How to Braid 4 Cords

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Weaving a simple four-cord braid won't leave you in knots.
Weaving a simple four-cord braid won't leave you in knots. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

While most people learn how to make a three-strand braid, weaving a four-strand braid is not as common. There are several types of four-strand braids, including flat and round. Both are sturdier than a three-strand braid and less likely to unravel. A flat four-strand braid is similar to a three-strand braid, except that there is a small diamond pattern running down the center, produced by the fourth strand. A round four-strand braid is often called a spiral or diamond braid. Use a four-strand braid to weave a rope for utility purposes, to make a craft cord for jewelry, a ribbon for a floral bouquet, or even for your own hair.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 cords
  • Masking tape

Flat Braid

Line up the ends of each of the four cords; each should be 1 1/2 times as long as the desired finished braid. Tie an overhand knot near the end to secure the cords together. Tape the knot to a flat surface where you can work the braid. Omit this step if your cords are already connected at one end -- if you’re braiding hair, for example.

Separate the four cords so they aren’t tangled or overlapping. Keep track of which cord is which, 1 through 4 from left to right.

Bring cord 1 (the left-most cord) over cord 2 (the adjacent cord), under cord 3 and over cord 4. Pull the cords to tighten them. Cord 1 is now cord 4 because it now occupies the right-most position in the four-cord series.

Bring the new cord 1 over cord 2, under cord 3 and over cord 4. Pull the cords to tighten them.

Braid until your braid is the desired length. After a few repetitions, the pattern will emerge. Maintain tension on the cords at all times for a tight, even braid.

Round Braid

Line up the ends of each of the four cords, and tie and overhand knot near the end to secure the cords together. Tape the knot to a flat surface where you can work the braid. Omit this step if your cords are already connected at one end -- if you’re braiding hair, for example.

Separate the four cords so they aren’t tangled or overlapping. Keep track of which cord is which, 1 through 4 from left to right.

Cross cord 2 over cord 3. You are essentially crossing the two middle cords, the first over the second. Cord 2 becomes the new cord 3 and vice versa.

Bring cord 1 under cords 2 and 3. Bring cord 1 around cord 3, placing it between cords 2 and 3. Cord 1 becomes the new cord 2. Pull the cords to tighten them.

Bring cord 4 under cords 3 and 2. Bring cord 4 around cord 2, placing it between cords 2 and 3. Cord 4 becomes the new cord 3. Pull the cords to tighten them.

Braid until the cord reaches the desired length. After a few repetitions, the pattern will emerge. Maintain tension on the cords at all times for a tight, even braid.

Tips & Warnings

  • Hold the cords close to the braid, not at the ends. This helps to maintain tension on the cords, producing an even braid without gaps or lumps.

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References

  • Fun with String: A Collection of String Games, Useful Braiding & Weaving; Joseph Leeming
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