Yay, on to the next set of braiding instructions! I've already covered How to French Braid, The Difference Between French Braids, Dutch Braids, and Cornrows, as well as how to make one of these nifty braiding practice boards. Next up are the Dutch braids. If you know how to French braid (or learned from my previous post) you will be amazingly surprised at how easy Dutch braids are to do.
1. Grab a row of "hair" and separate into three sections. This example has three colours that represent three sections of hair.
2. This is where we do things a little differently than French braids. Do a stitch of regular braids, but do them underhanded rather than overhanded. This means that the outside sections of hair will first pass under the middle section, rather than over the middle section, as is done on French braids.
3. The section in your left hand should be the "green" coloured hair. This is the section to which we will be adding hair (the purple hair, like pictured above).
4. Cross the left-handed hair (the green and purple hair formed above) under the middle section of hair.
5. Add some hair to the section that is in your right hand (the purple hair). The hair that you will be adding will be from the right side, or the green hair.
6. Now pass that under the middle section of hair.
7. Repeat the instructions above. Add hair to the left-most section of hair from the left side of the braid (adding purple hair to the cream hair).
8. Cross the left-handed hair (the cream and purple hair formed above) under the middle section of hair.
9. Add hair to the right-most section of hair from the right-handed side.
10. Cross the right-handed section under the middle section.
11. Add hair to the left-most section of hair from the left-handed side.
12. Cross the left-handed section under the middle section.
And that's it! It is exactly the same concept as the French braid; you are adding hair to the outside and passing it across the middle hair in each step. The only difference between the Dutch braid and the French braid how the hair is passed across the middle section: For French braids you pass it over and for Dutch braids you pass it under.
To be very honest, I was greatly confused between Dutch braids and cornrows. When I was first learning I thought that Dutch braids were cornrows. D'oh! Then as I was learning I thought that the only difference was how much hair you added to the sections. It was only upon great research (and much practice) that I finally figured out it wasn't just how much hair I was grabbing but to which sections I was adding it! But I like to consider my personal situation as proof-positive that you can learn how to do all these braids entirely on the Internet.
I'd also like to reiterate some of my suggestions for practicing that I outlined in my French braid post, just in case you've come to this article exclusively to learn how to Dutch braid:
- If you are using a practice board, it's probably easiest to replicate these steps exactly, laying each section down while practicing it until you get the hang of when to add hair, and to which section you should be adding it.
- The next step would be to practice doing all of the above steps while holding all three sections of the hair in your hand (never setting any strands down).
- Then you will want to practice your tension, pulling the strands away from each other to get an increasingly tighter braid. The Example above is very loose, and for straight, fine hair a loose French braid is just fine. But if you're trying to keep the fuzzies away on tightly coiled hair it is best to French braid as tightly as possible without stressing the scalp.
- As you practice, you will notice that you will need to pick up either larger chunks of hair, or smaller chunks of hair, depending on how thick your child's hair is and what look you are going for.