At the first meeting that I attended of the Trillium Embroidery Guild in November 2008 one of the members gave a workshop on Kumihimo, Japanese Braiding. She was well organized, explained the technique very clearly and had discs ready that she had created for us to practice the technique ourselves. After the meeting, I filed the information away for future reference.
Today, I dug the handout out and downloaded the template to make my own disc. I used the top of a margarine container and used this template to cut the notches.
I taped it onto the margarine container lid and cut around the circle and then snipped at each line.
There are lots of YouTube videos on the subject.
I used 8 strands (four strands folded in half and tied a knot creating a loop) of Cascade 220 yarn in two colours and began braiding according to the instructions. After about an hour and a half, I had 17" of braid completed. I tied off the end and snipped the ends evenly.
What impressed me most was how even the braiding was.
One can use any size cord or yarn. This one used 8 strands of worsted weight yarn and yielded a cord almost 1/4" thick. If I had used four different colours, they would have twisted in order.
These cords can be used for drawstrings, ties for hats, hangers or finishing around small framed needlework pieces, ties or trims, etc.
It would be a very inexpensive craft for kids. Adding a ring in the loop and a shorter braid, it would make a key ring. One could make a friendship bracelet with longer cord. With very long strands of yarn or cord, one could make a lanyard.