How to Japanese Braid

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How to Japanese Braid
Japanese braid is used as decorative tassels on Asian clothing. (Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Japanese braid, also called Kumihimo, uses a simple foam or cardboard disc to support and organise your strands. The braid weaves many strands of cord, ribbon or even wire to create the braid. You can choose any number of strands that is divisible by four. So, four, eight, twelve or sixteen strands can all be braided in the Japanese style. The more strands you use, the thicker the finished braid will be. The finished braid makes jewellery, cording for lanyards or even simple belts.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Craft foam 4-by-4-inch square
  • Scissors
  • 46-ft ribbon

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Cut the edges off the craft foam to convert the square into a circle. It doesn't have to be a perfect circle, but feel free to use a plate or bowl for a pattern if you wish.

  2. 2

    Cut 1/2-inch slits every 1/4 inch around the outer edge of the circle.

  3. 3

    Punch a hole in the centre of the disc.

  4. 4

    Cut the ribbon into six, 6-foot pieces. Fold the strands in half. Wrap the fold around the strands, and push the folded end through the loop. Pull to form a tight knot. You now have 12 strands hanging from a knot.

  5. 5

    Push the knot through the hole in the centre of the disc.

  6. 6

    Pull three strands to the top of the disc, and secure them in three consecutive slits. Pull three strands down, and secure them in three consecutive slits. Pull three more to the left, and secure them before pulling the last three to the right. All twelve strands are now secure in sets of three polar slits. There are several empty slits between each group. The disc should look like a plus sign.

  7. 7

    Pull the top left-hand strand straight down, and secure it in the slit immediately to the left of the bottom three strands. Pull the bottom right strand straight up, and place it in the strand immediately to the right of the top strands.

  8. 8

    Rotate the disc clockwise 1/4 turn so that the strands that had been to the left and right are now on the top and bottom.

  9. 9

    Repeat Steps 7 and 8 until the strands are too short to stretch across the disc. Tie all the strands together in a single knot to secure your braid.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are making a necklace or bracelet, thread one end of the clasp onto the centre of the strands before tying them together.

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