Here you'll find a link to my very first guide to braiding, which I've aptly name "The Braid-tionary."
The Script took a long time to write and is filled with lots of information, so if you're interested, read it here:
One Strand Braid:
The first braid I'm going to show you is a simple one strand. Here I'm sectioning a piece of my mannequins hair and just looping and knotting it. AThink of a needle and thread and how you'd have to knot the ends of the thread before beginning to sew, because thats basically what this is.
Single knots are great anchors for flowers or other kinds of accessories, and they can also work well as fillers for complicated updos.
One Strand Lace Braid:
In this version of the one strand braid, I'm adding hair into it as I go along, thus extending the length of the braid well past that of my mannequins actual length. And its a very simple pattern. Section a piece of hair, knot it, add in another piece of hair, knot it, and so on. I recently filmed a crown of flowers hair idea, by creating a series of these lace knots all the way around my head, which you can see here.
Two Strand Knot Braid:
This is by far one of the easiest and quickest of the two strand braid patterns. Section a piece of hair and divide into two. Imagine tying the laces of a shoe, and thats basically what this is, just a series of square knots going down the length of the hair. The result almost always resembles that of a chain link, at least in my opinion, and again it makes a great filler for some updos, or can be worn as is.
Two Strand Knot Ponytail:
In this version, gather all of your hair to one side and split it in two. Again this is nothing but a series of square knots with an elastic at the end tying it together. Click the link in the right corner if you'd like to see a video I filmed, incorporating this idea. Its from a few years back, but I still think it's a pretty workable style.
French Two Strand Knot Braid.
Here I'm starting at the top of the mannequins head, sectioning a piece of hair from along the forehead. Divide the hair into two and make a normal square knot. Before moving on, gather another section of hair from the side of the head and add it into the strand on the right, and then do the exact same thing on the left. When you've done this, make another square knot.Essentially its the exact same thing as a two strand knot braid, with the exception of the hair you are adding in as you go along.For two hair ideas that incorporate this two strand technique you can click on either of these images, the first being inspired by Black Sails and the second by something Amanda Seyfried wore.To see a "French" version of a two strand braid, click this third image.
To do a rope braid, separate a section of hair into two pieces, and twist both of these sections in the same direction. Here I'm moving them towards the right. When you've got this done, twist them together in the opposite direction, which in this case was towards the left. Obviously it doesn't matter how you start this, so long as the two strands are twisted in the same direction. You could twist them both to the left and then to the right and it'll work exactly the same way. Once the elastic is in, you'll find that this is actually a very secure braid.Click the picture to see a style that I've name the Celtic Knot, which exclusively uses a series of these rope braids.
Rope Twist Braid:
Gather a section of hair and divide it into two. Don't twist the individual strands. Instead, carefully wrap them around each other. Its literally that simple and the reason I like this braid is because it sometimes feels and looks softer then the traditional rope braid. You'll probably notice that its a little looser too, but this is easily remedied by just twisting the twist. Click this image if you'd like to see how I used this braid to create Sansa Stark's Tyrell twists.And click either of the following images to see a French Crown Braid version of the two strand twist.And lastly, if you'd like to see a style that involves both the rope twist and braid, click this picture of my Daenerys Targaryen Season 4 inspired hair.
The Caterpillar Braid:
Gather a section of hair and pinch off a small strand from either side. Here I took from the left, but it works just the same on the right as well.Curl the smaller section over the main piece, then wrap it under and through that loop.Add the end of that small section back to the main portion of hair, and split off a new piece. Follow the pattern. Curl it over the large section, fold it under and loop it through. Repeat this until you get to the ends of your hair.Click the image if you'd like to see these braids incorporated into an easy updo.
Double Caterpillar Braid:
The double caterpillar braid is one of my favorites and I've been using it alot lately in many of my Vikings inspired ideas. Start in the same way you would if you were doing a regular caterpillar braid. Like before, I broke a piece off the left side, curled it over the main section, wrapped it around and then through the loop.The difference here is that when you add the smaller piece back to the main section, your next little bit will come from the opposite side, which in this demonstration was on the right. And its the same pattern of over and under the larger section and through the loop.
Continue this to the ends of your hair and then tie with an elastic.
Click on either of the following pictures to be taken to two different videos that employ the use of a double caterpillar braid. Both looks were inspired by the Viking character of Lagertha.
If you'd like to see a "french" version of a double caterpillar braid click this image. I don't think it should come as a surprise that I've name this one the Butterfly Braid.
The Fuzzy Caterpillar Braid:
Here I've gathered all the hair into a ponytail, but you can do this braid on smaller sections of hair as well.Take a piece from either side of the ponytail and tie them together in a square knot.Flip the hair up, and use the same two strands to tie another knot on the underside. Next add alittle more hair from your ponytail, into both of the smaller sections, and repeat the steps. Square knot on the top, square knot on the bottom, add more hair into both sections and continue.Eventually you'll either run out of hair, or the ends will be alittle scraggly, so here I'm just wrapped them around my finger and folding them under with a pin.
Lace Caterpillar Braid:
Here Ive sectioned a piece of hair near my face, and I've begun by breaking a piece off on the right side, wrapping it under and looping it through in normal caterpillar braid fashion.Once you've got the first pass done, add the little piece back to the larger section. Instead of using the loose hair thats already in your hand for a new bit, pick a piece from along the hairline and use that to wrap over, under and through the loop. And thats all there is to it. Instead of using new pieces of hair from that larger piece, pick them up from your hair line. Personally I think this makes for a really pretty braid.
Lace Double Caterpillar Braid:
This is almost the exact same thing as the previous braid. The only difference is you are making links on both sides of the braid, while adding in the hair.
To make a fishtail braid, gather a section of hair and divide into two pieces. Separate a small piece of hair from the outside of the right side, and cross it over, joining it to the left side. Now take a small piece of hair from the outside of the left section and cross it over to the right side.Continue repeating these simple steps until you get to the ends of your hair.Just in case you're unfamiliar, this is one of the braids that you'll see alot of in the Lord of the Ring and Hobbit films, so if you're into the elvish style, this is definitely one for you to learn! Click the image if you'd like to see an easy updo that uses all fishtails.
French Fishtail Braid:
To begin a french fishtail braid, section a piece of hair from the front of the head and split it into two. Here I crossed the right strand over the left.Next pick up a piece of hair from along your hairline on the left side of you head and cross it over to the right. Then pick up a piece of hair from the hairline on the right side and cross that to left.Repeat the steps until all of your hair has been added into the braid.Just a little side note, but this braid is one of my least favorites, because my fine hair seems to fall out of it almost as soon as I've finished pulling it all back. To remedy this I've had to split my hair into two to get it to hold better.Click the picture to see how I turned these two French pigtails into an easy little updo.
Three Strand Braid, folding the strands over:
Starting from right to left, number the strands 1, 2, and 3. Fold 1 over 2. One is now in strand 2's position. Go back to the right and rename them again, 1, 2, and 3. Now fold 3 over 2 - strand 3 will now sit in 2's position. Go back to the right and rename the strands again, 1, 2, and 3. Repeat.Right to left - 1 over 2, then 3 over 2. You're basically crossing the outer strands over the middle, over and over.
Three Strand Braid, Folding the Strands Under:
The pattern is exactly the same, only this time the strands are folded underneath one another. So from right to left they are still 1, 2, and 3. 1 under 2, and then 3 under 2.
One Strand Uneven Braid:
This braid is basically a regular three strand braid, but instead of dividing the hair into three equal strands, divide the hair into even strands, and one tiny. The uneven sections create a really cool little pattern.
Two Strand Uneven Braid:
Again this is basically a regular three strand braid - divide the hair into 2 thin sections and one large section. Click the picture to see how I applied this braid technique to a summer hair idea.
Figure 8 Braid:
To start a figure 8 braid, divide the hair into two even pieces, and section a small piece off of the right side. Use this smaller piece to wrap over the right section, then under the left, then over the left and lastly, back under the right. Its an extremely easy pattern to create and remember, but one of the problems that I always run into is that the small piece I use to wrap around runs out quickly.
So as an alternative I'll often use a piece of ribbon instead. Tie it around your hair elastic, divide the hair into two, and just begin the pattern. Over right, under left, over left and then under right.
Divide the hair into three pieces, with the middle section being thicker then the outer two. In this demonstration I'm starting by folding the outermost left strand, over the center one, and I'm using the right most strand by laying it over the left, then under the center section and through the loop on the left side. And then of course you tighten the stitch. Next part of the pattern is taking the outermost right side, folding it over the center, and using the left most strand to fold over the under and then through the loop.To be very honest this isn't a favorite braid of mine, and truth be told a double caterpillar braid looks very similar to this, and is also a lot easier to do. But I felt I'd include this one, just in case, because I'm sure some of you will like this one.
Zig Zag Braid:
Start by making a regular three strand braid.When you get to the ends of your hair grab on to the center strand and carefully slide the other two up the center. I'm not a huge fan of this braid either, because it generally leaves you with a scraggly center strand for a braid tail, but I did use it for a White Queen hair idea with some ribbon and if you're interested click the picture to go to the video.
When doing a French Braid the strands are folded over one another. Start by making a section at the front of the head and split it into three. From right to left name the strands, 1, 2, and 3. Begin this as you would if you were doing a regular braid by folding 1 over 2 and then 3 over 2.
Rename the strands from right to left 1, 2, and 3.Now, add some hair to strand 1 from along your hairline and fold it over 2.
Do the same on the other side of your head by adding hair to strand 3 from your hairline and fold that over 2 as well.And thats basically the gist of it. The pattern is the same as a regular 3 strand braid with the exception of hair being added into strands 1 and 3 before they're folded over 2. Continue this pattern until all of the hair is added into the braid.
When doing a Dutch braid the strands are folded under one another and thats what creates the pop up effect.
Create a section at the top of you head, and like before split it in three and name the strands from right to left 1, 2, and 3. Fold 1 under 2, and then 3 under 2. Go back and rename the strands from right to left, 1, 2, and 3.Like before, section another piece of hair from along the hairline, add it to strand 1 before folding it under 2. Then again, add hair from along your hairline to strand 3 and fold that under 2 also.
Continue this pattern until all your hair is added into the braid.
French Lace Braid:
You can create a lace braid with as many strands as you like, but for the purpose of this demonstration I'm doing a simple 3 strand braid, and of course, since its a french lace braid, the strands are folded over one another.The pattern is exactly the same as a french braid, with the exception of hair being added into only one side of the braid.
Dutch Lace Braid:
Like the French version, the dutch lace braid involves the same pattern as a regular Dutch braid. The strands are folded under one another, and hair is added into only one side of the braid.If you'd like to see how the lace braid can be applied to an actual hair idea, click on any of the following images and they'll lead you to the matching videos.
Grab a section of hair and split it into three. Begin a normal three strand braid and do a few passes. When thats finished, drop the lower strand and section out a new strand with hair beside the braid. Fold this new strand into the braid, continuing the pattern of dropping and picking up strands.Click on either image to see waterfall braids in action!
Four Strand "Weave" Braid:
This is just one of several different ways of doing a four strand braid, and its relatively simple.Divide the hair into four strands and name them right to left, 1, 2, 3, and 4. Fold 1 over 2, then under 3 and over 4.Go back and rename the strands from right to left, 1, 2, 3, and 4.Repeat the pattern: 1 over 2, under 3 and then over 4. Continue this the length of your hair and tie it off with an elastic of your choice.
Four Strand "X" Pattern Braid:
Gather a section of hair and divide it into 4 strands. Name these strands from right to left, 1, 2, 3, and 4. Cross 1 over 2 and 3 over four.
Go back and rename the strands from right to left, 1, 2, 3, and 4.Now cross 3 over 2.So again, name the strands from right to left, 1, 2, 3, and 4.
Strand 1 goes over 2, and strand 3 goes over 4.As you can see, the first part of the pattern just involves the 1st and 3rd strands crossing over the 2nd and 4th ones, and the second step in the stitch is crossing strand 3 over 2 in an X shape, hence the name of this braid.
Click either of the following images to see this braid come to life in an actual hair idea.
Four Strand Slide Up Braid, aka The Four Strand Celtic Braid:
Divide your hair into four pieces and name them from right to left, 1, 2, 3, and 4.Cross strand 1 over 2 and under 3. Now go back and rename the strands again from right to left, 1, 2, 3, and 4.Coming in from the other side now, strand 4 goes under 3 and then over 2.And thats basically it. 1 goes over 2 and under 3.Then from the other side, 4 goes under 3 and over 2.When you get to the very bottoms of you hair, you'll notice that there's a strand that appears to run straight through the braid, while the other ones curl around it. Hold the end of this strand and slide the other three up. Arrange accordingly.
Four Strand Box Braid aka The Round Braid:
Section a piece of hair and divide it into 4 strands. Name them, from right to left, 1, 2, 3, and 4.Strand 1 goes under 2 and 3, and then over 3.Rename the strands from right to left, 1, 2, 3, and 4Come in from the other side now. Strand 4 goes under 3 and 2, and then over 2.Go back, rename the strands from right to left, 1, 2, 3, and 4. Repeat the pattern: 1 under 2 and 3, and then over 3.4 under 3 and 2, and then over 2.Click the link in the left corner if you'd like to see alittle bit of a longer explanation of this braid.
Five Strand "Heart" Braid:
Divide a section of hair into five pieces. In this demo I've got three in my left hand and two in my right.Start with the hand holding three strands. Take the outermost strand and fold it over to the other side, which for me was the left. Now I have two strands on the left side and three on the right. So I'll take the outermost strand from the right and cross it over to the left.You could number the strands if you wanted and if you click the link in the left corner, you'll come to a video in which I did that. But honestly its not really necessary because this braid's as simple as crossing the outermost strand from left to right.
Five Strand Weave Braid.
Divide the hair into five strands and name them from right to left, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.Weave strand 1 over 2, under 3, over 4 and then under 5.In this way strand 1 is now sitting in strand 5's position.Go back and rename the strands from right to left, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.Repeat the steps: 1 over 2, under 3, over 4, and under 5.This braid's pretty similar to the 4 strand weave pattern - the only real difference is the extra strand.
Five Strand Traditional Braid:
Divide the hair into 5 strands and name them, from right to left, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.Place strand 1 over 2 and then under 3. Strand 1 will now be in strand 3's position.
Go back and rename them from right to left, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.Now from the other side, place strand 5 over 4 and under 3. Strand 5 will now be in strand 3's position. Rename them again from right to left, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Basically you're taking the outer strands and weaving them through so that they'll sit in the middle of the other strands. Its 1 over 2, and under 3, and then 5 over 4 and under 3, and so on and so on.
I've already done a few tutorials on the five strand french braid, so click either of the following pictures to see the matching videos.
Combination Braids Version 1:
Some of my favorite styles include hippie braids that join into a combination braid at the back the head. Basically this is when you take two braids, usually with the same number of strands and join them together into one.
In this version you can see I have two three strand braids on either side of my head. Here I'm just carefully laying them, one on top of the other and matching up the strands.Once they're all aligned you simply continue making your braid.
This method works perfectly for any two braids, so long as they have the same number of strands.
Combination Braids Version 2:
In this version I still have the two three strand braids, but this time I'm just going to combine strands. The goal is to take the six pieces of hair and condense them into three, so I'm joining the two on the right, the two on the left, and then the two in the center.
Again this method works with nearly any kind of braids, so long as they each have the same number of strands.
If you'd like to learn about Perimeter Braids, click either of these images to be led to the matching videos.Also, if you liked the Caterpillar and Fishtail braids, check out my Mermaid braid, which is kind of a combination of the two.
Multi Strand Braids Trick:
Once I go past five strands, especially when doing my own hair, I sometimes have a little trouble keeping track of whats what. So one of my favorite little tricks is to tie a small clear elastic around each section. When I'm finished braiding I can easily snip them out of my hair.If you'd like so see a video in which I do just that, click this image.
Multiple Strands (Weave Pattern):
Here I've got six strands tied off, and I'm starting with the outermost strand on the right. I'm weaving it over, under, over, under, and over. We could number the strands, but it really isn't necessary, because its such an easy pattern. Basically you're moving the first strand through the others, until it becomes the last strand.And it works for a braid with any number of strands. Here I've got 8 pieces and its the same pattern - the outermost section is woven under and over.
Multi Even Strand Braid, "X" Pattern:
Remember the Four strand X pattern braid? Well that method of braiding actually works on just about any even strand braid, no matter the number of strands.
Here I've got my six strands again, and I've divided them in half, so that I have three strands in each hand.
Starting with the section in my right hand, I'm going to take the outermost strand and weave it over and under the other two. That outermost strand will now be sitting in the space between the two sections.
Now on my left side, I'm going to take the outermost strand and weave it under and then over. So thats just something to remember. On the right side you begin the weave pattern by going over first, and on the left its going under first.
Now the outermost strand from the left side is also sitting in the center space. Its with these two pieces that you'll make the "X" shape, which is the next part in completing a full stitch. But its important to look at where these strands are coming from because you want them to mesh together seamlessly. The right most strand was last woven under, and the left strand was last woven over, so that'll mean the right strand will rest on top of the left to make that x shape.
Here I'm going to use the same pattern with 8 strands.I've started by dividing them in half, four in each hand.
Again beginning on my right side I'm taking the outermost strand, weaving it over, under and over.
That strand is now in the center space.On the left side I'm taking the outermost strand and weaving under, over and under.Now that strand too, will be in the center space and its with these two pieces I'll make the x.
Again look to see where they're coming from. The right strand was last woven over and the left strand was last woven under, so this means that the left will rest on top of the right in the X strand.
So one more time, so that you can see this works on any even number, I've got ten strands tied off, five in each hand.
Starting on my right side, I'm going to take the outermost strand and go over, under, over and then under.
Again that strand will now sit in the empty space between the two sections.Now on the left side, I'm going to take the outermost strand and weave it under, over, under, over, so that strand will also be in the center section.
Looking at these two pieces, I can see that the right strand was last woven under and the left was last woven over, so that means the right strand will sit on top of the left in the x pattern.
Multiple Odd Strand braids:
The pattern for braids with an odd number of strands works in pretty much the same way. It can be applied to any odd numbered braid.
Here I've got seven strands - I'm starting by putting four in my right hand, and three in the left.
You want to begin working on the section with the most strands first, so I'm taking the outermost and weaving it over, under and over. Its now passed through the strands that were in my right hand and has made it over to the left, meaning now I have four strands on the left side and three on the right.
Now take the left most strand and weave it over, under and over. Its now been passed from the left to the right hand.
So as you can see, all I'm doing is moving the outermost strands back and fourth between hands.
So just that you can see this works on all odd number strands, I've got nine pieces here tied off. Again I like to begin with my right hand, so I've got five in that hand and four in the other.Taking the outermost strand from the right I'm weaving it over, under, over and under. Its now gone from my right hand to my left.
On the left side I'm taking the outermost strand and weaving that over, under, over and under.So as you can see its the same thing, in that all I'm doing is moving the strands on the outside back and forth, from hand to hand.