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5-Strand

The 5-strand is the most basic form of odd-numbered multiple strand braids.  Really it's done the same way as a 3-strand, but it's often not until the 5-strand is learned that the concept behind both is learned.

Terms to Know:

Slots: To cut out wordiness, I have decided to call the webbed area between the fingers "slots." 

  • Slot 1 is between the thumb and index fingers.
  • Slot 2 is between the index and middle fingers.
  • Slot 3 is between the middle and ring fingers.
  • Slot 4 is between the ring and little fingers.

Right and left hands will be denoted by a capital R or L after the slot number.  For example, 1R is between the thumb and index finger of the right hand.

Directions:

  1. Gather a section of hair where you want the braid to start.
  2. Insert your right hand palm up from beneath the section upwards to separate the strands.  The fifth strand will be on the outside of your pinkie.

Note: You can also start by separating the hair into two not-quite equal sections, and separate and start braiding one half at a time.  Further explanation below.

Directions:

NOTE: I've changed how I do these.  This set of instructions will reflect the new method, not necessarily the pictures.  The change only affects the start of the braid.

  1. Gather a section of hair where you want the braid to start.
  2. Split the hair into three strands.
  3. Cross the right strand over the middle strand, then the left strand over the new middle strand.
  1. Gather the left three sections in your left hand and hold the right two in your right hand, palm down.

Note: Make sure that the middle strand is between the ring and pinkie finger, and that there is an empty slot between the middle strand and the next strand to the left.  All of the left hand strands can be held together at this point if desired.

  1. Turn your right hand palm up, bringing the outside strand under the second strand.

  1. Pick up a section of hair from the right side of the head.  This is the fourth of five strands.
  2. Cross the new right-hand strand under the strand next to it, then over the middle strand (currently second to left strand).
  1. Place the strand which had been the outside right strand in the empty slot between the left two strands and the middle strand.
  2. Move the now formerly-middle strand to your right hand.  If you are doing more than five stands, put it in the same slot with the new far-right strand.
  1. Move the new middle strand to between the ring and pinkie finger of the right hand.
  2. Shuffle the strands in your left hand so that the far left strand is in slot 2 and the next strand in is in slot 1. (This is the time when you separate the left-hand strands if necessary.)
  3. Turn your left hand palm up to bring the far left strand under the next strand in.
  1. Pick up a section of hair from the left side of the head.  This is the fifth strand.
  2. Cross the new left-hand strand under the strand next to it, then over the middle strand.
  1. Place the strand which had been the outside left strand in the empty slot between the right two strands and the middle strand.
  2. Move the now formerly-middle strand to your left hand.  If you are doing more than five stands, put it in the same slot with the new far-left strand.
  1. Separate out the strands on the right.

Note: When separating strands which were combined, remember that the strand on top is the outside strand, because it has to go under first.  The strand which tends to hang towards the outside is actually the second-from-edge strand.

  1. Pick up a section of hair from the right side of the head and add it to the right-hand strand.
  2. Cross the right-hand strand under then over (and so on, if there are more than five strands) until you cross the middle strand (with five strands, just an under and over).
  1. Repeat 3-12, pausing at each side to gather another section of hair into the outside strand before braiding it to the center.
  1. Pick up a section of hair from the left side of the head and add it to the left-hand strand.
  2. Cross the left-hand strand under then over (and so on, if there are more than five strands) until you cross the middle strand (with five strands, just an under and over).
  1. Continue 3-12 after there is no more hair to gather, down to the bottom of the braid. 
  1. Repeat instructions 8-11 until you run out of hair to add, then continue braiding in pattern to the end of the braid.
  1. Tie off the braid with a hair fastener.
  1. Tie off the braid with a hair fastener.

 

Want to see some examples of 5-strands and more in use?

 

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