Introduction: A Strangely Addictive Braiding Wheel

Picture of A Strangely Addictive Braiding Wheel
When my students finish their art projects, they sometimes need something else to do. One of the things I've taught them is how to make a round braid using a cardboard wheel and yarn.

I have this huge bin of yarn. I wish I had a picture of it, but I've been teaching for 4 years at this school and for some reason this yarn bin doesn't get smaller even though we're always using it!! But imagine a tub of yarn that is big enough for a middle school kid to climb in (and they're pretty big!) filled with multi colors of yarn.

Somewhere I saw some directions for this braid, called kumihimo. I thought it looked interesting and taught myself to do it, then started teaching my students to do it. They can learn how pretty easily and then they teach each other.

And, it is strangely addictive. The two days before the holiday break I taught several classes how to do this and they'd walk out of my room all braiding with their wheels as they walked out the door to their next class, commenting as they left, "this is so addictive-- I can't stop!"

Now if you're not a teacher, you don't particularly understand the irony of this. At this time of year, most of the kids are high on candy and terribly fidgety as the holiday is coming up and they're so excited they can hardly concentrate and sit still. To have them happily sitting quietly and busy with a hand skill is so charming and also wonderful!

It is very easy to do. Not one of my students couldn't do this after some quick 5 minute lessons, and I teach some students that most give up on, and they could do this.

Directions:
  1. Take some scrap cardboard and trace a circle (I keep plastic lids from coffee cans and the like for tracing circles).
  2. Cut out the circle- doesn't have to be perfect!
  3. Use a pencil or pen to punch a hole in the center (do not use scissor to do this unless you want the kid running down the hall screaming to the nurse with blood dripping from their fingers that they left under the cardboard).
  4. Use scissors to enlarge the hole by reaming it around- widening.
  5. Cut eight slots around the outside edge of the circle.
  6. Select 7 pieces of yarn or string. They can be the same colors, or different. They should be about 24 inches long or longer for a bracelet.
  7. Tie all the string/yarn together in a knot on one end.
  8. Put the yarn through the hole and place each yarn in the slots (you'll have one empty slot.)
  9. Put the empty slot facing towards 12:00. Count down three yarns. Put the third yarn into the empty slot and rotate the wheel (counter clockwise) so that the empty slot is again at 12:00. Count down three yarns (you're on the fourth slot) and put in the empty slot.
  10. Rotate, count down three....repeat until you've gotten it long enough.
  11. Occasionally comb out the yarn so it doesn't get all tangled up.
  12. The braid will descend through the hole in the center.
  13. Take off the pieces from the slot and tie in a knot.
  14. Put around your wrist and tie in a knot.
  15. Done. Teach someone else!
ps. There are some more ways to braid and also some better ways to end, but this is the quick and easy version. If you like this, look up more directions on the internet-- you can make some beautiful braids with beads added to the braiding. And flat braids. And more!

Comments

swu3 (author)2012-11-03

This would make nice handles for the gift bag, too.

jane

artfulann (author)swu32012-11-04

Hadn't thought of that- thanks!

benduy (author)2012-08-05

very nice, just wondering.. is it possible to make the width smaller? i mean the circumfrence or use less threads

artfulann (author)benduy2012-08-05

You can do this with embroidery thread and smaller therefore make it a tiny braid. But I don't know about using less threads. There are other ways to do this kumihimo braiding, this just being one of the forms. I've only learned a few of them-- this being one I could easily teach to my students.

ty.melvin (author)2012-05-29

This is great. I was just about to purchase a Kumihimo board. Thanks!

craftknowitall (author)2011-12-28

Very good and congratulations!

artfulann (author)craftknowitall2011-12-28

Thank you!

sunshiine (author)2011-12-23

Now I know how to do this! Thanks for sharing. Anytime I need to refer to how to do this, boom Instructables come through again! I do not need to dig through boxes to find the pattern. It is here! Thanks so much for sharing! Have a beautiful day!
Sunshiine

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Bio: I'm an artist, environmentalist, animal lover, gardener, recycling nut, a high school teacher, crafter, Mom, Christian and widow who reads a lot in between ... More »
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