7 braid Mystery Belt
belt, secrets revealed
If you read on I'll take the mystery out of the Mystery Braid for you.
If you would rather just buy a custom made belt, Plain, Dress,
Braided, or a Ranger belt you can save this for another time and
go directly to
If you are staying here, lets get started!
Plenty of people make a "Mystery Braid" belt so maybe someone
has made a braided belt this way but I've never seen one. This belt has
a different "twist" than the simple 3 and 5 braid belts that most
leather crafters make.
My method of locking in the braid is also a lot easier than the
methods shown in most manuals.
Braided belts are simple and in theory this belt is simple too.
The hard part is knowing the shape to cut out... and actually doing it.
Not only are both ends of the belt different, the 3/8" strips
have to be
evenly cut by hand with a knife and straight edge. That seems simple
until you try it. Start with a 2-5/8" wide belt blank and cut one end
to taper to 1-3/4",.
Remember both ends are different. The other end of the belt is
Cut the buckle end of the belt like this as it tapers to 1-3/4"
bevel all edges and apply dye, edge finish and wax.
I leave the buckle end long until the belt is braided because the
belt will get shorter when the strips don't run
straight as they do now. I roughly figure that the belt will shrink 1"
for each foot of braid. Figure all this out before you cut so that you
will end up with the belt waist size that you want.
I do on this end is straighten out the belt strands like this while the
leather is still soft from applying the dye and finish.
we are ready to do the "Mystery Braid". My method is simple but we need
to learn a couple terms. I have divided the belt strands with 3 on one
and 4 on the other. This space between them I call "The Middle" even
really isn't. This is our reference point. The top of "The Middle"
where the middle gets narrow, in the top of the picture near where the
holes start, is called "The Top". Remember where "The Top" and "The
Middle" are. Ok, we start the braid by
crossing over the 4th strand on the right. It is important to count the
braid as you do it. When you cross over the first strand, that's ONE.
When you cross over the strand on the left, that's TWO.
This belt has 7 strands so braid 7 times. (If there were 5
strands like on the 5 braid belt you would only count to 5.)
the trick to locking in the braid. Take the tongue and pass it through
"The Middle". Then the strands will be twisted as
they appear in the picture below.
picture shows the space above the middle called "The Top" with 4
right and 3 on the left with the unfinished braid below.
pass the tongue through "The Top" to straighten out the twists in the
That's simple enough, isn't it? That
gives you this loosely braided belt. What you have done once you can do
at the buckle end and tighten the braid. That will mean crossing 14
strands but not to worry about the count. When the strands above "The
Middle" are straight we are back to where we started and can braid
counting up to 7... then pass the tongue through "The Middle" and
through "The Top". Do
that as many times as you can by forcing the braid really tight to the
should end up with something like this. Now go through the braid and
even it out by braiding it tighter on the top and feeding the looseness
to the bottom. Look at this picture and the one above to see how the
braid ends differently on each end.
the braid is evened out and I have done one more thing. I have made a
final trim on the sides of the belt where the braid starts on the
tongue end. Take a look at the picture above to see the difference. I
do this last because the tightness of the braid affects the angle.
This produces a full and substantial 1-3/4" belt the
same width through the braided section as on the ends.
Now you can remeasure the length and determine where to
the buckle so that you have the size you want. That's all there is to
If you have the
tools and materials needed you
make your own or go
to my Leather
Belt page to have one made for you.
Ready to learn more? How
a Handmade Leather Belt or how
about making a Custom
made leather Backpack
Custom made Braided belts, Harness leather belts, Ranger belts,
Dress belts and Bridle leather belts are available from LeatherGoods Connection
by Henry Hibbard