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Algae String Mizuhiki Knots


Active Time
30-45 minutes
Total Project Time
30-45 minutes
Key Concepts
Biomaterials, fiber arts
This knot tying activity was created by Corinne Takara of Nest Makerspace and Okada Design.
Knots tied from algae string in various colors arranged in a circle


Cultures around the world have developed knots for many uses. For example, the Inca people used knotted cords called Quipu for collecting data, keeping calendars, and even military organization. In Japan, knots are used in celebrations, food prep, and garments. Elaborate paper Mizuhiki ones, such as the examples in this activity are tied to mark important life events. Educators, a lesson plan is also available for this topic.

This activity is not recommended for use as a science fair project. Good science fair projects have a stronger focus on controlling variables, taking accurate measurements, and analyzing data. To find a science fair project that is just right for you, browse our library of over 1,200 Science Fair Project Ideas or use the Topic Selection Wizard to get a personalized project recommendation.

Design Challenge

Make your own colorful string using polymers that come from algae. Then tie them into elaborate knots!


  • Algae String

Note: First, create your string using the Make String from Algae activity.


Try tying some Mizuhiki knots! Place your algae string on top of the images below and follow the arrows.

Awaji Knot

The Awaji knot is a symbol of affection or togetherness. (View a larger version of the awaji knot.)
Visual steps for tying an Awaji knot

To tie the Awaji knot, start from the middle of your string. Create a loop. We will call the top string of the loop the A-end and the bottom string of the loop the B-end. Make a second look with the B-end. Close the second loop by crossing the B-end over the A-end. Make a third loop by weaving the B-end under and over the other loop strands ending with the A and B-ends parallel to each other at the top of the knot.

Learn More
Awaji Knot

Ume Knot

The Ume (plum blossom) knot is often used in weddings as it does not unravel easily. (View a larger version of the ume knot.)
Visual steps for tying an Ume knot

To tie the Ume knot, start with the Awaji kot. Take the B-end and head straight towards the heart of the knot crossing over the first intersection of loops, under the second intersection of loops, and finally over the last loop. Next, take the A-end and head straight towards the heart of the knot crossing over the first loop, under both of the loop intersections, and finally over the top of the last loop. Now the knot is done and both the A and B-ends should be coming out the bottom of the knot on top of the central loop.

Additional Resources

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