How to weave medieval cords for trimming, bracelets or necklaces.

Picture of How to weave medieval cords for trimming, bracelets or necklaces.
One of the things that make home-made crafts so special is the detailing.

Even if you are following a purchased pattern, the way you finish things off can make them individual or personal.

One way of detailing a craft project is to use a cord woven from colours to match the project.

These cords can also be used "as is", as bracelets or necklaces, or simply tied to things to add interest.
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Step 1: The weaving disc.

Picture of The weaving disc.
All you need to weave your cord is a roughly-circular piece of card a couple of inches across.

Poke a hole in the middle, about quarter of an inch across (pencil-width is fine), and cut eight slots evenly around the edge of the card.

You may also find it easier to manipulate the cord in you cut a tiny V-shaped notch at the end of each slot.

It doesn't have to be an exact size, or an exact shape, so you can knock one together from any scrap card you have lying around.

Step 2: Starting the cord.

Picture of Starting the cord.
You have eight slots in the loom, but you only use seven lengths of yarn.

The cords are easier to use with a loop at one end, so start with one piece of yarn as long as you need* and three pieces of yarn twice as long as that. The colours you use are up to you.

Fold the long yarn in half, lay the short yarn with them, and tie a knot at the folded end. This will make a small loop.

Thread the loose ends through the loom, pull the knot up to the hole, and spread the yarns out so that there is one piece in all but one of the slots.

The starting arrangement of the yarns will influence the pattern you get, but it will be generally helical.

*Weaving shortens the yarn by around a third (depending on the thickness of the yarn and how tight you weave it). Generally, an arm's length will become a choker-length. A bracelet needs seven lengths of around a foot (3x2 feet and 1x1 foot).

Step 3: Working the cord.

Picture of Working the cord.
The weaving process is very simple, the sort of repetitive motion that quickly becomes "muscle memory", and you can sit and weave your cord while chatting with friends or watching TV.

Look at the loom, and mentally number the slots.

If the empty slot is "1", then lift "4" out of its slot, and place it in "1".

Renumber from the new empty slot, and carry on.

That's it.

Make sure you keep working in the same direction (turnwise or widdershins), otherwise the pattern in your cord will be uneven (although you could, if you want, change direction at regular intervals to add a zig-zag to your helix).

Step 4: Finishing

Picture of Finishing
Finishing is as easy as starting - when your cord is as long as you want, you simply tie another knot.

If your cord is intended to be a bracelet or neck-thong, then double-tie the finishing knot. It can then be threaded through the starting loop as a simple catch.

You can, if you want, tie the knot, thread a large bead onto the remaining strands and tie a second knot to keep the bead on, then thread the bead through the loop.

It's up to you, really - be creative.

Finally, I have just discovered that this exact braid has been presented before, in a video by Mangetout. Sorry for stealing your thunder, Mangetout.
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mohe12 months ago
I got it!
Kiteman (author)  mohe12 months ago


Thanks for posting your photo!

I make these too.
I use a slice of wood instead from a 50 year old yew tree.
I plan making a whole bunch from African Blackwood too - Beautiful and long lasting.
AUG-5OM33 years ago
It turned out very nice. i''m currently making a new one with the double amount of cord, to make it somewhat thicker.

Kiteman (author)  AUG-5OM33 years ago
AUG-5OM33 years ago
I love it. When i'm finished i'll post a pic.
Kiteman (author)  AUG-5OM33 years ago
Cool, thanks.
Is there a proper name for this type of loom?

It is a Kumihimo wheel, most are made of foam and sell for about $4-$8 at bead stores or on line
Kiteman (author)  seaspritejewels3 years ago

Kind of an odd name for a medieval European craft...
It is from Japan. It is also used for freindship bracelets. I just bought on at Joann fabrics in the kids craft section, it came with plastic laces to make lanyards. I use mine to to make beaded braids for jewelry.
try tonercrafts.com
Kiteman (author)  seaspritejewels3 years ago
I was being sarcastic - the foam version may be Japanese, but the wooden version isn't, so will not share the name, no matter the physical similarities.
AidanG Kiteman3 years ago
The wooden version is Japanese too. At least, it was used in Japan. The disk is fairly recent, no doubt inspired by tablet weaving. There's a wooden table used with kumihimo traditionally, a marudai.

The thing with this stuff is that everyone figured it out. Tablet weaving, for example, spans from Gaul to Egypt and everywhere in between. I would not be surprised if this kind of braiding was fairly universal (like dumplings or noodles) as well.
Kiteman (author)  quixoticgeek3 years ago
I tend to just call it a braiding loom.

If you want one that will last longer than a scrap of card, you can make one from wood, following this other instructable.

i absolutely love this, except for the ugly ending knots >_<
you can get a nice finish to this bracelet by starting it out on a solid or double junp ring and finishing it the same way and then adding a smal clasp or lobster claw clasp to the jumpring
Kiteman (author)  NatureBoom214 years ago
You can use beads instead, if you want.
Any idea what the multiplier should be for longer strands?

i.e.: Amount of string = x final length
3 time the finished lenght is adverage
Kiteman (author)  SirBrittanicvs5 years ago
If you're using the same colour for all your strands, you need about 65 feet of string to make a six-foot length of braid for your sling.
that about 6 feet and one sithed for one foot,if you want to be tecnecal
right now i am working on a 8 cord,bt i am going to try it soon=D
papertabby5 years ago
Great instructable. I made a bunch of the cording disks from a gallon water jug, and I've already taught several people how to do this since trying it for the first time Saturday. Have you tried it using 1/8" ribbon? Just about perfect for making custom shoelaces!
For making shoelaces, a Lucet would be better and stronger http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kh3l85F9LAE the great thing about Lucets is that you can cut them to any length and they won't unravel.
Kiteman (author)  papertabby5 years ago
Sounds good - have you got a picture of the "laces"?
I didn't think to take a pic of the pair I made - they unraveled anyway, 'cause I haven't figured out how to make small enough ends to go through the eyelets that won't come apart. I'll post when I figure it out, though!
if you have not found out how yet, you may want to try using heat shrink tubing, on the ends.
lint666 years ago
Here is the one i made
Photo 51.jpg
i REALLY like the patter on yours. How many strings of each color did you use?
Kiteman (author)  lint666 years ago
Very nice!
Shabona765 years ago
How long should I make each strand if I am making a lanyard?
Kiteman (author)  Shabona765 years ago
Add about a half to the length you want.

If you want a 20 inch lanyard, start with one piece 30 inches long, and three pieces 60 inches long, folded in half.
Trebawa5 years ago
This is interesting!  It looks to be very closely related to kumihimo.
rockgod575 years ago
oh and btw i dont get what youre sayin bout the whole thing with 7x  around a foot (im tryin to make a bracelet
BEAST145 years ago
I'm thinking about making a giant one out of rope but...I havent decided if I should...
Kiteman (author)  BEAST145 years ago
Go for it! Take lots of photos, post your own project!
no way it would be uber hard and theres like no need for it
NO!!! You shouldn't do it! DON"T DO IT!!!! America is not ready for a giant one made out of rope!!!!
This is exactly what I was looking for! Gonna make a sling outta this. :)
lozartist5 years ago
I'm hoping I'm not the first one to get the Discworld reference. That would make me sad. But I'm always looking for a new way to tie string in knots. Awesome.
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