The art of plaiting cords is useful for everyday needs and decorative items for the home and farm. Plaited cording is formed to create rope, lariats, belts, clothing, furniture trim and decor. Start with simple plaits consisting of three strands and work up to four strands of cording for a thicker piece. The plaited item will be shorter than the single cords used to make it. Work plaits from the outside cords into the centre of the set of cords on all projects.
Place three cords of equal length on a work surface. Tie the three strands together securely and flatten out the strands. Hold the strands in place on the work surface with tape or loop them over a nail or cup hook that is affixed to the wall.
Pick up the left-hand cord and place it over the centre cord. The left-hand cord is now the centre cord.
Pick up the right-hand cord and place it over the centre cord.
Plait the remainder of the cording by first wrapping the left-hand cord over the centre cord, then the right hand cord over the centre cord.
Tie a secure knot at the end of the plait to finish the project.
Place four strands of cording that are the same length side-by-side on a work surface. Tie a firm knot to secure them together at one end. Number the cords, from left to right: 1 on the far left, 2, 3, and number 4 on the far right.
Pick up the number 3 cord and cross it over and around the 2 cord. This places the 3 cord in the 2 place.
Pick up the number 1 or far-left cord and cross it over the 2 and 3 cords. Pass it under the right-hand cord, which now puts it in the 2 place.
Pick up the free number 4 cord and pass it over the twisted 1 and 2 cords to the left. Tuck it under the number 1 cord. Notice that at this point, the number 1 cord is crossed over the 3 and 4 cords and finishes under the number 1 cord only.
Pull the number 3 cord from the far left, back around the number 1 and 4 cords, finishing with it wrapped around and under the number 1 cord. Continue plaiting or braiding by bringing the outer right-hand cord around to the plait, and then the outer left-hand cord as you continue the process. Note that you are braiding from the outside into the plait.
Use coloured cords as a guide to learn how to undertake the plaiting method.