That's right, I'm talking about CDs (or DVDs). Those things your kids won't know how to use. If you think I'm dippy for suggesting that you turn valuable CDs into crafting tools, all I can say is what the hell else are you going to use them for? Your phone probably plays MP3s. Spotify and Netflix will let you stream basically everything ever. You're not "retro" by insisting upon owning physical media, and if that's your angle, go vinyl or go home.
Oh man, an LP would make a gigantic kumihimo disk!
Anyway, if you're still with me, go dig up a shitty mix CD an ex made you years ago, or if you're like my in-laws and you used to own a music store, just get one of your seven copies of Dido's No Angel. Time to cut that crap up.
Step 1: Materials
A kumihimo wheel template, printed from here. Set it for however many strands you will want to braid, and 12 cm diameter.
A CD or DVD. Probably not one of your Japanese Radiohead imports, but what about that old copy of Baldur's Gate in the basement? Alternately, get some crap media from the dollar store or thrift store.
A permanent marker.
A hacksaw or small handsaw.
Step 2: Mark!
Step 3: Cut!
This is a time consuming step, but don't rush it. It's really easy to snap your disk while cutting, so you'll want to do a few things to keep that from happening. Cut at the edge of your work surface so the disk doesn't bend too much. Cut slowly, only in one direction, and don't turn the blade while you cut.
When you're done, flip the disk over and note the abundant burrs on the other side. Do not fret--this is why we have the next step!
Step 4: Sand!
Tear off a bit of sand paper and fold it in half, and stick this into a notch. The goal here is twofold: smooth out the inside of the notch, and also slightly widen and round the place where it meets the edge of the disk, which will make it easier to notch your strands while braiding.
Do this until you think your fingers will fall off, then do it some more, and eventually you'll be finished. Then it's time to braid!
Step 5: Braid!
That's all there is to it! A super-cheap kumihimo disk with whatever rad design you want. If you're wondering how to store it and all the thread, yard, and embroidery floss you will undoubtedly accumulate for the purpose of braiding, why not dig out your dusty old Case Logic? It was made for keeping these things from getting cracked, after all, and the pockets can hold string and finished cord, too. Happy braiding!