In this Instructable, I'm going to teach you how to make Finger Loop Braids. With this technique you can make braids with just your hands that have 10 or more strands each. They can be used for anything. Bracelets, chokers, belts, hat bands, as trim on clothing, or furniture... If you need a strong lacing, a finger loop braid will multiply the strength of your string/rope by 10. To make the videos easy to follow, I made the braids out of rope.

Finger Loop Braids were popular from the 15th to the 17th Centuries in Europe, There are still some forms of similar braids made in isolated areas of South America, Asia and the Middle East. In Europe they seem to have been forgotten after the 1600's. Fabric and fiber art does not survive centuries. So examples of the original braids are very rare. You can sometimes spot them in old master paintings. They look like they take days to make but I'll show you some complex braids that can be completed in 5 minutes.

This is the style of braiding that was done in Medieval Europe and all the patterns are translated from Medieval manuscripts by the great folks at Fingerloop.org. I want to thank the producers of that website for showing me this ancient and almost forgotten art.

Supplies: some kind of rope, string, yarn,...
Tools: Hands
Time: Depends on the length and pattern of the braid but the ones I'm making only take a few minutes to complete an entire braid.

It is difficult to describe and annotate the patterns. The folks at Fingerloop.org have done a good job of documenting the patterns. I'm going to try to write up some instructions for the braids I'm showing you, but the best way to learn the braids is to just watch the videos. Each video has a photo of the completed braid.

I'm going to publish this with 5 or 6 different braids and will add more as I create the videos. They start very easy, and I'll introduce new techniques as we add new braids. The braids I'm going to show you are made by one person. There are also patterns for braids that are made by two or three people working simultaneously on one braid.

Lets go. Have fun.

This is the introductory video for Finger Loop Braiding. I'll tell you how it is done and show you some examples of Finger Loop Braids that I'm going to teach you how to create.

New: I made close up videos of my hands are up for all braids. They are very easy to follow.

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cheesie9 months ago
Awesome . really want to make a chain now. How do you finish the ends etc?
geitastirr1 year ago

Wow, what a great tutorial - thank you for sharing! I've just made a bracelet of the first kind of braid, and it really was simple to make and looks great - I look forward to trying the other braids later :)

Took me two attempts but got it in the end! Thanks for the boredom buster!
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I think I learned this from you at a Maker Faire 6 years ago, weird though, I use my ring finger to transfer over, not my index finger, it's like doing what you are doing but upside down.
I recently used finger-looping to braid a bowstring for a toy bow made out of half of a powder coated bicycle wheel for my nephew. As soon as I put up the Instructable for it, I will link to your Instructable as a reference.
wulfhardt3 years ago
Very nice, SFHandyman! I'm going to use this Instructable as a reference guide for some time, yet. I can't believe how easy it was, once I got going. Thanks for the clarity and brevity. Do you have any suggestions for an inauspicious bracelet knot or clasp?

Lastly, here's a note for anybody trying this for the first time:
If you tighten a C-clamp onto your work table, you can use the threaded axle as your hitching post. Just remember to slip something over the axle before you start braiding - a short bit of pipe or something similar would do. Otherwise, you won't be able to get your finished braid over the clamp's foot. That sounds like a goofy mistake to make, but it's exactly what I did on my first try. For awhile, I had the most decorated shop clamp on the block. Still, the C-clamp arrangement works pretty well with a bit of pipe over it.
Love these tutorials! This technique is so cool, and instantly gratifying (unlike many other jewelry types that take hours, even weeks to complete!) I tried out the square weave today to use as a chain for a pendant I made my daughter. I'd be honored if you checked it out.
I gave you props for the tutorial and linked back to this page as well. Hope it's alright :)
votavista3 years ago
thanks dude i really like your videos and i like that brown bracelet um at work now and i cant wait to go home and try to make my own :D gonna look for the braids here in saudi arabia and wish i could find these kinds of ropes . and sure once i go back to my country Egypt im gonna teach my friends this kind of high classy technique . ill keep u updated about my own art :D
actrivi3 years ago
Beautiful braids :) I had alot of fun making them. Thanks for posting! The videos were very helpful.
Every time I look at this 'able, it's better. And, every time I look, I make more braids. I just need to actually FINISH a project so I can make them useful. It's just so fun!
WendaBoyer3 years ago
Thank you for the easy to follow finger loop braiding instructions. I have been using your technique for my horse hair jewelry; loving the flat braid look. I will try the square braid next! Thank you!!!
Wendy, that is beautiful! Thank you for sharing it!
moills3 years ago
Inspiring videos but is there any way of recording them.
Do you sell a DVD of them. Also I did have trouble with tension with silk cords.

byap14 years ago
Hi there :) been testing out all of the different types of braids, with reference to all your videos. I'm gonna try this last one now, unfortunately the second video wouldn't play. :( I wonder why? I'd like to know if the different colors are in different loops by themselves, or...?
purpgee20004 years ago
Oh wow, I remember my friend teaching me how to do this at day camp with embroidery floss! We would hold the strings for each other, and sometimes we'd have to go somewhere and we'd shuffle around holding all of it XD
kitjen4 years ago
Hi, great 'Ible! The videos helped a ton. I was wondering if you had measured an approximate unbraided length to braided length ratio figured or no (I know there'll be variance depending on which braid and how tight they are). If you have, what are they, for each braid? Just curious, because after my first few tries I realized I needed a bit more cord :D Keep up the good work!
petraks4 years ago
Made a flat braid belt for a friend's birthday. Finished one end with a metal ring, the other with knotted leather cord. made the connections neater by wrapping them with crochet thread.
Thank you for the great instructable, the whole project took only about half an hour (and 17 yards of cord).
dil.seed4 years ago
loved, loved, loved the video - I was up and running in five minutes flat :)
Your directions were easy to follow and I now have a number of colorful braids just languishing around the house!

I do howver want to make the brown bracelet pictured here (next to the white one) and although it looks like the same five loop technique my attempts always come out looking more like the white one. Can you tell me whether this is becasue,

a) the technique is different,
b) the cord is different,
c) I'm pulling it too tightly,
or d) all and / or none of the above??

I really appreciate any help you can give me on that score and just want to reiterate that your instructable was totally amazing !! :) Thanks much :D
SFHandyman (author)  dil.seed4 years ago
Your answers were correct. All of the above. They are the front and back of the same braid. They were the very first braids I did and I could have been taking one of the strands in a special way. I know they are the front and back of the same braid though.
Thanks - that helps :)
natcrazz5 years ago
You've done a marvelous job teraching these braids.  How would one go about making a two-color split square braid, and have it split into the two colors?  I think I will just experiment
SFHandyman (author)  natcrazz4 years ago
Yep, you'll have to experiment. I'm glad you liked the lessons.
hiasun5 years ago
Bravo! Thank you for sharing this technique. I can't wait to try it out.
SFHandyman (author)  hiasun4 years ago
Glad you like it.
platinum155 years ago
 ur one crazy-kewl person!!!!!!!!!!!
SFHandyman (author)  platinum154 years ago
No UR. :)
Perfect instructable... Thank you for recording and uploading these foolproof videos. Good job!
SFHandyman (author)  electrophobia4 years ago
Wow, Thanks.
wilcurt5 years ago
The videos MADE the instructable.
SFHandyman (author)  wilcurt4 years ago
It was so hard for me to figure out from the written instructions, I was sure a video was what we needed.
Is the white bracelet in the picture made with the first method?! I coudn't work it out!
SFHandyman (author)  brillbouncer4 years ago
Same one.
TabbyDeAnne5 years ago
Thank you so much for this instructable! You are a really fantastic teacher. The videos helped me more so than anything written. I learn by watching not so much by reading instructions. I guess I have a bit of dude in me somewhere! lol!
LOL... I must too. I'm very much a visual learner. I enjoyed that the directions were clear, everything was visible, and you went slow for a majority of us who have not done this before. Nothing makes me more irritated when someone with a COOL skill speeds through the video, or keeps their fingers in the way or cover their work so you can't see what they are doing. I am very impressed with your braiding skills! How well do you think this would translate to wire?
SFHandyman (author)  bankersgirl4 years ago
Keep reading the comments. I know someone did make one with wire and wrote in. I think they'd look cool but could be difficult.
oktokrewl5 years ago
wow! thanks! i watched your 2 videos and now 5 minutes later, I have a cotton twine fingerloop bracelet! i was looking for cool braids to use to make my husband some bracelets for his birthday, and you have won the cool braid contest my friend. thank you a million times and now i'm going to try the square braid. you were right, it seriously does only take 5 minutes, and you are a fantastic teacher. :D
SFHandyman (author)  oktokrewl4 years ago
Yay. Thanks.
z7z75 years ago
thank you good job>>>>
SFHandyman (author)  z7z74 years ago
Glad you like it.
Thank you so much! All the other cool looking brackets had complicate patterns and confusing instructions. This was easy to make, and te 2 videos made it simple to learn. Thanks! Also, just for anyone who is wondering, to figure out the length of each loop, it should be twise the final length you desire, plus 4-6 inches ( the thicker the string you use, the more you should add)
SFHandyman (author)  natureboy6794 years ago
Thanks for the advice. It is a great help to share your experiences.
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