Oh, I'm so excited to get started on this new series of braiding posts! I wanted to clue everyone in to what I'm working on in case anyone wants to try to make one of these nifty gadgets. I've put this practice board together so that I can give clear instructions on how to do all types of braids, but I really want to share a little bit about the practice board first before I jump into the braiding.
No, this is not rocket science. Seriously, the practice board is incredibly easy to make (albeit sorta time consuming). By no means is this necessary to learn how to cornrow; I think the photos and instructions in my later posts should suffice. However, if you happen to be super OCD (like me) and have to get things perfectly figured out before experimenting on your child, then making something like this to practice on would be most helpful.
I came up with the idea when looking at the lace boards that Boo got as a Christmas present from a family member. If there are boards, latch boards, and basic skills boards for kids to learn things, how come there aren't hair boards? Okay, there probably are. And somehow I think said boards would be way out of my price range (i.e., cost anything more than $1) so I had to rule out even looking in to them.
I ran through several ideas in my head of how exactly to construct my practice board. Foam core or plywood with little holes were my initial thought. However, I decided to just head over to my local craft store and see if I couldn't be (cheaply) inspired there. And wouldn't you know it, I ran across one of these plastic mesh canvases for less than $1. Perfect! I had a whole bunch of yarn in a bin thanks to my mother (hi Mom!) so this whole project seriously only cost me the money to get two plastic canvases. I bought two so that I can do one with coloured yarn (for instructional photos) and one with entirely black yarn (to get picks of the different braids in natural black).
The yarn was easily attached by cutting pieces twice the length of the plastic canvas and then slip-knotting them through every other whole. I used a total of 90 pieces of yarn, doubled over to form 180 strands. If you're making one of your own I would highly recommend using only black yarn so that you don't get accustomed to grabbing "hair" of a particular colour while practicing.
So why am I not going to make yet another YouTube video explaining how to cornrow, french braid, and dutch braid? Well for the very reason that it would be yet another YouTube video! Anyone who has wanted to learn how to do these braiding techniques has probably already watched several of the wonderful videos that are already available. But the other reason, the more personal reason, is because I had a really hard time learning while watching the videos. I would watch them over and over again, but when it came down to actually doing it, with hair in hand, I would get lost. I blame my inner tomboy. *rolls eyes* Further, if I tried to watch a video while trying to, say, cornrow at the same time I found it extremely difficult to pause the video or rewind it while actually holding hair in my hand. So my goal with this upcoming series is to create a photographic illustration with simple instructions that can be printed and laid out ahead of time for quick reference while trying to the technique.
Whether or not this will actually work for anyone remains to be seen, but it's a new year and I have high hopes!