Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Making a Four-Part Round Braid

A four-part round braid is very versatile.
It's used for everything from bolo ties and belts to horse tack and whips. It's my preferred strap for purses and pouches, being both handsome and strong. It's also the thing I'm asked to teach more often than any other crafting skill I have.
So I've made a two-minute video demonstrating the four-part round braid.
Click the play button on the video window below to watch it or, if you prefer a larger view window, watch it on YouTube at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0afO40tsqAc
Once you learn how to make this braid, play around with mixing colors. You can get some interesting looking braids depending on the number of colors and their placement.
I finish mine off by stitching through the layers of leather with artificial sinew and binding with a double wrap-around. This secures the ends from coming loose and is easy to conceal with a leather wrap.
(This braid can be made with thinner materials by using a rope or cord as a center core and wrapping your four parts around it!)
For anyone interested in learning more about leather braiding or fancy knot tying, I recommend the book Leather Braiding by Bruce Grant. It's extremely easy to learn from, with wonderful illustrations by Larry Spinelli. Available through your Public Library or favorite bookstore.

video

17 comments:

Imran said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
aosLeather said...

Thank you for your kind remarks!

pjturner said...

Your work is absolutely beautiful!

aosLeather said...

thank you! :-D

FAPORT International said...

I think i must try it..

eva said...

I really like your leather

msubulldog said...

Your tutorial is great! What size (width?) deer lace are you using in that example?

aosLeather said...

Thanks for your comment! I cut the strips about 1/4" wide in that video. That's about the size I usually use unless I'm looking for a particularly delicate or burly strap ;-)

LoriAngela said...

Thanks for your great tutorial. I want to make braided reins like my sister who has moved away. She loaned me her book, but your video is so helpful. One question: lengths of leather. Do I start with 3 times the finished length?

aosLeather said...

Hi LoriAngela - thanks for your kind words! The length needed will vary according to the thickness of the leather (or whatever you are braiding) and how long your braid will be, but it is unlikely that you'd need to make it that much longer under any conditions! Generally speaking a length of 1.5 to 2 times the length you want to wind up with will suffice :-)

brandy said...

hey, thanks for posting this video. i have been searching high and low for a tutorial with pictures at least for doing a round braid! it was very easy to understand and i will be bookmarking it for when i am ready to try this myself! thanks again!

ddawne said...

I am trying to brain 4 strand show dog leashes. The one I purchased a couple of years ago appears to have been finished by weaving the strands back into braid. Can you tell me how to do this?

aosLeather said...

hi ddawne - sorry it took me a little while to get back to you... busy holiday this year! I would be glad to assist you if you haven't already found your answer but it would be difficult in this comment area. please email me if you still need help with this! aosleather @ gmail.com

Joe said...

Hello, I'm new but thru your excellent tutorial I got the knack quite quickly. Not perfect but improving.
Im using 3/16" deerskin leather, and 3/16" white polyester & polypropylene core for a bracelet. The 3/16" leather cord covers the circumference of the core. My problem, the white core shows thru in spots probably due to uneven pressure used to tighten each braid cycle or poorly cut leather. The topside of the braid is much better than underside since I cannot see while braiding. (I can look under after each cycle.) Is there a "trade secret" to tighen up leather to conceal the open white spots? Or buy black cord next time or, use 1/8" core. Soaking leather do any good?
if not polyester I can dye white core. Any suggestions. Your tutorial better than Grant's book.
Thanks so much, Joe

Art of Spirit LeatherWorks said...

Thanks, Joe - that last sentence is quite a compliment, indeed!
wetting the leather won't likely prove helpful and may do more harm than good to the overall appearance.
I would certainly recommend matching the cord color to the leather color whenever possible. When and if that isn't possible, cutting the deerhide a bit wider may help.
Saving the best for last: a great finishing step that may help a lot is to roll the completed braid between your palm and a flat surface - this helps equalize the tension and that one trick may help a lot with the issue you describe!
Thanks for watching and for your comments - have fun! - Kathy

Lara said...

Hooray!
Thanks so much for posting this ~ I've been looking everywhere for a tutorial and this one is very easy to follow :)

Art of Spirit LeatherWorks said...

Thank you, Lara... glad i could help!