Check out 3 different ways to make your own DIY Kumihimo Disk out of foam, cardboard, or chipboard. Braiding friendship bracelets has never been so easy!
I’m not the kind of person who handles idleness well. If I’m awake, I’m doing something. Heck, if I’m asleep I’m typically dreaming about doing something. And with staying home now more than ever I’m finding myself doing things like watching television a lot more than I ever have before. But I can’t just sit there and watch television. If I try, I just about go nuts. And so I do thinks like crochet or latch hook or Kumihimo to keep my hands busy and my mind settled.
Kumihimo is one of my favorite crafts because it’s easy and can be done sort of on auto-pilot. So if there’s something I want to do, like look around a lot while travelling in the car, I can craft without totally undivided attention.
After having found my Kumihimo supplies again in my most recent move, I’ve made, no joke, about 50 different braids. I’m going through rattail and a ridiculous rate and really need to order some more.
I get that a lot of us don’t have much of a crafting budget right now. With everything in turmoil right now a lot of us have a much smaller income than we did a few months ago. And some of us suddenly have NO income coming in. Though a Kumihimo disk isn’t expensive to purchase, I can get wanting to limit your expenses on a new craft while trying it out. After all, Kumihimo might be your favorite new craft but it might also not be your thing.
And so, today, we’re going to make DIY Kumihimo disks in 3 different ways.
I’d love for you to raid your yarn, embroidery floss, or other kind of cord stash and try out this fun braiding technique that can make the most fun friendship bracelets. Since I seriously dislike math I’ve made a free printable pattern for you to use to make a Kumihimo disk that is nice and symmetrical without a compass or so much as a ruler. Ready to get it?
Grab the FREE SVG File or PDF Printable Pattern to cut your wheel:
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How to Make a DIY Kumihimo Disk with a Cricut Maker
Making intricate cuts in thick chipboard by hand can be very difficult. If you have a Cricut Maker or other cutting machine that can handle chipboard grab the free SVG file. Let your machine whir and go and you can make a friendship bracelet disk without hardly any effort at all!
Pros of an SVG Cut Chipboard Disk: Takes the least amount of hands-on time to create. Is perfectly round with cord slots that are exactly the same depth in for cords made with great tension.
Cons: Requires the most expensive tools. Chipboard does not have a lot of give so the slots won’t work with thick cords. Best suited thin cords include embroidery floss or craft cord. 1mm satin cord, also known as bugtail, is doable but braids very slowly.
- Cricut Maker (Amazon | Cricut)
- StrongGrip Cutting Mat (Amazon | Cricut)
- Cricut Knife Blade & Housing
- 1.5 mm Chipboard (Amazon | Cricut)
- Masking Tape
- Brayer (optional but extremely helpful)
Download the Free SVG file. Place a piece of 1.5mm Chipboard onto a StrongGrip Cutting Mat and secure on all 4 sides with masking tape. Place your knife blade tool in the machine’s holder and use the Cricut cut setting for Damask Chipboard. While cutting keep an eye on things to ensure you don’t damage your Maker.
Using a pen or fine tip marker number the spokes on your disk. Dots placed at 8, 16, 24, and 32 are good reference points when placing your strings.
Before stringing your cord onto the disk, take piece of of cord and pull it through each of the cuts around the wheel much like flossing teeth. This will expand the cuts made by the machine so that your cord will pop into place much easier.
Because the chipboard doesn’t have as much give as cardboard or foam it might be slower going in general braiding with this friendship bracelet disk. The benefit to this tight tension, however, are really clean, tight braids.
How to Make a Friendship Bracelet Disk out of Cardboard
I’ve always had a stack of cardboard boxes in the garage from deliveries. But now with staying home to avoid getting sick, I order things to have delivered to the house that I would normally just run out and grab. As such, I’ve got TONS more cardboard than ever before. That just means I have TONS of material to make Cardboard Kumihimo disks, and you probably do, too!
Pros of a Cardboard Disk: Requires few tools. Many of us have a stash of cardboard on hand making this a no-cost option. Cardboard is easy to cut by hand. Works with both thin or thick cords.
Cons: Is the least durable of all options and wears out quickly.
- Cardboard (at least 6.5″ x 6.5″)
- Craft Knife with a Very Sharp Blade
- Cut Resistant Gloves (optional but a good idea)
Print out your free PDF and cut out the pattern around the outermost circle. Place the pattern on top of your cardboard and trace around it.
Using a sharp craft knife cut off the edges around the cardboard circle you just traced. This step will help prevent bending of your disk when cutting into a circle.
Trim down the printed pattern to the next circle. Eyeball the center and place it there. Go around the pattern marking each line. These will become the slots for the cord.
Cut the pattern down to the innermost circle. Place as near the center as you can by eye and trace.
Using a pair of sharp scissors cut each slot around the DIY Kumihimo disk first. Next trim around the outer circle to form the disk-shape.
Use a sharp craft knife to remove the center circle.
Using a pen or fine tip marker number each of the slots 1-32. Add a filled in circle to slots at 8, 16, 24, and 32 to help guide placement of strings.
How to Make a DIY Kumihimo Disk out of Craft Foam
This DIY craft foam disk is the BEST possible homemade option. Slightly thicker than my best quality store-bought Kumihimo disk, this guy goes and goes and does an amazing job. In all honesty, after you get the slots loosened up by a few turns around with your cord, you won’t even notice the difference between DIY or pre-made.
Pros of a Homemade Foam Disk: Works the most like a store-bought kumihimo disk. Is durable and will last for quite some time. Works with thin or thick cords.
Cons: You might need to make a trip to the craft store for supplies (the foam and adhesive, in particular).
- 1 sheet 9″ x 12″ Craft Foam Sheet (6mm thick)
- Cut Resistant Gloves
- Craft Knife with a Very Sharp Blade
- Cut Resistant Gloves (optional but a good idea)
Cut a 9″ x 12″ 6mm thick sheet of craft foam in half along the long edge.
Glue the two 6″ x 9″ pieces of foam together to form one 12mm thick piece of foam. Allow the glue plenty of time to dry. Allow the glue plenty of time to dry so your blade doesn’t get stuck as you cut.
(Follow the first 4 steps of the cardboard disk tutorial) Print out your PDF pattern and cut the disk shape out along the outermost circle. Place on top of your foam and trace the circle using a felt tip pen or fine tip marker. Cut the pattern down to the next circle and place it in the center of the first circle you drew. Follow the lines on the pattern to draw the cord slots around the disks edge. Cut the pattern down to the innermost circle, place in the center of the foam and trace.
Using a sharp craft knife trim away the excess foam from the outer circle. Next use the craft knife to cut the slots around the disk’s outer edge. Cut away the inner circle with the craft knife as well.
Use a pair of sharp scissors to trim the outermost circle.
Number each of the slots 1-32. Place a filled in circle in the slot for 8, 16, 24, and 32 as a guide for cord placement.
Convenient Printable Directions
DIY Kumihimo Disk
- 6mm Craft Foam OR
- If using foam, cut a 9" x 12" 6mm thick sheet of craft foam in half. Glue the two 6" x 9" pieces of foam together to form one 12mm thick piece of foam. Allow the glue plenty of time to dry.
- Print the pattern in the free downloadable zip file. Trim the template by cutting around the outermost circle. Trace the circle onto your foam or cardboard.
- Using a sharp craft knife cut off the edges around the circle you just traced.
- Trim down the printed pattern to the next circle. Eyeball the center and place it there. Go around the pattern marking each line. These will become the slots for the cord.
- Cut the pattern down to the innermost circle. Place as near the center as you can by eye and trace.
- Using a pair of sharp scissors cut each slot around the DIY Kumihimo disk first. Next trim around the outer circle to form the disk-shape.
- Use a sharp craft knife to remove the center circle.
- Using a pen or fine tip marker number each of the slots 1-32. Add a filled in circle to slots at 8, 16, 24, and 32 to help guide placement of strings.
Rather buy than DIY?
Kumihimo disks are typically a really reasonably priced craft tool. But not all Kumihimo disks are created equal… Here are my favorite disks to buy if you’re not in the mood to DIY…
- Round Kumihimo Disk (32 Slots)
- 64 Slot Kumihimo Disk (for braids with up to 40 strings)
- Round Kumihimo Disk with Ergonomic Handle
- Kumihimo Beginners Kit (cheaper at Hobby Lobby with a coupon)
If you’re in the market for more Kumihimo supplies, check out our favorites on Amazon!