How to Weave an 8-strand Braid on a Wooden Loom.




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Having posted a seven-strand braid, I thought I'd post an eight-strand weave I learned at the same time.

This one is a bit tougher on the loom, so it really needs a wooden loom, instead of card.

Step 1: Making the Loom.

The loom is a simple wooden disc, cut with sixteen slots. I used 1/4 inch plywood, left over from making boomerangs.

I used a hole-saw to cut the disc, and re-learned an important lesson - you get what you pay for.

The hole-saw cost a whole British pound (less that two dollars). The centre-bit didn't drill through the ply, it burned it's way through, because the bit was already blunt when it came out of the packet. As soon as the saw-blade reached the wood, the whole thing locked, spinning the ply out of my hand. When I clamped the ply, and tried again, it spun the drill out of my hand!

Going slowly, I eventually wore through the ply. If you look at the photos, you can see that the edge of the hole has a 45o chamfer on it, because the blade vibrated so wildly.

Anyhoo, I eventually produced a ragged-edged disc, and threw the hole-saw in the bin (recycling bin, though, so it's not a total waste...)

Using my rotary tool, I cut sixteen equally-spaced slots around the edge, measured with a paper protractor (see the next step), and smoothed off the edges and central hole to make it more comfortable to hold, and to prevent the yarn snagging.

I then used a coat of sanding sealer to keep out skin-grease, and to show up the plywood's various grains. If you use sealer or varnish on yours, run a scrap of paper along each slot to stop stray drops drying in the wrong place and blocking the slots.

Step 2: The Paper Protractor (A Sub-Instructable)

It is quite possible to mark reasonably accurate angles with just a scrap of paper.

Folding the paper in half makes a straight edge - a 180o angle.
Fold it in half again, lining the creased edge along itself, makes a 90o angle.

Fold again, and make a 45o angle.

A final fold makes a 221/2o angle.

Open the paper up, and you find sixteen equally-spaced creases.

Line the loom up with the hole over the point where all the creases cross, and then make marks where each crease meets the edge of the loom.

Step 3: Weaving the Braid.

You need eight equal lengths of yarn, knotted at one end.

  • I used four double-length pieces, folded them in half and tied the knot at the folded end, thus making a useful loop.

Thread the yarn through the centre hole, and spread the pieces out in a cross, two pieces to an "arm".

Hold the loom so that one arm is vertical, and the other horizontal. We are always going to weave with the vertical arm.

  • Lift the bottom-left yarn out of its slot, and place it to the left of the top two yarns.
  • Take the top-right yarn, and move it to the right of the remaining bottom yarn.
  • Turn the loom a quarter-turn to the right, and start again on the other par of yarns.

Bottom to top, top to bottom, turn.
Bottom to top, top to bottom, turn.
Bottom to top, top to bottom, turn.
Bottom to top, top to bottom, turn.

And so on, until you run out of yarn.

Knot the end of the braid, and you are ready to use it for whatever you want - bracelet, necklace, or as a cord to tie your money pouch to your belt.

Step 4: Variations.

As you can see, using two colours of yarn at ninety degrees gives a helical pattern.

Changing the order of the yarns at the beginning will change the pattern you produce, as will using different numbers of colours, or pairing different colours in each arm.

You can change the direction of the helix as well, by swapping the side you move - top-right to the bottom, bottom-left to the top.

It is possible to change the direction of the helix part-way through the braiding as well. With care, you can weave so many steps one way, then the same number of steps the other way, and produce a zig-zag pattern.

Of course, you can also use this loom to weave the seven strand braid, and probably many other combinations as well.

Whatever you do, enjoy it, and if you find or create an interesting pattern, or another weave (with different numbers of strands), then why not write up an Instructable of your own?

You can give the cords as gifts (as a kind of friendship bracelet), or make the looms themselves as gifts - just make sure you get a half-decent hole-saw before you do!

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    50 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for the instructions kiteman, wow you can saw and braid, multi-talents wtg!! Just wanted to ask would the old fashioned french knitting bobbins work for this at all plz? (basically cotton reel with tacs in the top) I have 1 my nan gave me, even a cotton/spool with slots in should work shouldnt it? Havent done this before but excited to try, thank you for sharing your hard work! ;)

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    And, yes, a spool or bobbin with slots cut in it should work. It's just hard to find them these days.


    Reply 4 years ago on Step 3

    Keep a little tension on each strand as you weave and, if you can, cut the slots to be a snug fit for the strands.


    5 years ago on Step 3

    Thanks for the inspiration! I'm not big on using wood in projects, I just don't have the tools for it. However, I have a ton of polymer clay (yay Sculpey!) and made one out of it and it works fantastic.

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Step 2

    This is so simply brilliant I don't know why it never occurred to me. Thank you for sharing this!

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    There are many ways to make "perfect" circles with power tools.

    If you have a rotary tool (read: dremel, which you should) you can make a jig to spin the dremel around an axis (, or you could just use a piece of string or wire tied to the guard of the dremel; as long as you keep constant pressure on the string, and use a good tight knot, it won't get caught in the bit. You can also easily make jigs that attach to a band, coping, or jig saw.

    If you have a drill press, you can just buy a rotary tool cutting bit and put it the drill press. Drill a hole in the center of your board, loosely screw it in to a sacrificial backing board, clamp the backing board to the drill press table, lower the press until it's through your good board and barely cutting the sacrificial board, lock the drill at this depth using the adjustment on the crank, then spin the good board until you have a completed circle. If using a drill press, just go slow, as the chucks aren't really designed for lateral forces, like a mill spindle.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I went and actually made a loom after posting this. I decided to use the band saw method. I just drilled a pilot hole in the good piece to be made into a loom and screwed that into another board. I then clamped the bottom board onto my band saw, with the blade already started in the loom board and the axis of rotation (the pilot hole and screw) in line with the cutting edge of the blade. Basically, you want the blade to be cutting tangent to the curve at all points. Anyway, after I had that set up I just spun the loom board slowly and it cut out a perfect circle. It took less than ten minutes.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    For the loom... start with a square piece of wood.
    Mark a cross from the points and drill at the center.
    Make marks on each side at 1/3 intervals... (two marks on each side)
    Cut from the outermost mark on each side to the closest one on ajacent sides.
    You will end up with an 8 sided piece. Close enough to even not to matter.
    Make 2 notches on each side... 16 notches.
    Bevel, file or sand to smooth work, and coat as instructed above.
    Voila! No hole saw needed!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This is perhaps late in the day but if your hole sawing it is far best to use a drill press and go slow with little pressure. It's a saw not a drill.


    10 years ago on Step 3

    you rely need to add pictures of you weeving the bracelet cuz my teen mind can't comprehend all of these verbal directions.