HAND-CRAFTED LEATHER GOODS
Making a round braid Lanyard
The round braid lanyard is relatively easy to make, and
shouldn’t take you more than a couple of hours your first time you make one.
After that, it should be roughly an hour to complete one. You can make these
lanyards with as many or as few drops as you want or need.
To begin, you need the following items. It is best with this braid to use two contrasting colours of lace. Sixteen feet of one colour of lace and eighteen feet of a contrasting colour lace. Two 6' pieces of lace for side drops (if you want them) some strong fishing line and some thin superglue.
To begin with double your two strands of lace and ensure they are of equal lengths. One colour will be a 12" longer than the other. Lie them one on top of the other on a table so that the longest is below with the shorter on top and about 8 or 9 inches below the bend of the longest as shown in Fig 1.
The next step is to bind these two sections together with our fishing line or something similar, Fig 2. You need a strong material, that is not bulky to do this, which is why we, by preference, use fishing line. It doesn't absorb water and is strong without being bulky.
It's really only so you can braid the two together more easily. Now you can start your braid, but you are going to need a place to hang your lanyard while you braid it. I have a hook screwed into the edge of my bench for this purpose. Whatever you use, it will need to be sturdy enough to hold a bit of pulling on the strands.
Hang your strands by the long loop and them separate them so that you have the
same two colours on each side, Fig 3. Here I have the lighter strands on the left and
the darker strands on the right. This is an easy braid to master because after
each pass, you always end up with the same two colours on the same side and on
the side you started originally. It sounds harder than it is. You will get the
hang of it as we go along.
I find it easiest to always start on the right hand side. Take the outermost
dark strand and bring behind all the other three remaining strands Then
bring it up between the two lighter strands Figs 4 and 5.
Now bring it across the two centres strands so it is on the side it started out on Fig 6. Grab the two pale strands and the two darker strands and tighten it up a bit Fig 7. You wont be able to do much at this point, just get it snug and then start out on your second pass. Observe that the original outer strand is now the inside dark strand on the right side. With each pass, the strands go from being on the outside to being on the inside. This is very important, so do not let your attention wander. Here you can see that the strands have been snugged up a bit and the original outer strand is now on the inside on the dark side. Now you are going to do the same thing on the pale side. With this braid, you switch sides with each pass. You always bring the outer strand behind and over the two centre strands, and the strands change position with each pass, going from being the outer strand to the inner stand each pass, Take the outer pale strand and bring it behind the two centre strands and then back over the two centre strands back to the darker side where it now becomes the inner strand.
Again, after snugging things up a bit, the original outer pale strand is now
the inner strand on the paler side. This is what you should have before you begin
your next pass.
Remember, you change sides with each pass, so now you're going to start on the
We take the outer dark strand and bring it behind the two centre strands
Pull it through and over the top of the two centre strands where it becomes the inner dark stand again. Start on the pale side, take the outer pale strand and bring it behind the two centre strands and then back over the top of the two centre strands. Continue braiding this way, keeping everything taut and snug. After a few passes it should start to look like this, Fig 13 - 15.
However it seldom fails that when you do start to make some real progress in your lanyard you have to stop to take the dog outside or something else distracts you and you have to stop right in the middle of your what you were doing.. When this happens tie a loop knot in the side you need to do next so you can stay on track, see Fig 16.
While this braid may look a little complicated, it is really an easy braid to do. Once you've made one or two, you will develop a rhythm and they will never take you any time at all to braid. Once you have your lanyard braided to the length you want it (and the easiest way to do that is to test it by hanging it around your neck from time to time) it is time to tie it off and put some drops on the side if you wish. How to do that comes next.
The first step is to tie the ends off just as you did when you started your
lanyard Fig 17.
Next tie the entire lanyard together into a loop. If you look closely at your lanyard you will see that the braids form a line of the
same colour on four sides. Make sure when you tie your lanyard together, that you
don’t twist it. Keep everything lined up straight.
Then tie it off and put some thin superglue on the thread wraps, making sure not to get it on the braid. Remember back when we first started your lanyard, you made one section longer than the other. This section will become one of your drops. This long section ensures that you have a good tight connection all the way through the lanyard when you tie it off and put in your drops.
I prefer using drops of different colours, and for this lanyard, use one pale and one dark, and make the wrap to hold it all together the same pale colour also. The choice is always yours, there are no set rule here so do whatever you like. Begin by cutting the small loop close to where you tied your lanyard together, Fig 18.
Now cut one end of the long loop off close to the wraps also, and tie an over hand knot in the end to remind you that it is one of your drops. The next step will require a piece of lace about 12" long. Just cut an excess piece off to get this section. You will use it to tie off the lanyard.
Lay the piece you cut off along side all the ends sticking out of your lanyard end as shown in the next picture Fig 20. Next, choose the colour strand you will want for your finishing knot. Start wrapping over all the strands and the loop you just laid in from the bottom up to the top.
Ten to twelve wraps should do it ensuring they are tight. On your last wrap, bring the end you are wrapping with up between the sides of the lanyard as shown by the red arrow below.
Now, insert the end you wrapped with in the loop you laid in. Now the fun begins. Grab a pair of pliers for the next step. We are going to pull the strand we wrapped with (red arrow) back under the wraps by pulling on the end strands of our loop (blue arrow) Figs 21 - 24.
Keep the wraps tight when you do this, the tighter the better. It will take some effort but the tighter you can get it the more strength your lanyard will have. Work the strand back under the wraps.
You will have to really put some effort into it. If you don’t get it the first time, it is not hard to untie it and start over. Once you have it where you are happy with it, cut the excess end off about ½ inch from your knot and single them with a lighter. Make sure you don’t cut your drops off! This is what you should have at this point. Now just tie in a couple of hangman nooses for your bottom drops Figs 25 - 28. Take one of your drops and form a loop. Now take a spare piece of lace, make a loop with it and lay it alongside the loop you made with your drop strand.
Using the tag end of your dropper strand, wrap from the bottom up over both the tan and olive loops. 5 or 6 wraps should be good. Slip the tag end of your lanyard loop through the other loop you laid in (pale in this case) and pull it back under the wraps as you did with the finishing knot.
Pull the tag end while holding the loop until the knot is tight, then cut the excess off. Do the same for the other dropper loop and will end up looking like this, Figs 29 - 31. You can have as many drops on the end of your lanyard as you want, but make sure you stagger them .
A goodly number of drops seems to be between 2 or 3. Any more and it gets a bit heavy around the neck with side drops. You can put side drops on a lanyard in many different ways. Some folks just “drop a loop” while braiding. Others just tie them in with an overhand knot or use a large snap ring to attach the drop to the side of the lanyard. If you use the snap rings, just tie hangman’s nooses to attach them. You can get some black snap rings at any fishing store. Then slip them through one of your braided loops in the side of your lanyard.
The next step is to pry open the adjacent pale loop as you did the first, and insert the other end of your lace that will form your side drop though the hole. The second key is to make sure that you form the loop on the inside of the lanyard as shown by the red arrow.
Now, bring the two tag ends up and through the loop we just formed and when it's pulled tight itt will look like this when you are done, Figs 32-38. It will look like the drops have been braided right into the lanyard. This is a very neat and strong attachment, although it is permanent.
Do the same thing on the opposite side and you will now tie in the hangman’s nooses and be done. Wrap from the bottom up about 4 or 5 times over all the strands Then bring the end you were wrapping with through the loop you formed with your spare lace and pull tight. Tie in a hangman’s noose on the other end Repeat the process for the other side of your lanyard and you are done!