Introduction: Waterfall Braid

About: Making and sharing are my two biggest passions! In total I've published hundreds of tutorials about everything from microcontrollers to knitting. I'm a New York City motorcyclist and unrepentant dog mom. My wo…

The waterfall braid gets its ornate look by releasing sections of hair as well as picking up new ones along its path. This Instructable will focus on the basic technique, then extend it to a half updo.

This technique isn't particularly hard, but it can be arm-tiring and takes a bit of practice to get an even-looking result. Keep at it!

This Instructable is part of my beginner braids series. If you like this lesson, try the rest!


To get started learning to braid, you really just need some hair, a mirror, and dexterity in both hands. Everything else here just enhances your results!

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Step 1: Begin a Crossing-Over Braid

As you grew accustomed to doing in the first few lessons, part your hair in the middle and grab a small section at the front (on the left or the right), and sweep it back.

Divide into three sections and create a few stitches of a standard crossing-over braid.

The next time it's the lower strand's turn to cross, set it aside instead by sweeping it forward. You can use a clip or your mouth to hold it.

Next pick up a small section of hair from right behind the set-aside section.

Step 2: The Waterfall Stitch

Carefully separate and smooth your new section from the rest of your hair, then cross it over the center section of your braid-- this new piece acts in place of the liberated section.

Cross over the part-side section like in a standard braid, then sweep and secure the lower section forward and away, like in the previous step.

Again pick up a new small section of hair from right behind where the now-free section, and use it to cross over the braid.

Repeat this step to make as many waterfall stitches as you like!

Step 3: Finish It Off

This technique can be extended to wrap around your whole head, but for this style, stop adding new sections when you get to the crown area (or when you stop being able to see what you're doing clearly with one mirror).

Now you can let go of the sections you were holding with your mouth or clip (any earlier and they would have been in your way). Use a standard crossing-over braid to finish up this side, and secure the tail with a small elastic.

Step 4: And Again From the Other Side

Repeat to make a matching braid on the other side of your head. Start braiding a small section, then each time it's the lower section's turn, sweep it forward and out of the way, then grab a small section of hair from right behind it to use instead.

Try to match the angle and stitch size to the first braid. Did you notice this technique to be easier on one side than another?

Step 5: Complete the Style and Wear It!

Tie the two braids together with a small elastic at the back of your head (don't catch any free hairs from the rest of your head), adjust for symmetry, and optionally remove the braids' individual elastics.

Smooth and style the rest of your hair (with a styling product if desired, such as a bit of hairspray, hair paste, or conditioning oil).

Now it's your turn!

This Instructable is part of my beginner braids series. If you like this lesson, try the rest!