 16, 2013 at 3:43 am

    I tried to make it but it came out very tiny not as big as yours …may i know why ?

    • Polly May 16, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      Hi mei,
      What size cord did you use?
      The hemp cord used in the pictures above, is approximately 1mm.
      Tiny cord makes a tiny braid. Bigger cord makes a bigger braid.

  • zulmi infante July 4, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    necesito las instrucciones en español (castellano) por favor me parece todas las tecnicas maravillosas

    • Polly July 5, 2013 at 7:14 am

      Hola zulmi,
      No tenemos las instrucciones en español. Pero el traductor Google es muy bueno, y se puede traducir páginas enteras. Usted puede ir a para copiar y traducir oraciones y párrafos, o puede descargar el navegador de google utilizando los enlaces de este artículo: 2013/01/24/an-easy-way-to-translate-websites, y luego se puede traducir de forma automática la mayoría de páginas web.