Cord or embroidery floss

When is a braid not a braid? When you use this technique. Referred to as mystery, magic, or trick braiding, it involves manipulating a single piece of leather with two slits into a braided strip.


Mystery braiding isn't hard, but it can take a few tries to get it right. As you work, the leather twists and turns. Frankly, it looks as though you're doing something wrong, but it will smooth out at the end.

What You'll Need


  • Straightedge
  • Matte knife
  • Vegetable-tanned leather scraps, 8 oz.,
  • Awl
  • Cord or embroidery floss


  1. msl_0810_braiding_myst1_vert

    Use a straightedge and a matte knife to cut leather to size: 1/2 inch longer than you want the bracelet to be, and 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches wide. Cut 2 slits in the leather, leaving 1 inch uncut at each end. In the following diagrams, the dotted line helps you keep track of the left strip, which is the one you always begin braiding with, and the arrows at the top show you which strip moves in a given step.

  2. msl_0810_braiding_myst2_vert

    Slip the bottom of the piece through the right slit, and pull it through.

  3. msl_0810_braiding_myst3_vert

    Braid left over center.

  4. msl_0810_braiding_myst4_vert

    Braid right over center.

  5. msl_0810_braiding_myst5_vert

    Braid left over center.

  6. msl_0810_braiding_myst6_vert

    Slip the bottom through the left gap, and pull through.

  7. msl_0810_braiding_myst7_vert

    Braid right over center.

  8. msl_0810_braiding_myst8_vert

    Braid left over center.

  9. msl_0810_braiding_myst9_vert

    Braid right over center.

  10. Slip the bottom through the right gap, and pull through. Repeat, braiding (left, right, left) one more time, and slip the bottom through the left gap. Pull through, and straighten the braid. Make holes in the end with an awl, and thread cord or embroidery floss through to join the ends.

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