Introduction: Braiding Eight Cords Into a Flat Braid

Picture of Braiding Eight Cords Into a Flat Braid

Everyone can braid things, right? Can you braid more than 3 things? Here is how to braid 8 strands of cord, string, yarn, leather strips or you name it.

Step 1: Start With 4 and Double Down

Picture of Start With 4 and Double Down

Take four strands of cord, string, yarn, or these things which are the "self ties" out of old yoga pants.

Step 2: Belt Buckle

Picture of Belt Buckle

While the purpose of this instructable is how to braid, you will need something to start on. A great looking belt buckle like this cat belt buckle from the mid 1970s will work very nicely.

Step 3: Stabilize Your Work

Picture of Stabilize Your Work

Stabilize the belt buckle so you can tug on it a little bit. I tied a cord on the belt buckle, then tied the cord around a chair leg. Depending on the size of the chair, tug all you want.

Step 4: Attach One Cord

Picture of Attach One Cord

Starting with the belt buckle upside down, take the first cord, fold in half and make a loop.
Feed the loop under the belt buckle end.
Fold the loop down over the cord ends.
Bring the cord ends up through the loop.
Pull tight.
In the knotting world, this is lark's head.

Step 5: Attach the Other Three Cords

Picture of Attach the Other Three Cords

Do the same with each of your cords doubling the cords and ending up with 8 cords to braid.
In the image from left to right, there are 2 blacks, 2 blues, 2 grays and 2 blacks.

Step 6: 5th Over 4th

Picture of 5th Over 4th

Always count from left to right, 1 through 8.
Starting with the 5th cord (gray) from the left, put it over the 4th cord (blue.)
The colors are now black, black, blue, gray, blue, gray, black, black.

Step 7: 3rd Over 2nd, 2nd Over 4th. Confused? Look at Photo

Picture of 3rd Over 2nd, 2nd Over 4th. Confused? Look at Photo

Take the 3rd cord (blue) and put it over the 2nd cord (black.)
Then continue that same black cord over the 5th gray one.
The colors are now black, blue, gray, black, blue, gray, black, black.

Step 8: 7th Over 6th, Under 5th, Over 4th

Picture of 7th Over 6th, Under 5th, Over 4th

Take the 7th cord (black) and put it over the 6th cord (gray), then under the 5th cord (blue) then over the 4th cord (black.)
The colors are now black, blue, gray, black, black, blue, gray, black.

Step 9: 1st Over 2nd, Under 3rd, Over 4th

Picture of 1st Over 2nd, Under 3rd, Over 4th

Take the 1st cord and put it over the 2nd, under the 3rd, over the 4th.
The colors are now blue, gray, black, black, black, blue, gray, black.

Step 10: 8th Under 7th, Over 6th, Under 5th, Over 4th

Picture of 8th Under 7th, Over 6th, Under 5th, Over 4th

Take the 8th cord and put it under the 7th, over the 6th, under the 5th and over the 4th.
Now the colors are blue, gray, black, black, black, black, blue, gray.
The whole thing is rather loosely braided at this point.

Step 11: Tighten Up

Picture of Tighten Up

Time to tighten it all up a little. Tug a little on each cord and pushing the braided parts closer together.

Step 12: Braid Left Cord, Then Right Cord

Picture of Braid Left Cord, Then Right Cord

Take the 1st cord (the blue one in this case)and put it over the 2nd, under the 3rd and over the 4th.
Take the 8th cord (gray) and put it under the 7th, over the 6th, under the 5th and over 4th.
The colors are now gray, black, black, gray, blue, black, black, blue.

Step 13: Left - Over, Under, Over. Right - Under, Over, Under, Over

Picture of Left - Over, Under, Over. Right - Under, Over, Under, Over

Looking at another way, take the left most cord (gray) and put it over, under and over.
Take the right most cord (blue) and put it under, over, under, over over the gray.
The colors are now black, black, gray, blue, gray, blue, black, black.

Step 14: Left - Over, Under, Over. Right - Under, Over, Under and Over.

Picture of Left - Over, Under, Over. Right - Under, Over, Under and Over.

Always take the left most cord first and put it over, under, over.
Then take the right most cord and put it under, over, under and over.
The colors are now black, gray, blue black, black, gray, blue, black.

Step 15: Braid. Tighten. Repeat.

Picture of Braid. Tighten. Repeat.

Left cord: over, under, over.
Right cord: under, over, under, over.
Tighten. Repeat.

Step 16: Just End It All

Picture of Just End It All

To end it, tack down the ends either straight across or in a "V" shape. Third image is machine sewn in the "V" shape. Select a thread color to either match or contrast your braided colors and using a tight zigzag stitch, machine sew following your previous stitches. Trim the ends. Done.


km4n95 (author)2016-04-18

can you build a belt with out the belt buckle so that you can take buckle off if you dont want that buckle on the belt

bjw414 (author)2016-03-25

thank you for the instructions.

i would like to make a belt that is 1.5 inches wide.

do you know what diameter cord should be used?

hammer9876 (author)bjw4142016-03-26

Sorry, I don't know. Besides the diameter of the cord, it depends on how tight you braid, too. You will just have to try it and see.

ConnorF12 (author)2016-03-20

Were those cords actually out of old yoga pants, or did you buy them as a spool?

tinycatd (author)2015-04-24

Looks alittle confusing but I'm sure once you know how it won't be.

hammer9876 (author)tinycatd2015-04-24

It's one of those instructables where you have to follow along with cords in your hands. Once you start seeing the pattern, it becomes easier. At least that is how I learn things.

blackarrow745 (author)2015-01-02

So I liked this post some time ago and decided that I may use it one day. The day has come. I present to you the Über belt! It is six feet tall! totally unusable as a belt for me, maybe a sumo could make use of it though :) thanks for the post. I for one have enjoyed it very much!

hammer9876 (author)blackarrow7452015-01-02

Wow! It looks like six inches wide, too! Good to hear that you enjoyed my Instructable!

gemtree made it! (author)2014-05-18

This is three of the braided spalled obsidian chips. I spalled the obsidian, ground off the edges and wrapped the pieces in the wire braids. Thanks so much for sharing the braid tutorial. :D

hammer9876 (author)gemtree2014-05-18

Those are really interesting. I am glad my instructable helped you. Thanks for the photo.

gemtree (author)2014-05-02

This works GREAT with wire. I made a bezel for holding stones out of it and laced the heck out of it across the top and bottom of the stones.

hammer9876 (author)gemtree2014-05-02

Pictures, please!

gemtree (author)hammer98762014-05-18

I posted it!

jimiane (author)2013-07-12

What is the recommended ratio for length of starting cord to finished end product? I.e., 5 feet of cord would make how long of a belt on average?

studleylee (author)jimiane2013-12-17

I'm going to try this and after about 3 sections repeated, measure along a strand with a
flexible ruler then figure the needed length out.

hammer9876 (author)jimiane2013-07-13

See response dated Jun 22, 2010. 6:43 AM. I hate to be so blunt, but really, there are too many variables. Your best bet would probably be to cut four lengths of two yards or meters each, double them giving you eight cords, then braid them, and see how long the finished result is. Experimentation is your key. Good luck.

liontroll (author)2012-12-29

AWESOME! Thank you. Very wise to use a variety of colors for the instructable... Makes it much easier to follow. Keep it up!

mysss (author)2010-06-20

I agree; I would like to see more designs for bracelets. I'm really into knot tying and this sort of braiding, and I've never seen/known of this method for finishing a braid/plait. Have you tried this with round cord/string? If so, does it work as well as with the flat stuff used in the instructable? Thanks.

hammer9876 (author)mysss2010-06-20

I am kind of at a loss for finishing it. I have yet to figure out a good way of doing it. Any suggestions? And yes, it does work well with round cord/string.

mysss (author)hammer98762010-06-21

The only way I've ever done it is by melting the string (I only ever use synthetic string, for the most part, because for some reason I can never find anything else) so that the ends of everything fuse together. Now, this method kind of sucks, and I presume grows much more impractical if you try it on something larger, such as this project. Or flatter, actually, for that matter. I guess I should elaborate on "sucks." I mean that it's difficult to get it to look good, and it's pretty crude. I'm not sure how well the method someone else suggested (using a hot blade/wire to cut off the ends) works, because I've actually been waiting for an order of new (cheap) knives to arrive before I try it (I don't want to risk my beloved pocketknife this way, and I actually just found out about the method of heating a knife...). It seems to me that this wouldn't work as well for this purpose, even though it finishes the ends of individual cords nicely, since the melting is much more localized than using an actual match/lighter/gas stove flame (lighters work best, I think. I've seen my dad use the stove, and have burned myself with matches doing this [don't judge me]), but this is only a guess. A footnote to both that and my own suggestion is only to use the method on synthetics, not natural fibers which burn instead of melt. Good luck finding a way that satisfies you! (And keep us posted.)

as.2 (author)mysss2012-07-18

I've made a belt similar to this one. Though, I did it by starting with the pieces being doubled (but unevenly, with one being WAY longer) I then braided the belt to the length that I wanted, and "turned around" and wove each piece back to the top. This was a long process, but it did finish the belt nicely.

sissy hall (author)2012-05-11

Hi, we're very new to the paracord braiding & such. We are currently just doing the bracelets but want to do the rifle slings & dog collars & ect. But we are not very well versed in computers. (Our youngest 16 yr old says get in this century woman!) He laughs at us! But if ya'll can give us any suggestions on were to start it would be great. Thanks. All of your things look awesome!

BurnTheVeil (author)2011-11-27

Fantastic^_^ I joined this site today after reading this, my crafts involved used guitar string wire, macrame and leather, so I was trolling sites looking for new weaves. This I've seen before but always with 8, my cat decided to steal one of my shoestrings I was practicing with so I did it with 7. Turned out cute! Thanks for posting!

hammer9876 (author)BurnTheVeil2011-11-27

I am flattered. I bet you find lots of good ideas on Instructables. Post your projects and share your knowledge!

hammer9876 (author)2011-04-12

See response dated Jun 22, 2010. 6:43 AM

abylu (author)2010-10-08

Im making a denim 8 strand flat braid bracelet for a gift.. my friend's birthday is this sunday, I think I'll be posting some pictures after I finished it. BTW thanks for the instructable.. it was very easy to follow...

hammer9876 (author)abylu2010-10-08

Thank you! Please post your photos of your bracelet before you give it away.

ajabc94abc (author)2010-06-21

How long should the cords be? I'm making a belt. All I have to know if it has to be twice as long as your waist measurement, three times, etc... I'll try it out with extra, but I would appreciate if you would get back to me. Otherwise, I am so excited to try this! It looks great :)

hammer9876 (author)ajabc94abc2010-06-22

Like I said, "the purpose of this instructable is how to braid." It is not an instructable on how to make a belt. :-) That said, the lengths needed would depend on too many factors, like how long do you want the belt, what kind of material (thick, thin, round), and how tight or loose your braiding ends up. You would have to experiment with your material and go from there. I am sorry, I can't be more specific than that.

ladyKrone (author)2010-06-19

My husband and I are involved in a "living history" group, and this braid makes a fantastic belt. You can also braid using embroidery thread or thin ribbon to make very interesting looking trim for clothing, too. Great instructable!

hammer9876 (author)ladyKrone2010-06-20

Thank you for your kind words and even better, more ideas! When you think about it, add some photos here of your trim. Or a link to your instructables for living history clothing! With trims of course.

platinum15 (author)2010-04-28

 LOVE IT!!!!!

platinum15 (author)platinum152010-04-28 still confuzzled about the braiding part tho :\

hammer9876 (author)platinum152010-04-28

All I can suggest is to try it. Maybe the words and photos will be less confuzzling once you have cords in your hands. Good luck.

platinum15 (author)hammer98762010-04-28


student.mckinney (author)2009-10-26

Can this be done with more than eight, just continuing the pattern as necessary? i wanna make some visibly woven shoes, and this looks pretty suitable for it if i can get it wide enough.

I admit that I haven't tried it, but I would think any even number of strands (4, 6, 8, 10, +) would work. My mind can't grasp the pattern with an odd number. Seems like it might work, but maybe not, and I would hate to tell everyone that it works without trying it first. Stick to the even numbers of strands.

I hope you are planning an instructable for the shoes!

bootspur (author)hammer98762010-02-15

I am new to this message board and site. I am wondering if you might be able to tell me what the necklace is called by that we men wear that appears to be made from leather, is braided OR woven the proper term I am unsure of, they are very thick and very sexy... Can you tell me what they are called?

Musicman41 (author)hammer98762009-12-15

You can do an odd number.  You do the exact same thing, except you continue weaving until you are just passed the middle strand.

alandrak (author)2010-02-11

I did this today with some embroidery floss I found. I screwed up about 7 times, but it still looks nice, I think. Thanks for the instructable!

hammer9876 (author)alandrak2010-02-11

You are welcome, but photos! We need photos!

starrymirth (author)2010-01-12

Thank you very much, this is awesome. 

I have attached pictures of my first two attempts.
The first white one is still in progress, out of 8 strands of string as I was learning how. It doesn't yet have a purpose (and I have no insight for how to end it.)

The second one, which I would not recommend  for those without large amounts of patience (It nearly drove me crazy with frustration and took me several hours) is 16 strands of multi-core wire.
It was initially going to be a cool cable, but later we figured it wouldn't fit into the connectors well, so I made it into a bracelet, by soldering the wires onto another connector and neatening it up with heat shrink. 

May I suggest a slight name change to the 7th step? (Step 7: 3rd over 2nd, 2nd over 4th.) I got stuck several times, because I only read the text and didn't pay too much attention to the pictures, I didn't notice that the 2nd strand laid over the 4th.

Otherwise, excellent 'ible!

hammer9876 (author)starrymirth2010-01-12

Hello starrymirth, Thank you for the comments and photos. You are right about step seven. I may have to change it to, "3rd over 2nd, 2nd over 4th. Confused? Look at photo!" It was difficult to write the steps out and get the photos matched up. Apparently I didn't do it perfectly.

Rob K (author)2008-09-05

Nice 5/5 I'm going to give this a try. I need a new belt because the old one I have the leather weave is getting stretched out. I will put up a picture if I get it done.

hammer9876 (author)Rob K2008-09-05

Great! Let these people know how much leather you started with and the finished size!

Rob K (author)hammer98762008-09-06

I did not use leather or a belt buckle. This was nylon 1/8" utility line that was gray and white. The buckle itself is two 1.5 Inch steel rings.

4 strands a 12 feet I just went twice my height per strand.

I don't have a way to measure the belt so I will just use the nose to tip of fingers method . Belt goes from tip of fingers to nose then back along the belt to the elbow. Guessing around 42-48 Inches long.

Any way to add more stars for having good directions?

hammer9876 (author)Rob K2008-09-07

Thanks for more photos! Here's one way to add stars:

Rob K (author)hammer98762008-09-07

LOL. I just was saying that your directions where easy to follow.

Rob K (author)Rob K2009-12-17

I still use mine. It still works great.

hammer9876 (author)Rob K2009-12-17

Great! An instructable that someone actually used! Awesome! :-)

About This Instructable



More by hammer9876:"Q-U-I-L-T Spells Quilt""Scrappy Double Irish Chain" Quilt"Pink and Blue Log Cabin" Quilt
Add instructable to: