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3-Strand French Braid

There are several kinds of braids in which you pick up more hair and add it to the braid as you work.  When the new hair is brought up and over the braid when it is added, it is a french braid.

The three strand braid is the most basic braid, and the form most commonly known.  Because familiarity brings comfort and skill, the french braid that I will explain is a simple 3-strand.

EXPERIMENT: A mother on a chat forum said these instructions were "way confusing".  Thus, I'm finally getting around to trying two separate styles of instruction.  The instructions on the left are the same as always, and describe exactly what you do with your hands.  The new instructions on the right describe where the hair goes.

Terms to Know:

To cut out wordiness, I have decided to name the webbed area between the fingers. 

  • 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. Separate a lock of hair from the rest of the hair at the place where you want to begin the braid.
  2. Put the lock of hair in your left hand.
  3. Insert the index and middle finger of your right hand through the lock, going from underneath to the surface, separating the lock into three strands.
  4. Use your left hand to separate the strands out to the end of the hair.

Directions:

  1. Separate a lock of hair from the rest of the hair at the place where you want to begin the braid.

  2. Divide the lock into three strands.

 

  1. Put the strand on the left into slot 1L, palm up.
  1. Rotate your right hand palm down and put the strand from slot 1R into either slot 2 or 3L.
  1. Cross the right-hand strand over the middle strand.

 

  1. Move the strand in your right hand into slot 1R.
  2. Rotate your left hand palm down and put the strand from slot 1L into either slot 2 or 3R.
  1. Cross the left-hand strand over the middle strand.

 

  1. Move the strand in your left hand into slot 1L.
  2. Move the strand from slot 2 (or 3)R to slot 2L.
  3. Move the strand from slot 1R into slot 3L.
  4. Use your right hand to gather another section of hair.
  1. Pick up a section of hair from the right side of the head.

  1. Add the new strand of hair to the strand in slot 3L.
  2. Move the newly combined strand to slot 1R.
  3. Move the middle strand (in slot 2L) to slot 2R.
  4. Rotate your right hand palm down and put the strand from slot 1R into slot 2L.

  1. Add the section to the strand which is CURRENTLY on the right side.
    Note: After adding the section to the strand, make sure to separate the section from the rest of the hair.  If this note confuses you, pretend it doesn't exist and keep going.  If it doesn't confuse you, do the same after step 7.

  2. Cross the right-hand strand over the middle strand.
  1. Move the strands into your right hand (strand remaining in right hand moves to slot 1R, strand in slot 2L moves to slot 2R, strand from slot 1L moves to slot 3R.)
  2. Use  your left hand to gather another section of hair.
  3. Add the new section of hair to the strand in slot 3R.
  1. Pick up a section of hair from the left side of the head and add it to the strand which is CURRENTLY on the left side.

  2. Cross the left-hand strand over the middle strand.

  1. Rearrange the strands as necessary and continue braiding as shown.
  2. Tie off the end with a rubber band or other fastener.
  1. Repeat instructions 5-9 until you reach the base of the scalp, then continue pattern (as for basic braid) to the end of the hair.

  2. Tie off the end.

 

Want to see some examples of french braids in use?

 

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