Instructables
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
 
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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
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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.
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 ☺
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. :)
Just made a pair of bracelets. I've wondered how those braids were made for the longest time. Thanks for a great 'ible!
Kiteman2 years ago
Excellent - this is always a problem when out scouts accidentally un-weave their woggles.
+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 :-)
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.