How to do yarn braids

Updated April 17, 2017

Yarn braids, otherwise known as genie locs, are temporary hair extensions which involve braiding soft acrylic yarn into your natural hair. You can use yarn that matches your hair colour or you can add vibrant colours such as purple or red. A ball of yarn can be purchased for under £3 in most department or craft supply stores, so yarn braids are an inexpensive way to keep hair styled and protected. They should be removed after four to six weeks.

Measure the length you'd like the yarn braids to be with a measuring tape. You can make them as long or as short as you'd like. Keep in mind that the longer the hair, the more time-consuming the process of braiding will be.

Double the length decided in Step 1 and cut the yarn with a scissor. You want each piece of yarn to be double the final length of the hair.

Cut several pieces of yarn to the same length. How many you need will depend on how many braids you will be making. You may need to cut yarn as you go, based upon your progress. Lay the yarn out neatly next to your work area.

Brush your clean, dry hair to remove any tangles.

Separate your hair into four sections using a rattail comb: two in the front and two in the back. You will be beginning in the back of your head so clip all but one rear section up and out of your way.

Select a one-inch section of hair and moisturise with a light styling oil.

Grasp two pieces of yarn at their centres. There should be an equal length of yarn on either side of the centre.

Place the centre loop of the yarn next to the scalp right underneath the one-inch section of hair. Pull the hair through the centre loop and grasp the top of the yarn and the hair tightly at the root.

Divide the yarn and hair into three sections for braiding. You should have two pieces of yarn on the left, your hair in the centre and the other two pieces of yarn on the right. Continue holding the top of the entire bundle tightly with one hand.

Braid the yarn and hair together as you would normally braid. Do this by bringing the left section to the centre, then the right to the centre and so on.

Braid until you have about 1/2 inch of natural hair left. At this point, bring one piece of yarn from the right section over to the natural hair and continue braiding. You will now have your original two pieces of yarn on the left, your hair plus one piece of yarn in the centre and a single piece of yarn on the right.

Continue braiding the yarn until you reach the end. Add a small elastic to hold the braid.

Repeat Steps 6 to 12 for your entire head.


Wash and dry your braids carefully as yarn can hold moisture and develop odours over time.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Acrylic yarn
  • Scissor
  • Brush
  • Rat-tail comb
  • Hair clips
  • Light styling oil
  • Small elastics
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Ava Perez cut her journalism teeth in 2005 while balancing her university studies with a voracious appetite for fashion, music and beauty. Her music reviews, interviews and editorials have been published in numerous magazines worldwide. She specializes in writing beauty, health and fitness-related articles for various websites. Perez holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from York University.