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Fish Tail Braid How-To

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One of my earliest memories from school, isn't of school at all, but of my girlfriend's braided hair. Her name was Carrie, and she called it a fishtail braid. My mom only French braided my hair :-) So Carrie taught me how to braid like her hair. We would make all sorts of "friendship style" bracelets using the embroidery floss and shoe laces. When I was trying to think of new wrap bracelet style to teach all of our Lima Beaders this came to mind, of course with more of an adult spin on it.

Making more than a single wrap?

For each additional wrap around your wrist, you’ll need to add 15 inches of cord. Bracelet sizes are subjective, so we’re using a common size of 7.5″ in the chart below. We recommend testing your project often by wrapping it around your wrist to see how it feels.

1" of competed fishtail braiding is roughly 12-15" of hemp, string or smaller cord.

Single wrap (7.5″): You’ll need 30 inches of cord

2 wraps (15″): You’ll need 45 inches of cord

3 wraps (22.5″): You’ll need 60 inches of cord, for this you may want to start thinking about alternating your braiding material

4 wraps (30″): You’ll need 75 inches of cord, for this I recommend alternating your braiding material

5 wraps (37.5″): You’ll need 90 inches of cord, for this I recommend alternating your braiding materials

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Step 1

String on button and double over your core strands, in this case leather cord. Form an overhand knot. Attach to clipboard. Double over your working strands, hemp in this case, behind the core strands and secure to core strands using a simple overhand knot. Dab knot with touch of adhesive.

Step 2

Begin your braid by taking your left-hand working strand, going around and over the left-hand core strand, then under the right hand core strand. Next take your right-hand working strand, going around and over the right-hand core strand, then over the "braid" of the left-hand working strand, and finally under the left hand core strand. Complete this same series of steps over and over until your desired length is reached. It is important to always have the working strand from the same side, right or left, as the strand to be on top, otherwise you will get kinks in the the braid.

Step 3

If and when you decide to add in another material to your bracelet, there are a couple things you will need to do. First, about 1/4" from your first completed length of braiding, take a touch of hypo cement, applying it cautiously to each core strand for approximately 1/4". Continue your braid going over the adhesive. End the braid with a simple overhand knot, trimming the tails so that only about an inch is left of them. Take your next material to be braided and begin the same way as earlier, but make sure to have your new material above the tails of the former. You will braid around the tails for about 5 braids, then trimming them off and continuing with your braid. This step can be repeated as many times as you like.

Step 4

It is very important to check the size of your bracelet as you make it. Either check it against your own wrist or use a measuring tape.
Finishing off your fishtail braid is so easy. When you are approximately 1/4" from completion, take a touch of hypo cement, applying it cautiously to each core strand for approximately 1/4". Continue your braid going over the adhesive for a 1/4 strand. Form single overhand knot, dabbing knot with adhesive once again. Don't trim. Take the tails from your working strands with the tails of your core strands and jointly form an overhand knot, pulling down so that is is snug against the braided bracelet. Dab inside of this knot with adhesive and trim the working strands, leaving the core strands to be knotted for the button closure. Unclip the bracelet from the clipboard. Create another overhand knot and bring the button around to be fit. Before finalizing your knot, make sure to check that your button can fit through the loop.

Designs using this Technique