Kumihimo Braid Making

Kumihimo Braid Making is an ancient Japanese method for making strong braided cord. Kumi Himo is Japanese for “gathered threads” and was originally a form of finger loop braiding. 

Here is a brief history about Kumihimo Braid Making from Wikipedia:

Kumihimo cord was first created by a form of finger-loop braiding. Later tools such as the marudai and the takadai were employed to make more complex braids in shorter time. The most prominent historical use of the cords was by samurai as both a functional and decorative way to lace their lamellar armour and their horses’ armor (barding). Kumihimo cords are now used as ties on haori jackets and obijime, which are used for tying on an obi (kimono sash).


A huge thank you to Sarah @Knotted Star for introducing me to this incredibly fun and addictive craft! Check out her post – Beginners Guide to Kumihimo.

kumihimo starter kit

For basic Kumihimo braiding you can buy a beginners Kumihimo Starter Kit from Amazon. Which is exactly what I did. You can get just the disk but I bought the whole kit which included the disk, cord, bobbins, a pretty filigree accent bead and an easy to understand instruction pamphlet. It cost less than $20. Definitely a good investment!!


Wooden Marudai

I’m not sure how far I’m going to jump into this, but I suspect I will be checking out prices on a Marudai before long. 😀

Just like any craft, Kumihimo can be as basic or complicated as you want it to be. The technique for the 8 strand braid, which is the one that I used, is very simple. My brain is about to explode with billions of ideas that I want to use this braided cord for. I can’t even let myself think about the infinite color and texture possibilities – if I do I will surely faint instantly. You can use ANY kind of yarn, cord, thread, string, twine etc etc.

I almost fainted. Let’s get back to the starter kit and what I made!!

This necklace took me a few hours to make. I was going slow and I kept needing to put it down to for a variety of annoying reasons. Which reminds me, I wanted to give you a helpful hint if you need to put your disk down so you can remember where you left off.

kumihimo tip

Leave your strings in the 3 down position. That way when you pick it up again you know that you need to do Left Up – and I’m not going to explain what Left Up means it’s a secret that you can only know if you learn how to do this!!!

Just kidding!! It means that the bottom left string (position 25 in the picture) needs to be moved to the slot at the left of the top string.

I haven’t 100% decided if I am going to finish this off as a necklace yet. I like it, but I think I want to use that gorgeous silver bead on something else. This braid isn’t actually finished. It’s tied off from the disk but I still need to bind off the loose string end and attach the caps to the ends of the braid.

I’m so happy that I bought the starter kit and learned how to do this. I already have a project in mind to use it on  – Handles for the picnic basket I will be starting to crochet next week!!

Be sure to check out Sarah’s posts about Kumihimo! I need to go back and read “adding beads” and “spiral” again!

Thanks for reading!!

~ Tami

***I am not an affiliate nor have I received any compensation from the Kumihimo disk manufacturer or Amazon.


55 responses to “Kumihimo Braid Making

  1. Very nice! Your braid looks really good. I’ve been using a square Kumihimo for the braids I post on my blog. They take a lot of hand strength, but are so worth it! I’ve been getting my patterns from the book “Braids, 250 Patterns From Japan, Peru, and Beyond”, by Rodrick Owen.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks! I was really happy with how it came out especially because it was my first time doing it! I absolutely love Kumihimo now – completely addicted!! I will be checking out your posts!! I’m already thinking hmmm if I braid up some fine thread I could crochet something with it!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kumihimo is very addictive! There’s lots of different andas available too, not just the 8 strand. I often use a foam disk with 64 slots to allow me to handle some crazy patterns 😳

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great – now my brain has exploded and I have fainted!!!! LOL This is going to be an excellent craft to explore during the summer. Sometimes it’s just too hot to crochet. In my imagination I’ve already braided enough cord to make some rope that I can crochet into a hammock!!! 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      • I have a few ropes around the house!! 😂 It’s a great craft to do when you just want to blank out.
        Try beaded Kumihimo sometime- you’ll really be addicted!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You sold me at the fact you can use any kind of string etc. This necklace is amazing, it does not look like a beginner or newbie project. Honestly cant wait to see more. I deffo know who can make me some cute friendship type bracelets in the future hehe

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you SO MUCH for this post! I bought a Kumihimo disk years ago and have never used it, as the instructions were all in Japanese! So, now having read your post, I’ve unearthed it and am going to give it a go! Be prepared for future questions!!!

    Liked by 1 person

      • And surprisingly easy, at least for the basic two-colour braid, once you know the technique! Now for a harder one…!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hooray!! Go for it!!! I think my next one will still be 2 colors and 8 cords but I’m going to mix up the color placement to get a different pattern instead of the spiral design. I’m already dropping hints to hubby to get me one of those big gorgeous wooden marudai!! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    • LOL – I am certainly brave when it comes to pieces of yarn, thread and string! Now if I could find some courage towards spiders and snakes!
      The braiding is so much easier than tatting. It was nice to pick up something and understand what I was doing within a few minutes. I’m looking forward to learning the more complex braids. I’m trying to think of ways to bring these new skills into my crochet projects! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’ll love it Meghan! It was very easy to learn the basic 8 cord braid. I instantly started trying to imagine how to work this into crochet projects – bag handles, trim, straps for tops etc etc. I’m even wondering if I can figure out a way to actually crochet with the braids! It would be easy enough to make it and use it, I just need to find a way to keep the ends from unraveling. Even if I don’t use it for crochet there’s thousands of things to do with this. Plus making the braids is very calming and relaxing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I got into kumihimo a few years ago. It’s awesome for making jewelry but I’ve also used it to add a special touch to my knitting and crochet projects, too. With a thicker yarn it’s a good option for making drawstrings for bags. Also, with embroidery floss, you can knock out loops to attach to things you make. A good place to find color patterns is here: http://friendship-bracelets.net/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for all the tips!!! I don’t really wear much jewelry but I absolutely have a billion of other ideas for the braids. I’m thinking I’d like to explore some kumihimo crochet fusion – “braichet”. Make a skein of braid and crochet with it!!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Kelley! I’m excited to start making the picnic basket!! I have an idea of how I’m going to design it but will really be kind of making it up as I go. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Tami ~ I don’t know whether to thank you or clobber you for introducing me to another creative activity that could become an obsession!
    I wonder how easy it would be with embroidery floss, I have enough of it to go to the moon and back that I need to use for something. I’m not a fast enough stitcher to use it all on embroidery projects.
    I wear bracelets a lot so, that would be something I could have some fun with. And then adding the beads, and maybe charms… Eeek!
    SO much fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL!! You’re welcome and I’m sorry!! 😀 Embroidery floss would work really nice for jewelry. Oh I’m imagining a zillion color combinations now that you could make with the floss!! Oh some shiny beads and maybe add a satiny ribbon into the mix for some texture and a romantic touch….. ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The bead is gorgeous, I suspect I’m going to fail in my resolution not to buy any new crafty tools until I’ve used what I’ve got.
    But I suppose I’ve already failed, what with buying the magazine with a hairpin lace loom, so I may as well go all in!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is really pretty. I think I want to use it on a braid with different colors than the ones the kit came with. I love that fuschia and white spiral but not for this bead. Maybe black and turquoise in a non spiral braid. It’s going to be so much fun experimenting with colors and patterns. Thanks again for your original post introducing it!! 😀


  8. Woooooowwwwwww!
    Me want. Me want. Me waaaaannt!

    Oooo… I’ve watched this done but felt it was too complicated for a small brain such as mine. However, reading how you have such fun with it and that it keeps calling you back, I’m now thinking that perhaps ….. maybe ….. I should have a little stab at it.
    Hmmmm… I shall give this some decent thinking.
    love and squidges ~ Cobs. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Dear Dear Cobs!! As you know, I am also a bear of very little brain and I was able to do this quite easily!! It is wonderful fun and just think of all the fantastic braids you could make to embellish your glorious greeting cards! Oh I would be so excited if you learned this – then we could be Braiding Buddies!! We could come up with a secret handshake! and secret passwords!! Hooray I can’t wait!! I’ll start crocheting us uniforms!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. So that’s how those are done? I have seen bracelets and other pieces, and wondered how it was done. I have done a small one with eight strands, and it took me forever. I just had the cord; no fancy tool and I kept messing up. Hence why I only have one small bracelet made. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my! I can’t even imagine trying to do it without the disk – I would end up being in the middle of a giant knot!! It is much quicker, easier and more fun with the tool. I can’t wait to find more braid projects to do!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Thank you so much Katie! It really is my attempt to not get bored with any one thing. I like to switch it up and fortunately all of these crafts basically use the same materials. I think that my dream is to someday design some crochet fusion things that use all of these yarn/string elements mixed together. I’m pretty sure hubby will come home from work one day and I will be in the middle of a giant yarn ball/knot! LOL 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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