In this post, I’ll be showing you how to make two types of Marudai, a kumihimo (Japanese braiding) loom.
Kumihimo is a Japanese method of braiding thread into cords and ribbons. It produces a strong and nicely defined cord and is fairly quick and simple, making this an ideal craft activity for kids or while sat in front of the telly. I’ll be putting up a basic “How To Braid” in later posts, but for now I’ll be showing how to make the loom that’s needed.
Kumihimo equipment can be difficult to find and often expensive but it’s cheap and simple to make a basic loom.
This is a small, handheld disc, suitable for making short lengths of braid, such as friendship bracelets and is ideal for kids. The craft foam I’ve used holds the threads in place nicely as you weave and could easily fit in a pocket or handbag.
You will need:
- 1 sheet of 2mm EVA craft foam.
- PVA glue
- Craft knife and scissors
- Some way of drawing a couple of circles
I bought an A2 sheet of 2mm EVA foam at the local $2 shop. You won’t need that much, an A4 sheet would do just fine. It’s nice and flexible, easy to cut and work with. You could use card or even wood, but cheap and easy is what I’m aiming for here.
Draw 3 circles on your foam, each one about 10cm in diameter. I used a tin lid for this.
Cut them out using craft knife. Or scissors. Your choice. It doesn’t need to be exactly perfect as you can always tidy things up later, but getting it good enough at this point will save you time.
Spread a thin layer of PVA glue over the faces of two of the circles, join them together, place a weight on top and leave for 24 hours for the glue to set.
In the center of your newly-glued disc, draw a circle about 3cm diameter (I used a 20c coin) and cut it out. If you need to tidy up any of the edges on the outside, this is a good point to do so.
Next up, you need to mark it out. Draw a 1cm line at each quarter, like the points of a compass. Put a dot just under the North point as it’ll stop confusion later on. Turn the disc through 45 degrees and mark another 4 points, giving you 8 in total.
Now mark another line halfway between each. This should give you 16 lines. Give them a quick count just to make sure.
Mark another line halfway between each of the 16 lines. This will give us 32 lines, each about a centimetre apart.
Using a sharp pair of scissors, make a 1cm along each of your 32 lines. And that’s it, you’re done! If you want to give it a paint job or number the cuts, feel free to do so but it’ll work just as well without.