Braiding Eight Cords Into a Flat Braid

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Everyone can braid things, right? Can you braid more than 3 things? Here is how to braid 8 strands of cord, string, yarn, leather strips or you name it.

Step 1: Start With 4 and Double Down

Take four strands of cord, string, yarn, or these things which are the "self ties" out of old yoga pants.

Step 2: Belt Buckle

While the purpose of this instructable is how to braid, you will need something to start on. A great looking belt buckle like this cat belt buckle from the mid 1970s will work very nicely.

Step 3: Stabilize Your Work

Stabilize the belt buckle so you can tug on it a little bit. I tied a cord on the belt buckle, then tied the cord around a chair leg. Depending on the size of the chair, tug all you want.

Step 4: Attach One Cord

Starting with the belt buckle upside down, take the first cord, fold in half and make a loop.
Feed the loop under the belt buckle end.
Fold the loop down over the cord ends.
Bring the cord ends up through the loop.
Pull tight.
In the knotting world, this is lark's head.

Step 5: Attach the Other Three Cords

Do the same with each of your cords doubling the cords and ending up with 8 cords to braid.
In the image from left to right, there are 2 blacks, 2 blues, 2 grays and 2 blacks.

Step 6: 5th Over 4th

Always count from left to right, 1 through 8.
Starting with the 5th cord (gray) from the left, put it over the 4th cord (blue.)
The colors are now black, black, blue, gray, blue, gray, black, black.

Step 7: 3rd Over 2nd, 2nd Over 4th. Confused? Look at Photo

Take the 3rd cord (blue) and put it over the 2nd cord (black.)
Then continue that same black cord over the 5th gray one.
The colors are now black, blue, gray, black, blue, gray, black, black.

Step 8: 7th Over 6th, Under 5th, Over 4th

Take the 7th cord (black) and put it over the 6th cord (gray), then under the 5th cord (blue) then over the 4th cord (black.)
The colors are now black, blue, gray, black, black, blue, gray, black.

Step 9: 1st Over 2nd, Under 3rd, Over 4th

Take the 1st cord and put it over the 2nd, under the 3rd, over the 4th.
The colors are now blue, gray, black, black, black, blue, gray, black.

Step 10: 8th Under 7th, Over 6th, Under 5th, Over 4th

Take the 8th cord and put it under the 7th, over the 6th, under the 5th and over the 4th.
Now the colors are blue, gray, black, black, black, black, blue, gray.
The whole thing is rather loosely braided at this point.

Step 11: Tighten Up

Time to tighten it all up a little. Tug a little on each cord and pushing the braided parts closer together.

Step 12: Braid Left Cord, Then Right Cord

Take the 1st cord (the blue one in this case)and put it over the 2nd, under the 3rd and over the 4th.
Take the 8th cord (gray) and put it under the 7th, over the 6th, under the 5th and over 4th.
The colors are now gray, black, black, gray, blue, black, black, blue.

Step 13: Left - Over, Under, Over. Right - Under, Over, Under, Over

Looking at another way, take the left most cord (gray) and put it over, under and over.
Take the right most cord (blue) and put it under, over, under, over over the gray.
The colors are now black, black, gray, blue, gray, blue, black, black.

Step 14: Left - Over, Under, Over. Right - Under, Over, Under and Over.

Always take the left most cord first and put it over, under, over.
Then take the right most cord and put it under, over, under and over.
The colors are now black, gray, blue black, black, gray, blue, black.

Step 15: Braid. Tighten. Repeat.

Left cord: over, under, over.
Right cord: under, over, under, over.
Tighten. Repeat.

Step 16: Just End It All

To end it, tack down the ends either straight across or in a "V" shape. Third image is machine sewn in the "V" shape. Select a thread color to either match or contrast your braided colors and using a tight zigzag stitch, machine sew following your previous stitches. Trim the ends. Done.

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113 Discussions

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DuaneL6

Question 17 days ago on Step 5

How much cord per inch of belt

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km4n95

2 years ago

can you build a belt with out the belt buckle so that you can take buckle off if you dont want that buckle on the belt

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bjw414

2 years ago

thank you for the instructions.

i would like to make a belt that is 1.5 inches wide.

do you know what diameter cord should be used?

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hammer9876bjw414

Reply 2 years ago

Sorry, I don't know. Besides the diameter of the cord, it depends on how tight you braid, too. You will just have to try it and see.

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ConnorF12

2 years ago

Were those cords actually out of old yoga pants, or did you buy them as a spool?

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hammer9876tinycatd

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

It's one of those instructables where you have to follow along with cords in your hands. Once you start seeing the pattern, it becomes easier. At least that is how I learn things.

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blackarrow745

3 years ago

So I liked this post some time ago and decided that I may use it one day. The day has come. I present to you the Über belt! It is six feet tall! totally unusable as a belt for me, maybe a sumo could make use of it though :) thanks for the post. I for one have enjoyed it very much!

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gemtree

4 years ago on Introduction

This works GREAT with wire. I made a bezel for holding stones out of it and laced the heck out of it across the top and bottom of the stones.

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jimiane

5 years ago on Introduction

What is the recommended ratio for length of starting cord to finished end product? I.e., 5 feet of cord would make how long of a belt on average?

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studleyleejimiane

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

I'm going to try this and after about 3 sections repeated, measure along a strand with a
flexible ruler then figure the needed length out.

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hammer9876jimiane

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

See response dated Jun 22, 2010. 6:43 AM. I hate to be so blunt, but really, there are too many variables. Your best bet would probably be to cut four lengths of two yards or meters each, double them giving you eight cords, then braid them, and see how long the finished result is. Experimentation is your key. Good luck.

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liontroll

5 years ago on Introduction

AWESOME! Thank you. Very wise to use a variety of colors for the instructable... Makes it much easier to follow. Keep it up!

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mysss

8 years ago on Step 16

I agree; I would like to see more designs for bracelets. I'm really into knot tying and this sort of braiding, and I've never seen/known of this method for finishing a braid/plait. Have you tried this with round cord/string? If so, does it work as well as with the flat stuff used in the instructable? Thanks.

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hammer9876mysss

Reply 8 years ago on Step 16

I am kind of at a loss for finishing it. I have yet to figure out a good way of doing it. Any suggestions? And yes, it does work well with round cord/string.

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myssshammer9876

Reply 8 years ago on Step 16

The only way I've ever done it is by melting the string (I only ever use synthetic string, for the most part, because for some reason I can never find anything else) so that the ends of everything fuse together. Now, this method kind of sucks, and I presume grows much more impractical if you try it on something larger, such as this project. Or flatter, actually, for that matter. I guess I should elaborate on "sucks." I mean that it's difficult to get it to look good, and it's pretty crude. I'm not sure how well the method someone else suggested (using a hot blade/wire to cut off the ends) works, because I've actually been waiting for an order of new (cheap) knives to arrive before I try it (I don't want to risk my beloved pocketknife this way, and I actually just found out about the method of heating a knife...). It seems to me that this wouldn't work as well for this purpose, even though it finishes the ends of individual cords nicely, since the melting is much more localized than using an actual match/lighter/gas stove flame (lighters work best, I think. I've seen my dad use the stove, and have burned myself with matches doing this [don't judge me]), but this is only a guess. A footnote to both that and my own suggestion is only to use the method on synthetics, not natural fibers which burn instead of melt. Good luck finding a way that satisfies you! (And keep us posted.)

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as.2mysss

Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

I've made a belt similar to this one. Though, I did it by starting with the pieces being doubled (but unevenly, with one being WAY longer) I then braided the belt to the length that I wanted, and "turned around" and wove each piece back to the top. This was a long process, but it did finish the belt nicely.