Introduction: How to French Braid Your Own Hair

Picture of How to French Braid Your Own Hair
I have long hair. It can get in the way. Consequently, I keep my hair up in a french braid much of the time, and also braid it each night before bed to reduce tangling.

I've made a couple of approaches to this: I have this video, below; I have a Pinterest-style series of pictures on the first step; and I've done a step-by-step. If I were you, I'd start with the video. It gives the fullest picture. But if you need more help, the step-by-step is worded a bit differently.

I'd love if you'd comment on this to tell me which approach is most useful (or if I should keep trying several ways to do it). And of course, if you have any questions or clarifications, I respond to comments!

The video below is an overall lesson and demonstration, with voiceover and captioning:

If you need more help, continue on to read the step-by-step!

Step 1: Get a Bit of Hair From Each Side of Your Head

Picture of Get a Bit of Hair From Each Side of Your Head

Step 2: Cross Right Over Left

Picture of Cross Right Over Left

It doesn't have to be right over left, of course. But for the purposes of this Instructable, it's much easier to say right and left than "this one" and "the other side".

Step 3: Transfer to Right Hand

Picture of Transfer to Right Hand
Transfer both strands to your right hand. Keep them separate.
My technique: grab the original strand between index finger and curled middle finger. Then take the next strand by grabbing between curled index finger and thumb. This allows you, in the next step, to rock your hand forward and release the first strand.

Confusing? See the video below. I'll show you first how your hands will move (with nothing in them to braid), then on some scrap pieces of cloth. If it looks difficult, practice first! You will be doing this on the back of your own head.

Step 4: Add Hair From the Left

Picture of Add Hair From the Left

Pick up some hair with your left hand. I do this by sliding my index finger under both some hair not yet in the braid and the bottom-most lock of hair. (This hand position works with the hand technique demonstrated in the previous step.)

Step 5: Cross Left Strand and Pass to Right Hand

Picture of Cross Left Strand and Pass to Right Hand
Passing is shown in the video below (this is the same video shown two steps ago).

Step 6: Add Hair to the Right Strand

Picture of Add Hair to the Right Strand

Same as adding hair to the left, but this time with the right hand.

Step 7: And So On, and So Forth

Picture of And So On, and So Forth

Step 8: Braid the End

Picture of Braid the End

Step 9: Tie It Off

Picture of Tie It Off

Step 10: Ta Da!

Picture of Ta Da!


Kaydence herring made it! (author)2017-06-12

Not well but I did do it hurray

RC Guy (author)2012-08-16

Hey i just wanted to ask if i put a instructable in the contest and win the grand prize if i want can i change that to the first prize? just asked this question to u coz u wrk at i'bles so . Nice ible anyway coz i am a boy i can just compliment u!!!

SelkeyMoonbeam (author)RC Guy2012-08-16

If you refer to the rules, substitutions are not allowed for contest winnings. Best of luck, and thanks for the compliment!

Also, I see that you haven't posted any Instructables yet. I encourage you to write one, then sign up for a chance at a new author reward! <a href=""> fat girls hairs </a>

LadyBosS_A (author)2015-10-30

Thank you so much! It helps a lot with long hair!

midnight-diamond (author)2015-03-07

here is a picture of it

midnight-diamond (author)2015-02-17

thank you so much for this new method it worked perfectly for me despite the fact that my hair is only a few inches past my shoulders and all the other methods did not work for me. you're very talented, good job!

miranda.whitehead2 (author)2015-02-16

i can't do it

loveable09 (author)2015-01-06

Well it's pretty good for my first time, plus my hair is down to my butt

fugu08 (author)2014-12-07

my first time ever!!!!!!!

Elsa Jayne Haywood (author)2014-09-04

awesome I just learned how to French braid my own hair cause of you

That's amazing! I'm glad it worked!

JemmaA1 (author)2014-09-18

I just have to ask ... Who took the photos/How did you video yourself?

SelkeyMoonbeam (author)JemmaA12014-09-18

That's what a tripod is for! And then the photos are actually just stills from the video. But <a href="">Carleyy</a> helped too.

angelinaS31 (author)2014-09-04

By uploading such video you had given an clear idea about french braid and it seems easy also.

jtat (author)2014-06-05

so cool. how much have you practised? I wish mine looked as nice as yours


jtat (author)2014-06-04

really good :)

MacCupcake (author)2013-11-01

You obviously have been doing this a long time! I just can't seem to grasp doing that without being able to see it, it turns out so messy for me. I get so frustrated with my hair sometimes that I am just ready to cut it all off. Have you ever slammed your hair in the car door? Wrapped it around the shower controls? Knelt on it or stepped on it (when you kneeling)? Most people never experience that. BTW, my hair is about the same length as yours... and I admire yours!!

My personal least favorite things: "hello my name is" stickers that you have to wear at hair-level, chairs that have metal fastenings that your hair gets stuck in, jewelry for your hands that gets stuck while you're trying to get your hair out of the way of the sticker or the chair... but at least it wasn't as bad as when I did this: and it kept getting stepped on. Totally worth it, though.

calyad (author)2013-10-31

Thank you. I didn't think I could do this. My hair is thin and there is not much volume in a plait. It looks like a rat's tail. But I tried this and I can't get over how much stress is off the top of your head, say, compared to a bun or a pony tail. My first attempt is a bit messy, but it feels wonderful. lovely Instructable!

SelkeyMoonbeam (author)calyad2013-10-31

I'm glad it helped! I definitely agree– I have been putting my hair up in a bun more often lately, but my neck gets tired and my head starts to hurt. It's amazing how much weight there is in hair, and how much difference it makes to redistribute that weight!

calyad (author)SelkeyMoonbeam2013-11-01

Yep. Weight is a problem up to a point for me. There is not much weight in my hair compared to yours. Its the tightness of the band or the clips digging in that causes me most trouble. Oh, by the way, 'Greetings from Western Australia'!

mschouten1964 (author)2013-09-22

I didn't have a clue on how to french braid my hair, but was trying to find something my daughter could demonstrate and found this to be very easy and helpful.  Great Job!!!

Thanks- glad it's useful!

emilyvanleemput (author)2012-08-15

your hair is beautiful!

bajablue (author)2012-08-14

I pretty much live in a banana clip during the Summer months.

You make this look so easy. I might have to try it... or have hubby learn. I am all thumbs!

SelkeyMoonbeam (author)bajablue2012-08-14

It definitely comes with practice.. and starts with unfounded confidence!
Beyond basic braiding, which my mom taught me, I've taught myself many different braiding styles on my own head. You just have to reach up there and make it happen!

About This Instructable




Bio: An engineer, seamstress, cook, coder, and overall maker. Spent a summer at Instructables; got a degree in E: Neural Engineering at Olin College; made a ... More »
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