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Braiding Star FAQ and General Instructions


Some background about braiding stars: The use of a braiding star comes from Japan and the technique is at least 1000 years old. The braiding technique is known in Japan as Kumihimo. Kumi means braids and Himo means cord.This ancient technique was used to make both functional and decorative cords. 

What will my braiding star look like? This 5 mm thick wool felted braiding star is four inches in diameter and has 8 slots, which means you can weave a cord of up to 7 strands thick. The result is a strong, seven strand, braided cord.

What kind of things can I make? You can use hemp cord to make a boho headpiece and attach flowers, use yarn to make friendship bracelets, or use any fiber you wish, really to make things like these: hemp crowns, headbands, hair ties, bracelets, anklets, necklaces, shoe laces, wind chime cords to tie shells or sea glass onto, decorative cords to hang as garland or hang vertically from ceilings, window frames or door frames.

What you make is really open to the imagination!

What kind of fiber should I use? We recommend yarns of wool, silk or blended yarns (wool/silk blends) but our staff has also used hemp twine lately to braid Boho headbands. They then attached flowers using hot glue or by hand stitching them. One of our staff is experimenting with beaded wool yarn blends, a nice yarn with tiny beads already woven throughout the yarn. 

Will you explain some basic directions so I can decide if my child can do this or not?:  Sure! We’ve had children in our family as young as four using these stars. It helps them develop their fine motor and eye-hand coordination. Once they get the hang of it through us modeling the motions and pattern, they returned day after day to add to their braids and were always so proud of their accomplishments. Of course, the older your child is, the less help and modeling they need before they catch on. 

Here is a basic overview:
  1. Tie the ends of all seven threads together so it forms a knot on one end.  
  2. Put the knot through the hole in the middle of the felt flower so that your short tail fibers stick out the back.
  3. Place a thread in each notch on the top side (there will be one vacant notch).
  4. Turn the Star so that the vacant notch is in front of and closest to you. 
  5. Count three spaces to the left from the vacant notch, take that strand and move it to the vacant notch.  
  6. Turn the star so that the new vacant notch is in front of and closest to you. 
  7. Count three spaces to the left from the vacant notch, take that strand and move it to the vacant notch.
  8. Repeat until done.  
Helpful Hints:
  1. Continue in the same direction the entire time.
  2. Leave enough room to tie off your threads with the same type of knot at both ends.
    You will lose about 1/3 of the length of your starting strands to the braid so cut the starting strings at least 1/3 longer than what you want.
  3. Run your fingers through the long pieces of yarn after each twist so the ends don’t get tangled. 
Variations:
  1. Once you or your children get the hang of it, try variations, like every second or every fourth cord (just stay consistent through the entire piece) to see the effects.
  2. Try going to the right instead of the left.
  3. Vary the tension while holding your strings tight and up close for a tighter, smaller braid or hold it looser and further out for a looser braid (looser is the more common method taught).