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Ahlam Academy of Middle Eastern Dance

How to Make Braids for Folkloric Egyptian Costumes

1) 1 skein of yarn in a colour to match your hair or black, your artistic choice.

2) These instructions are for braids 1.25″ (inches) thick. For this thickness, cut 120 strands that are approx 2 yards long. Keep them in one long bunch. You can adjust thickness by having more or fewer strands in your bunch.

This length, your braids will hang [approx] down to your hips. Strands may need to be longer if you are taller. If you are shorter, you can always trim them down to size.

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3) Fold the whole bunch of strands in half and tie off in the center.

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4) Hang the bunch up somewhere. I picked a doorknob and sat on the floor to braid mine. If you prefer to stand, hanging it over an “over-the-door hanger holder” would probably work well too.

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5) Separate one side into three bunches of 40 stands each and start braiding. Use your fingers to gently pick through the strands making sure they are straight and smooth.

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6) As you finish braiding each side, tie off with a soft elastic hair tie about 4″-5″ from the bottom of the braid.

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7) Take a store-bought headband that fits snuggly (or make your own) and sew the center of the braids onto the back of the headband. So, you have one braid hanging on each side of your nape. I secured mine with 2 rows of zigzag stitches. 

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Here’s what it looks like on my head

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8) Lastly, Trim the ends of the braids to about 4″. If you want the ends longer, trim accordingly. I wouldn’t recommend going shorter than 4″, as the yarn frays it can start to fluff out and look like a poodle tail. 

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How to wear this braid accessory? Put your hair up in a secure bun at the back of your head. Put the headband with the braids on and secure with pins, making sure the braids are hanging evenly. Next, put on a head veil or long scarf, secure to head and make sure it hides the back of your headband where the braids attach. Then add a decorative headband or scarf over everything to finish the look. Again secure everything, so it stays put during performances.   

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