How to Make a Braided Quirt


Quirts (sometimes known by the Spanish, la cuarta) are short riding whips, not unlike a crop, common to western style riders. They are typically fashioned by braiding leather, rawhide strips, nylon cord or horse hair around a stiff core. There are many different styles of braiding the strips which may be used, and one end is usually fashioned into a loop wide enough to be placed over a hand, while the other is fashioned into a small loop so that thick leather straps (called poppers) can be attached to the quirt.

Things You'll Need

  • Leather or rawhide strips
  • Stove
  • Pot
  • Water
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Braid three strands of your leather or rawhide very tightly to fashion at least 9 inches of cord.

  • Fill the pot with water, and set the stove to a high heat.

  • Drop the cord into the water once it has begun to boil. Allow the cord to remain in the water for 1 minute.

  • Remove the cord and allow it to dry. The boiling will harden and shrink the cord; boiling too long will create a product which may crack or become brittle. Turn off the stove and empty the pot.

  • Cut off 1 inch from each end of the boiled, hardened cord. The cord will serve as the stiff interior for the handle of your quirt, and cutting it will provide neat edges to braid over.

  • Measure and cut three leather or rawhide strips four times the length of the finished quirt core.

  • Fold the strips in half, together, and begin braiding each side of that half independently.

  • Combine the separate braids after each braid measures 5 inches. Continue braiding for roughly a 1/2 inch.

  • Place the hardened core between the strands, and begin braiding tightly around it. Continue braiding until you have exceeded the length of the core by at least 1 inch.

  • Separate the strands into halves, and begin braiding two separate lengths of braid. Continue to do so only for another 2 inches on each side.

  • Combine the braids once again, only for a 1 inch length.

  • Trim any excess leather or rawhide after leaving a 6 inch tail of loose strands.


  • Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images
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