How to Braid Cornrows
 How to Braid Cornrows:  The long version...
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Here you will find full instructions on how to braid cornrows including answers to common questions that come up.  This page is graphics rich and has a bit of text so please give it time to load.  It'll be worth it :)

Okay here are the basic instructions, with some additional notes.  After this, there are illustrations with hand positioning tips, and common problems and solutions.  If you still need more help, join our Learning Center's Free How to Braid Cornrows Tutorial.  There you can ask questions and discuss it with others.
The first step in cornrowing is NOT parting.  It is planning

First, you must think about what kind of style you want to do.  If it helps, draw a picture or make notes.

Once you've thought about it, then you make your parts as you go along, not all at once in the beginning.

When you make your first part, bear in mind that this is going to be the guideline of the rest of the style.  Some people like to start on the left, and some on the right.

If you're doing the "sunray" pattern or another style that is dependent on interesting curves or angles, you might even want to start in the center of the head.

Either way, make your first section, and then move the other hair out of the way with a rubber band or hair clip.

To start a cornrow, first take a small bit of hair from the beginning of the row, and braid it for one or two stitches.

This is important to reduce the chance of too much tension (pulling).  A thicker row may only require one "stitch" (braid cycle), but a narrower one may require two, especially if you're working with straight hair.

It's common for braiders to pull harder on straighter hair, but this is not necessary.  If the braid won't hold from normal braiding, use hair wax or a flex gel.

Now bring this braid back towards you.

You should pick up a little hair right under where you started, and add this to the middle strand.  What you're about to do to accomplish this is called an "underhand" movement.  This is where you reach from under, and pull gently up and outwards.

To do this, the outer strands may need to be held in the crook of your pinky fingers, and your index and thumb will be holding the middle strand.

You will temporarily release that middle strand while you grab more hair, and then add it.  Then you have the middle strand plus the added hair.

Smooth this into one strand and bring it outwards and make it the outer strand.

Then again, reaching under, you will grab the new middle strand with the other hand while picking up more hair.

If it helps, you can make this two steps.  Switch the outer to the middle, get situated, and then add more hair to the new middle strand.

In time though, this will become automatic.  You've just got to practice.

Next: Hand Positioning>>>>>

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How to Guides
More on Cornrows:
The Super Duper Long Version
Hand Positions
Common Problems
Other useful free instructions:
Free Caring for African Hair Tutorial
How to Put Beads on Braids
How to Make Dreadlock Beads
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