Introduction: The Mystery Braid

Picture of The Mystery Braid

Traditionally, braids have one closed end and one open end. The open end is twisted in a manner to create a braid and is then tied off.

This braid intends to throw all of your preconceived notions about braids out the window.

This braid has two closed ends, and is made with magic.

It can be challenging to get perfect the first time, practice a few more times and experiment with different sizes of straps to obtain the look you are going for.

Supplies
- Leather (or similar) strap approximately 1 inch by 8 inches
- Scissors or X-Acto Knife
- Patience

Step 1: Acquire Strap

Picture of Acquire Strap

Find a strap about an inch wide and 8 inches long. I prefer leather because of its durability. Unlike fabric, leather will not fray after being cut, which is very important. The braid can be made ultimately with any flat material, but leather seems to work best.

Step 2: Fold and Cut Strap

Picture of Fold and Cut Strap

Fold your strap in half the long way, then cut it into thirds without cutting all the way to the end. This way when you unfold it, both ends of the strap will remain closed.

Make your cuts as straight and even as possible as it will affect the final look of your braid.

I have labeled my braid in the images to make it easier to see what is happening; it will look better if you don't label yours.

Step 3: A Over Middle

Picture of A Over Middle

Fold strap A (the very left strap) over the middle strap. Now A is the new middle.

Step 4: Z Over A

Picture of Z Over A

Fold strap Z (the very right strap) over strap A. Now Z is the new middle.

Step 5: Blank Over Z

Picture of Blank Over Z

Fold the blank strap (the very left strap) over strap Z. Now the order of the straps has reversed from A-Blank-Z to Z-Blank-A.

Step 6: Bottom Through Right Hole

Picture of Bottom Through Right Hole

The bottom of the braid should look like the opposite of the top at this point, but we need it to be untangled.

To do this, take the bottom and put it through hole on the right side (under strap A). Your bottom should now look goofy and backwards if you did it correctly. That will be fixed later.

Step 7: A Over Blank

Picture of A Over Blank

Fold strap A (the very right strap) over the blank strap. Now A is the new middle.

Step 8: Z Over A

Picture of Z Over A

Fold strap Z (the very left strap) over strap A. Now Z is the new middle.

Step 9: Blank Over Z

Picture of Blank Over Z

Fold the blank strap (the very right strap) over strap Z. Now the order of the bottom should be the same as the top. A-Blank-Z

Step 10: Bottom Through Left Hole

Picture of Bottom Through Left Hole

Take the bottom and place through the left hole (under strap A).

This will finalize the braid. Using your best judgment, flatten the braid out to make it look smooth and contiguous.

Step 11: (optional) Repeat Process

Picture of (optional) Repeat Process

If your braid does not fill all of the space available on the strap, you can repeat steps 3 through 10.

The braid will not work if you only do half of the steps! In other words, you must do the "putting the bottom through the hole" step an even number of times. You must do both the right and left side in order to create a finished braid.

I have gone ahead to show what it would look like after repeating steps 3 through 10. This means for the braid shown here, everything was done twice.

Step 12: Finish!

Picture of Finish!

The braid will have a natural curve to it, but this can be flattened with time. The natural curve also makes these braids perfect for bracelets, anklets, necklaces, or if you're really good, you could even make rings.

Here is another braid I have made that I have riveted snaps onto to make it into a bracelet. People are consistently amazed that it is possible to create a braid from a single strap with no open ends.

Comments

Carol at Natures Sol (author)2012-09-07

Okay - I'm finally finishing up my denim mystery braid bracelet. I hope to have it on my page this evening. I am providing a link to YOUR braiding instructions because there's no way I would even attempt to describe this.

So, hopefully, expect some traffic coming your way ☺

Carol at Natures Sol (author)2012-08-16

I had spent an hour trying to work one using Martha Stewart's instructions. Finally Googled mystery braid and found you. I can't thank you enough for the clarity! I'm going to make one from scrap material. I will be sure to mention you in my instructable because I would never get these steps correct :-). Thanks for your help.

Yay! I'm glad that I could make it make it easier than Martha. :)

ThatEmilyPerson (author)2012-04-07

Just made a pair of bracelets. I've wondered how those braids were made for the longest time. Thanks for a great 'ible!

Kiteman (author)2012-03-23

Excellent - this is always a problem when out scouts accidentally un-weave their woggles.

Nostalgic Guy (author)Kiteman2012-03-23

+1 I wish i had a pound for every one of the leather woggles I had to re-braid when i was a scout, no matter how many times I showed them none of the other lads could get the hang of it.
I do like the idea of coding the strips perhaps I should have tried that :-)

CatTrampoline (author)2012-03-23

Mystery solved! I always wondered how purse straps like this were made.

Marking the back sides of the strands for photo clarity was an excellent idea.

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