Braiding is a basic skill that can be used in many ways. All you need to braid hair are a couple of ponytail holders and a comb. The best way to start learning is to pick someplace you’ll be able to see what you’re doing, i.e. not the back of your head. You can do a braid in your friend’s hair or two on your own, one on each side of your head. You can even tie three pieces of yarn or ribbon together and practice on that.
First, make sure the hair is tangle-free and long enough to braid.
How long is long enough? That depends on how much hair you’re going to braid, and what type of hair it is. As a general rule, thick hair works best with thick braids. Depending on just how thick the hair is, you might need to do more than one braid. You can do thin braids, but it would take a really long time to do them all.
Thin, fine hair will, by its nature, not make thick braids, even if you’re only doing one braid with all the hair! A thick braid needs longer hair, or you’ll only be able to braid it a couple of times. Thin braids can be made with much shorter hair. There are a couple of things to keep in mind about this.
One is that you need enough hair for your hands to work with — you can do a braid with a few strands of one-inch long hair, but you probably wouldn’t want to because it would be difficult to hold. Another is that thinner braids require more repeats of the braiding steps, and so take longer to do.
Now you’re really ready to braid. Gather all the hair you’ll be working with into a ponytail. It is not necessary to start from a ponytail, but it will be easier for practice. Starting from a ponytail gives a tighter, neater braid. (If you want a more relaxed look, skip the ponytail.) Use as much hair as possible for practice. If you’re doing this on your own head, part your hair in the middle all the way down to the nape of your neck and put all the hair on one side into a ponytail holder.
Divide the hair into three equal sections. Pick up one section in each hand, leaving the center section hanging loose. Choose a hand to start with and cross that section of hair over the center. Drop the section in your hand and pick up the center. As you get more practice with this move, you’ll be able to do it in one smooth motion, and the center section will never really be left hanging. For now, however, you may want to leave it that way.
Cross the section in your other hand over the new center section, drop it, and pick up the center. Continue in this fashion, switching hands after each crossover, until you have only a couple of inches left unbraided. Secure the braid with a ponytail holder. You could probably braid it closer to the ends of your hair, but you would have more loose ends sticking out of the braid.
Now you can braid your hair, your friends’ hair, your horse’s tail, or your doll’s hair. You can weave ribbons or long-stemmed flowers through the braids. You can braid strips of fabric, leather, yarn, ribbons, dried grasses, corn stalks, or plastic lacing, and use it as decorative trim on clothing, accessories, or cigar boxes.
You can use it for just about anything your mind can think of. You can learn more varieties of braid: French braid, rope, herringbone, plaiting. Experiment with regular braids — try braiding each of the three sections of a regular braid, then braid them together.
Braiding itself is a fairly simple task, but once you have mastered it, you’ll find a lot of exciting new things to try with your new skill.Braiding itself