Here are links to the braiding tutorials on my blog Loop Braiding – listed mostly in order of difficulty. Almost all are fingerloop braiding tutorials, but there are also a few on hand-held loop braiding. This list doesn’t necessarily include all my color-pattern how-to’s. Be sure to also check out the Color-Patterns tab in my upper menu for links to color-pattern variation tutorials. And try your own variations, too! – every braid has many more possibilities than I show here.
Tutorials are listed below in order of difficulty – except for the 2-Loop Braid, and Spiral braids of 4 to 10 loops. I don’t have written posts for them, just video links near the bottom of this page. Jump to them here. 5 or 3-loop Square Braids are essential beginning points. 4- and 6-loop Spiral Braids are also easy to learn, but they don’t prepare fingers for the important “loop-shifting” moves of most other braids.
Don’t miss my tips and tricks posts – ways to end/ tie-off a braid, braid longer lengths, put loops down in the middle of braiding, use beads in loop braids, etc. They are listed here, just below the easy/medium braiding tutorials.
“Too-many-loops” braiding tutorials are listed just below Tips and Tricks. Those are the braiding methods that require using thumbs – which really isn’t ‘too many loops!’ and (for some of them) holding more than one loop on certain fingers.
Caveat: I’m not a professional videographer! The videos in my tutorials tend to be pretty slow, with a lot of talking. My more recent videos usually have a timeline/ table of contents listed below the video to help you skip to the point you want to see.
Btw, my header image above isn’t specific to the tutorials, it’s at the top of all my pages, just a blog decoration photo of some of my loop braids. I do have tutorials below for four of them. From the right edge: 1st: 7-loop square braid, 2nd: 8-loop spiral braid, 3rd: 10-loop double braid (solid rectangle), and 7th: Lace Dawns (8 loops). There’s more info about the header photo braids, including links to any relevant instructions here.
To get a heads-up when I make a new post, click at the top of my sidebar to follow Loop Braiding, and you’ll receive an automated email alert when I publish something. I post sporadically, 0 to (rarely) 2 times a month… Sometimes there are long gaps between postings, but more braid and color-pattern tutorials are on the way.
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(Links below will open in a separate window.)
Super-easy 3-loop braids. Downloadable pdf photo-tutorial and several videos. An even easier intro to fingerloop braiding than my original “Start here” tutorial below. Several color-pattern and shape variations taught.
Start Here: 5-loop braids, both square and flat. Videos, photos, text. If these 5-loop videos are too slow-paced for you, learn from the faster 7-loop video below (but use only 5 loops to start with—just omit the lowest loop on each hand, and use the ring finger to braid with rather than the little finger). If you’ve already learned the square, flat, and divided 3-loop braids above, you may be able to learn how to braid with 5 loops just by looking at the diagram at the beginning of the tutorial.
Continue Here: 7-loop braids. Video tutorial showing the 7-loop version of the basic square, flat, and divided fingerloop braid introduced in the “Start Here” tutorial. This video is a little faster-paced than my 5-loop videos. Shows all 3 braid variations in one video (square braid, flat braid, and divided braid). 7 loops gives a lot more color-pattern possibilities and an even more impressive-looking braid than 5 loops!
New! 7-loop D-shaped braid (an “unorthodox” braid). A fun variation of the basic 7-loop square braid, with a distinctively different shape and color pattern expression. Try any color setup you’ve liked for a square braid with this D-shaped braid and see how it comes out!
Even newer! 5,7, and 9-loop Triangle braid. A second “unorthodox” braid. Slightly different shape, and some very different color patterns from the D-shaped braid. This triangle braid has the exact same braid structure as the Medieval European “Broad Lace of V Bows”, yet looks like a completely different braid…
[9-loop square braids can be learned after learning square braids of 5 and 7 loops. Also listed below under “too-many-loops”, however nine loops is not necessarily too many! If you’ve made it up to 7 loops, why stop there? Adding thumbs to the braiding procedure opens a much wider world of braid possibilities.]
Bicolor loops. When each loop is made out of two different colors – two different yarns tied together – different types of color patterns become possible than when loops are made out of single colors, and it is also much easier to switch between different color-patterns within one braid.
The bicolor loop photo-tutorial shows how to make three different bicolor patterns for square braids of 5 loops or more. I use only two colors in the photo-tute, but you can go on from there to adding more colors.
More square braid color-patterns for square braids of 5-11 loops. [this link doesn’t really belong here since it’s not to a braiding tutorial, just a color-pattern post! I may delete it at some point – this link, that is – not the post itself! The post can also be found by clicking on the “color-patterns” tab in the upper menu, and scrolling down.]
Bracelet tutorial for a 7-loop square braid, also how to braid one of my favorite square braid color-patterns: “Chevrons across Bicolor Stripes” – a mix of bicolor and single-color loops. This tutorial teaches 2 great color patterns for a 7-loop square braid, and some bracelet tips, but not the basic braiding moves. Learn the braiding moves from the 7-loop “Continue here” tutorial above.
New technique: Color-linking
Color-linking can create amazing braid patterns! This video-based tutorial teaches 2 different types of color-linking in a 7-loop flat braid (also some 9-loop set-ups). Learn 7-loop flat braids first (see above). Color-linking adds another step to the braiding procedure.
A 7-loop “Spanish” braid (a complex and fun braid to learn after the 7-loop square braid.)
This braid is about as thick as a 4-loop square braid, but twice as wide. I call that braid-shape “rectangular”.
[This braid can be made in flat and hollow forms as well, just like the double braids below.]
Video, text, photos. The video teaches one possible color pattern: ‘Lopsided Crowns’ – It’s not my favorite color-pattern; I chose it for the video because it has the simplest starting arrangement of colors on the fingers. Several other color-patterns are taught in the text, below the videos. (I recommend the “Edge” color pattern as the easiest one to error-check while braiding.) This braid is the base, component braid of the doubled 14-loop letterbraid – a way for a team of two braiders to braid words!
How to make a flatter, less convex version of the ‘Spanish’ braid
The video shows a different way to turn the loops during the loop transfers. Less slo-mo – better to learn the braid from the previous link above. Also shows how to unbraid the spanish braid – this is very useful for correcting mistakes, which is what I’m doing in the video.
How to use Gary Mitchell’s online pattern-planner for the 7-loop spanish braid above. Two posts – one introduces the planner and shows several sample charts, and the second has a video showing how to follow a chart once you have generated it from the planner. It also has a photo showing several different braid patterns you can make using the planner.
Douglas Grant’s round version of the 7-loop spanish braid (or not?) Great variation of the above braid – perhaps different enough not to be quite “spanish.” Makes a firm, round braid. Invented or discovered by a blog reader who named it the Spiaggian Eagle braid after one of its color patterns. Text instructions for two alternative braiding methods. Several color pattern variations shown and taught. I love this braid!
Video tutorial for Doug’s round 7-loop spanish braid (see above). Also teaches a new color pattern for the braid (several other color patterns are taught in my first post on this braid.)
Team braiding a double braid: Video of two first-time braiders making and demoing a 10-loop double braid together. This is two 5-loop square braids connected together to form one larger, rectangular-shaped braid!
Also a photo-tutorial on the crucial move that connects the individual 5-loop braids of the two braiders – the loop-exchange move. If both braiders have first learned my “Start Here” 5-loop braid, you really can to learn to make a double braid from this post – try it!
Double braid tutorials, part 1 6 to 10-loop Rectangular braids:
My patented 😉 solo-braider method for making the classic 2-person loop braid taught above. This is really 3 different tutorials: one for a 6-loop version (doubled 3-loop braid), one for 8 loops (doubled 4-loop braid), and two videos on the full 10-loop version (I recommend learning the 9-loop square braid first, to get used to using your thumbs in braiding). Plug: Double braids have 8 or more shape variations, compared to the 3 of square braids (square, divided, flat), and each shape variation has distinctive color patterns not possible with the other shapes! This is true even for a 6-loop double braid, which only requires three loops on each hand.
Double braids, part 2: 6 to 10-loop Flat double braids. Also, some great color-manipulation tricks for making borders and other lengthwise designs. (color-linking in two different forms) A separate no-sound video for each skill taught, 8 and 10-loop braids. No video for the 6-loop version. If you’ve learned the 6-loop double braid from the previous tutorial, follow the 8-loop videos and just omit the loop on the little finger.
Double braids, part 3: 6 to 10-loop Hollow double braids. No video. (if you’ve learned the flat double braid above, you won’t need another video to learn the hollow double braid.) Instructions for several different color-patterns of 6-10 loop braids, plus photos of examples of up to 18 loops. Keyhole-type openings in hollow braids, bead and disk inserts, bicolor patterns, color-linking.
More 8-loop double braid color-patterns
Also text instructions for another double braid shape—the side-slit rectangle braid. Photos and accompanying set-up instructions of 11 color patterns for flat double braids, plus one solid double braid color pattern, one hollow, and 2 side-slit rectangle color patterns.
5-loop introductory tutorial on Kute-uchi loop braiding (using hand-held loops)
2 methods for making square and flat braids with hand-held loops. 2 videos, braid photos. Demo’ed here with 5 loops, although traditionally, 5-loop square and flat braids would be made with fingerloops – handheld loops were only for holding and braiding with more loops than could easily be managed with finger-held loops, as well as for braiding certain unusual braids that cannot be made with finger-held loops. Kute-uchi is Masako Kinoshita’s term for traditional Japanese loop braiding (to her the term encompasses both hand-held and finger-held loop braiding), which preceded and led to Japanese stand-and-bobbin braiding (kumihimo).
the Genji-uchi braid, and the closely related Pseudo-Genji-uchi (of 4 to 36 loops). I added these instructions onto the end of my original kute-uchi tutorial above.
These two Japanese braids are made using both of the two braiding moves taught in the two original kute-uchi videos. The new braids can be learned from watching and practicing each of those videos, then reading my explanation of the color set-up, and the order of the two braiding moves when you combine them in making Genji-uchi or Pseudo genji-uchi.
Newest! Pick-up Patterning tutorial series:
Pick-up 101: Planned Patterns and Motifs
This post isn’t a tutorial, exactly, but it has necessary background info for the following (in-progress) series of video tutorials on how to make braids with two-color motifs and patterns that can be planned and manipulated by the braider. Pick-up patterning in European loop braiding was exemplified by the designs and lettershapes of the 17th C. ‘letter braids’ – team braids with braided sayings / inscriptions, as well as decorative symbols and motifs.
Pick-up 2: Rock Your Square Braid
Intro to using pick-up charts for switching seamlessly between bicolor patterns in a 6-loop square braid. These pattern charts are for ‘automatic’ bicolor loop patterns, but the switching process to get from one pattern to another IS selective pick-up. Combining two or more patterns together into one larger ‘combo-pattern’ is also selective pick-up.
Three videos: one on following a chart, and two extras that cover starting and finishing with a tassel of mini-braids at each end, as well as how to ‘turn twice’ – a pickup technique that comes in very handy for square and flat braid pick-up.
Pick-up 3: Flat braid pick-up patterning
Pick-up charts and loop set-ups for several nice flat braid patterns for 5 and 7 loops. How to do flat braid pickup. ‘Real’ (selective) pickup patterns for flat braids. New tips for how to avoid the 3/4-flat braid shape and always get ‘fully-flat’ flat braids. Videos, charts, text, photos, tips.
More easy-to-intermediate braids:
The tutorials above, and the Two-loop and Spiral Braid videos (video links near the bottom of this page) teach braids that don’t require using thumbs or holding more than one loop per finger. There are other loop braids in this easy-intermediate range. See:
Medieval Silkwerke, Cindy Myers’ site
Fingerloop Braiding, Lois Swales’ and Zoe Kuhn-Williams’ site.
(Neither site has video-based tutorials, instructions are given in text only. My post Braids I Don’t Teach has a few tips on how to interpret the instructions on these two sites. Aside from braids that can be made by a single braider, both sites also include instructions for very complex braids of many loops, to be made by two or more braiders working together.)
(Thumb and “Too-many-loops” tutorials are listed further down, below Tips and Tricks )
Terminology – not a tutorial, this is one of my ‘about’ pages (menu tab on far left). The first part explains terms I use in instructions, and the second part is on braiding/ weaving terms, with a lot of over-explanation of how those terms relate to the actual thread passages, or textile ‘architecture’ of loop braids.
“Tips and tricks“:
Ideas for ending braids:
Not a tutorial, just some ideas and links in a comment below this page.
Ways to set down your loops in the middle of braiding.
Video, photos, text.
Color-pattern planning: How to arrange loops on your fingers to get the color-order you want in the braid. NEW: I just added the color set-ups for almost all the color-patterns shown in photos in this post (many square and flat 5 to 7-loop braids).
Ways to braid LONGER loop braids – up to several feet or yards/meters (first part of post). Photos, text.
Unbraiding, and fixing mistakes: Unbraiding is the best way to go back and fix a mistake. The video shows how to unbraid a 3-loop braid. There’s also a link to a video demoing how to unbraid a 7-loop braid—the same principle holds for 5-loop braids. Nine and 11-loop braids are unbraided a bit differently, I give a text description of how to unbraid them, and also how to work your way through undoing a mistake, once you have unbraided back to it. Unbraiding loop braids is not hard! I teach it in beginning loop braiding workshops. Fixing a mistake may require a little experience, but unbraiding back to it can be learned right away.
Ways to start a braid with a loop and no loose ends at the start of the braid (click on link, then click to go to second half of the post). Text and photos.
Using beads with loop braiding: This is more of an ‘ideas’ post, not a tutorial, but it includes some useful tips for incorporating beads into your loop braiding.
In case you are interested in starting your own blog or website:
Why I chose wordpress.com to host my site – as a non-techie who doesn’t (or didn’t, anyway) know anything about web design, coding, etc. For some reason this side-note is at the end of my Kute-Uchi tutorial.
I don’t actually consider the first tutorials below to be “too many” loops! They do require using your thumbs to hold loops, but the thumb is as nimble and versatile as the index finger. Braiding with nine loops and thumbs has been documented historically from Finland and – unpublished, but known to me by personal communication – from China. I strongly suspect it was a very common practice in earlier eras, wherever the “little-finger-operating” loop braiding method was used (a.k.a. the “v-fell method”).
9-loop braids: (square and flat braids, also info on unorthodox variations) Requires using thumbs. Go ahead and try 9-loop braids as soon as you are fairly comfortable making 7-loop braids. [rationale here] Two videos, photos, text. The way I demo using thumbs is the basis for how I braid all braids of more than 8 loops. Miscellaneous info in the “notes” section following the tutorial: historical references to 9-loop braids, current revival of loop braiding, how I found out about loop braiding.
Unorthodox braids of 9 loops: In the notes section following the main 9-loop tutorial. Text instruction for 2 unorthodox (UO) braids, and how to come up with more on your own. Unorthodox braids deserve a whole series of posts/tutorials that I
haven’t gotten to yet have just started on (see the 7-loop D-shaped braid, and A Triangle Braid [for 5-9 loops]). I have an information page about unorthodox braids here.
Lace Dawns and Lace Piol Alternate method to the one taught in the medieval manuscripts. This is a much quicker way to make these 8-loop braids (if you are used to using thumbs, as taught in my 9-loop tutorial). This 8-loop braid only requires using the thumb of one hand, so it may be a good way to practice up for 9-loop braids. Video, text.
Solo-braider method for the 10-loop “Nun’s Letterbraid“
My solo-braider workaround method for making one of the two known 10-loop “letterbraids” (alphabet inscription braids) from the 17th Century. See also my information page on the publication by Joy Boutrup that “broke the code” of these braids. (in my upper menu, hover on About, then click on Letterbraids of the 17th Century in the drop-down menu.)
11-loop braids. (square, flat, also info on unorthodox variations) 2 videos, photo-tutorial, text. Requires holding a loop on each thumb and 2 loops on the little fingers. Wait til 9-loop braiding moves are automatic before moving on to 11 loops.
The way I show of dealing with the extra loop on the little finger (along with loops on the thumbs) is the basis for how I make almost all braids of more than 10 loops, including double braids of 12-18 loops, the 14-loop letterbraid, and most of the braids in my header photo.
Demo: 12-loop double braid (hollow variation).
My method for 12-loop double braids requires holding two loops on each little finger, and one loop each on all other fingers (incl. thumbs). By “demo” I mean a very brief tutorial, mostly consisting of a single video, showing the braiding moves for one variation of the braid.
13-loop square braids (flat, and unorthodox as well, depending on how you perform the loop transfers). This is a text-only how-to, at the end of my photo-tutorial for 11-loop braids. (I’m hoping it might not need its own video—once you’ve learned the 11-loop braid, this one is very similar.) In the Comments section below my 11-loop tutorial. Learn the 11-loop braid first, add two more loops only after 11-loop braiding moves are automatic.
Demo: 13-loop square braid with color-linking. The braid I’m demoing is the flat variation of a square braid. Video demo. There are a lot of extra moves in this braid because of the color-linking, so this video will probably not be very helpful for learning regular 13-loop square braids.
[new] Notes on my method for making the 14-loop Letterbraid as a solo-braider. No video or photos. General strategies, and detailed descriptions of moves. Requires using thumbs, and carrying 3 loops on the little fingers.
Re learning braids of more loops: The progression must be one step at a time. It’s pretty much impossible to learn 13-loop braids before learning how to make 11-loop braids. (Ask me how I know!) Loop braids are faster to make than similar-sized macrame-type knotted pieces, once you’ve gotten used to making them. But unlike making a wider macrame piece, each increase in the number of strands for a fingerloop braid requires learning a new physical skill or two.
If the braid you want to learn has more than 8 loops, my 9-loop square braid tutorial is a necessary prerequisite. The 11-loop square braid is a necessary prerequisite before learning braids of more than 10 loops. And the 13-loop square braid will be very helpful to learn before braids of 14-18 loops.
Videos that don’t have written posts on this blog: Spiral and 2-loop braids:
I shot these 2-loop and Spiral Braid videos a long time ago, to accompany a series of photo-tutorials I was making for the
yahoo [now groups.io] discussion group of The Braid Society: Braids and Bands. You can link to the videos directly below. However, their text-and-photo tutorials are not available here, only on the Braids and Bands homepage, under their “FILE” tab (after you join the discussion group). There the text tutorials can be viewed or downloaded in PDF form. Copyright applies, download for your own use, not to sell, and not to post online.
The discussion group Braids and Bands is open to anyone to join, not just members of the Braid Society, even though the Braid Society sponsors and monitors the discussion group. You’ll need to join the discussion group in order to access its files of numerous online tutorials, but this is easy – membership is open to anyone except spam-bots. You can unjoin even more easily, or set your email preferences to daily or weekly digest, or to “no emails” and only read the discussions onsite if you don’t want to receive them in your inbox.
Note: If you download my pdf photo-tutorials on the spiral braids, be sure to also download the tutorial on the 2-loop braid – it contains the step-by-step photos for the basic braiding move for all these braids, so it is prerequisite material for all the spiral braid text tutorials. The photo-tutorials for the Spiral braids do not repeat the step-by-step photos of the basic braiding move given in the 2-loop tutorial. They only show the loop set-ups and the braiding sequence for each type of spiral braid (as well as photos of a keyfob braid project).
Spiral Braids of 4 to 10 loops, called lace bend, or lace bend rounde in 15th C. manuscripts
Right-handed (see further down for the left-handed versions):
6-loop Spiral braid, part 1, incl 3 different ways to exchange w/out turning the loop – results in no torque to the braid (a straighter braid, nice for when you are braiding a version with lengthwise striping. Also fine for the spiral pattern.)
6-loop Spiral braid, part 2, incl adding a split (buttonhole-type opening) into braid
8-loop Spiral braid, part 1, (lace bend round of viii bowes)
8-loop Spiral braid, part 2, (including vertical/ lengthwise stripes patterns. This non-spiral type of color pattern can be made with any number of loops, from 4 on up)
8-loop Spiral braid, part 3, (including a divided spiral braid, which makes two little 4-loop spiral braids at the same time – great for forming a buttonhole opening in which each side is a thin spiral braid.)
10-loop Spiral braid (requires using thumbs.)
note: 4 and 8-loop spiral braids are documented in various loop braiding manuscripts from 15th C. England. I extrapolated the 2-loop, 6-loop, and 10-loop versions I teach in the links above. They are not “documented” as far as I know, but are obvious if you are familiar with the 4-loop and 8-loop versions (and are not averse to using your thumbs), and have very likely been made by others before me.
The 8-loop method for making two separate 4-loop spiral braids simultaneously was obvious to me only in hindsight! A new braider discovered it by accident right before my eyes while I was teaching her the 8-loop spiral braid. This is a quick and attractive way to form a loop/ opening in an 8-loop spiral braid.
4-loop Spiral braid, left handed
6-loop Spiral braid, left handed
8-loop Spiral braid, left handed (Shows 2 things not covered in the right-handed videos: how to make the spiral pattern change direction, and how to unbraid a spiral braid for several cycles. Skip to halfway or so through the video, to just where I start to join up the mid-braid loop I’ve made in the braid.)
Color and Shape Variations:
Using a thicker thread or yarn for one of the two colors, and a much thinner one for the second color creates a wonderful thick-thin spiral – there’s an example in my header photo at the top of the page, second braid from the right (I used a variegated yarn for one of the colors). The 10-loop video demos this, but it can be done with any number of loops.
Check out Dominic’s bracelet for a one-color spiral braid. This makes a great texture.
“Spiral” braids can also have other color patterns than the spiral one, including lengthwise striping, a spiral with 2 lengthwise stripes (like seams) on the two sides of the braid, various dots, and a pattern similar to the classic “Grene Dorge” or Barleycorn pattern. To get other color patterns, vary the way you set the colors on the fingers at the start of braiding.
For lengthwise striping, set up the colors on the fingers so that at least one finger on each hand will be exchanging the same color loop with its “partner” finger on the other hand. (in other words, for any two fingers that are loop-exchanging ‘partners’ on opposite hands: If they both have the same color loops, and none of the other fingers hold that particular color, there will be a lengthwise stripe of that color on opposite sides of the braid.)
If any two loop-exchanging fingers carry 2 different colors, there will be a “polka-dot” stripe of those two colors on both sides of the braid. To make this clearer, the other fingers should all hold loops of a third color that contrasts well with both polka-dot colors. The resulting color pattern will be similar to the color pattern of the classic braid called Grene Dorge in the old manuscripts (a.k.a. “Barleycorn”).
If all but one of the fingers holds black loops, and one finger holds a white loop, you will get a black braid with a column of white dots on both sides of the braid.
Spiral braids of more than ten loops:
A 16-loop Spiral Braid is described in two of the 15th C. English loop braiding manuscripts, to be made by two braiders working together – the “Bend of 16 bows for 2 fellows” (Tollemache and Harley, but Noémi Speiser warns that the Tollemache description is flawed in some way [see p.64 of OEPBforLB])
You can make spiral braids of up to 20 loops braiding solo, but it requires more patience. Each ‘extra’ pair of loops (beyond 10) requires loop-shifting moves at the end of each cycle to get the loops back into starting-position. These loop-shifting moves (for me, anyway) require a fair amount of help from the other hand, unlike square and double braids, so “too-many-loops” spiral braids are slower to make than double braids of the same number of loops.
* Loop braiding encompasses both finger loop braiding (“finger-held loop-manipulation braiding” is a more technical term), and hand-held loop braiding—see my kute-uchi tutorial, as well as the photos near the end of my piece on Rodrick Owen and ancient Peruvian flat braids.
last updated: Feb 9, 2019
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