Below are links to all the braiding tutorials on my blog Loop Braiding, in order of difficulty (not an exact order – for example the Spiral braids are just as easy to learn as Square braids, even though I list them later). Almost all are fingerloop braiding tutorials, but there are also a couple of hand-held loop braiding tutorials. Instructions for color-pattern variations may not be listed here. Find them under the Color-Patterns tab in my upper menu, and make up your own color variations, too!
Tips and tricks posts are listed here, just below the easy/medium braiding tutorials. (Ways to finish braids, braid longer lengths, start braids with no ends at the top, put loops down in the middle of braiding, use beads in loop braids, etc.)
“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 holding more than one loop on certain fingers.
Historical references for the braids and techniques in these tutorials (which eras they are known from) are detailed in this post: Which Braids on this Site are Historically Accurate?
Follow Loop Braiding: To get a heads-up when I make a new post, click at the top of my sidebar to follow Loop Braiding. 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!
Note: 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.
Note: My header image above doesn’t refer to the tutorials, it’s at the top of all my pages, just a blog decoration photo I took back when I started this Loop Braiding site (Dec 2010). There are tutorials listed below for four of the header photo braids (going backwards – 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). Detailed info about all the header photo braids is here.
(Links below will open in a separate tab.)
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!
The 2-Loop braid, and Spiral braids of 4 to 10 loops. Spiral braids are as just as easy to learn as square and flat braids, though made in a very different way. They are strong, attractive, round braids. The 2-loop Braid is the smallest possible loop braid – a flat, 4-strand braid with a tendency to curl.
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!
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 and unorthodox braids can be learned after 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 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 bicolor-loop color pattern: ‘Lopsided Crowns.’ Several other bicolor loop color-patterns are taught in the text, below the videos, and of course you can also make up your own patterns, and use single color loops rather than bicolor ones. 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. I call it Doug’s Braid. 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 team braid listed 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 (but learn the 9-loop square braid first, to get used to transferring and shifting loops to and from the thumbs – that is too much to learn at the same time as learning a ten-loop double braid). 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 ignore the loop on the little finger.
Double braids, part 3: 6 to 10-loop Hollow double braids. No video. (The video for the flat double braid above can be followed to learn the hollow double braid as well – there is only one minor difference.) 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. The side-slit rectangle shape seems to have been commonly used for purse-strings in Medieval and later periods.* It looks a lot like the solid rectangle double braid, but with maybe a slightly neater appearance to the edges and some distinctively different color patterns when bicolor loops are used.
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.
A two-person braid from the Iron Age: Videos for two possible methods: Palms-down (like Slentre), and Palms-up. 15 loops; each braider holds 7-8 loops. The original was made in three colors of very finely-spun wool. Over-under loop braiding, no “through-loop” moves.
This braid is one of two 2,500-year-old braid artifacts uncovered in the Hallstatt Salt Mine site in the Austrian Alps! A study of both braids concluded they were most probably loop braided. (Solo-braider video coming later.)
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 requires a few rows of selective pick-up. Combining two automatic patterns together into one larger ‘combo-pattern’ also requires a bit of selective pick-up each time you switch back and forth between the two patterns.
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 as well as loop set-ups for several easy ‘automatic’ flat braid bicolor patterns for 5 and 7 loops – the charts aren’t necessary for these, you can just use the provided loop set-up positions for making each of these automatic patterns. (The charts are useful for switching between these patterns within one braid.) How to do flat braid pickup. Some ‘real’ (selective) pickup pattern charts 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.
Pick-up 4: Introducing an online pick-up pattern planner for Doug’s Braid!
Gary Mitchell’s ‘FingerTips’ braid planner site now has an interactive pattern generator for planning pick-up patterns for one of my favorite braids – Doug’s Braid. It’s a round braid, so pick-up patterns display on it in a very interesting way. This tutorial teaches how to read and braid from a chart to make Doug’s Braid pick-up patterns, and how to plan them yourself using the FingerTips planner. Charts given for several fun patterns.
7-loop “Square-and-a-half” braid. Non-traditional braid of 3 loop transfers – two with the left loops, and one with the right loops. (Halfway between a square braid and a double braid.) Text tutorial only for this braid, however an accompanying video for the larger “Odd” braid also covers a tricky move in this Square-and-a-half braid. Two methods given – the first requires using the thumb of the left hand. The second method does not require using thumbs, but requires an intricate move with the left ring finger. (This text tutorial is located within a larger tutorial I called Odd that teaches the 12-loop Double-and-a-bit-more braid, as well as this Square-and-a-half braid.)
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 Silkewerk, 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 (upper menu tab, right end). The first part explains terms I use in many of the tutorials, and the second part is a glossary of braiding/ weaving terminology, with a lot of over-explanation of how those terms relate to the actual thread passages – the underlying structural ‘architecture’ of loop braids.
Track-plan diagrams for loop braids – not a tutorial, this is a new addition to my ‘about’ pages (upper menu tab, right end). Noémi Speiser’s system for diagramming loop braids explained (I hope!). Examples in two colors to illustrate 2-track braids. These 2-color track-plans can actually be used as a map for setting up loops on fingers to braid the “Edge” pattern for any 2-layer braid with an even number of turned loop transfers.
“Tips and tricks“:
Ideas for ending braids:
Not a tutorial, just some ideas and links in my answer to a question from Lan N in the comment field below.
Ways to set down your loops in the middle of braiding.
Video, photos, text.
Color-pattern planning 1: How to arrange loops on your fingers to get the color-order you want in the braid. Includes color set-ups for several 5 to 8-loop square, flat and double braid color patterns.
Color-pattern planning 2: Zig-Zag Patterns in Flat Braids – How to arrange bicolor loops on your fingers to get the color-order you want in a flat braid. Includes color set-ups for several 7-loop flat braid zig-zag patterns, as well as several zig-zag set-ups for the 8-loop flat Double Braid (braiding method listed above under Double Braid Tutorials).
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 holding a loop on each thumb, 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]). See my 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.
Bucks Horns braid – (1st video in post) A 10-loop double-square a.k.a. solid rectangle double braid with an unorthodox loop exchange move. Known from the 17th C. loop braiding manuscripts. (a reduced version of this braid can be made with 8 loops – learn the braiding moves (except for the last move – the loop exchange) from my earlier Double Braid Tutorials above, and then follow the Bucks Horns video to learn the unorthodox loop exchange move and the color-pattern setup. Video for my solo-braider workaround method; text and illustration for the traditional two-braider method for making the unorthodox loop exchange.
The French ‘String’ With Open Edges – (2nd video in post) Another 10-loop double braid with the unorthodox loop exchange. This braid has side-slit edges, a.k.a. open edges, otherwise looks similar in shape to a solid-rectangle double braid. The unorthodox loop exchange gives a distinctively different texture/ over-under structure to the midline of the braid. This braid was a favorite choice for a pursestring braid for small precious purses from the 17th century and earlier in Europe. Video for my solo-braider workaround method; text and illustration for the traditional two-braider method for making the unorthodox loop exchange.
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.
12-loop “Odd” braid of 5 loop transfers. Non-traditional braid. Shape is Double-and-a-bit-more – one more loop transfer than a Double Braid. Video tutorial for my solo-braider method. Includes text instructions for the component 7-loop Square-and-a-half braid that one braider of a two-braider team would be making if this 12-loop braid were made by two braiders. (The other braider would be holding 5 loops, and doing regular Square Braid moves.)
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 actually 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. Each transfer that includes a color-link requires two transferring moves.
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 my current series of tutorials on Pick-up Patterning above (in the Easy-Intermediate braid section) – that is the technique used in braiding the letter-motifs of the letterbraids. See also my information page on the publication by Joy Boutrup that describes how she “broke the code” of the mysterious 17th C. letterbraids. (in my upper menu, hover on About, then click on 17th Century Letterbraids in the drop-down menu.)
14-loop Letterbraid, a solo-braider method. No video or photos. Detailed descriptions of moves. This method requires using thumbs, and carrying 3 loops on the little fingers.
Go one step at a time when learning multi-loop braids. After nine loops, add one loop (per hand) at a time, and practice til the moves are automatic before adding another pair of loops.
Number of loops is not the only measure of difficulty in a braid. To me, a 15-loop square braid feels more difficult/ cumbersome to braid than an 18-loop double braid, because some of the loop transfers have to be “helped” by the opposite hand, in a two-step process that slows down the braiding and is hard to remember and to perform fluidly. Braiding an 18-loop double braid isn’t much different from braiding a 16-loop double braid, and both seem easier to me than a 15-loop square braid.
Another factor is total number of braiding moves. The 10-loop Nun’s Letterbraid has the same number of loops as a 10-loop double braid, but it requires twice as many loop transfers (8 and 4, respectively).
* 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.
* (re side-slit rectangle double braids as purse-strings in earlier periods) Judging from some of Noemi Speiser’s descriptions of medieval and later purse strings on extant museum artifacts. I don’t have the sources at hand but my memory is that I have seen this shape mentioned by her more than once in describing purse strings.
last updated: Aug 21,2020
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