I am one of those people who is truly all thumbs. My typing is slow, my fingers aren't nimble--I feel as though I have no dexterity.
Yet, I was so charmed by the look of the 4 strand box braid and the 5 strand flat braid that I made it my business to learn how to do them, no matter how long it took.
I started learning each braid by doing it as a half-up braid. Having less hair to work with seemed to make it much easier. Also, doing a half-up allowed me to have a decent sized braid with more plaits than if I tried to braid the length of my hair.
It took me at least a week to learn the 4 strand box braid. It was really something new to try to figure out the fingering, even though I had the pattern firmly in my mind.
I remember that I would attempt making that 4 strand braid, and I would get a few rounds into it and then make a mistake. I would then start over. As soon as I felt the least bit frustrated, I called it quits for that day.
Yet, day by day, my fingering got better. The muscle memory was beginning to get there. Finally one day I made that 4 strand box braid in a half-updo! After that, I knew how to do it forever.
The pattern for the box braid is very easy. It's a really nice looking braid because it has a 3-dimensional quality.
1. Divide the hair in 4 equal strands.
2. Mentally number the strands from left to right: 1, 2, 3, 4.
3. Take strand 1. Bring it under strands 2 and 3 and then over strand 3. It will now sit in the strand 2 place.
4. Take strand 4. Bring it under strands 3 and 2 and then over strand 2. It will now sit in the strand 3 place.
5. Rename the strand again from left to right, 1, 2, 3 and 4. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the braid is done.
If you have trouble with this, don't worry. You are using fingering that you're not used to. Yet I guarantee that with practice, anyone can do this. You just need patience, and don't be frustrated if you don't learn it in a day.
Once you learn it, you will be able to start doing it in a French style too.
Here is a photo of my 4 strand box braid half-up. It is held with a Scunci Ouchless Invisible elastic. They're made of silicone, and I find them to be quite hair friendly, although they need a bit more care to remove than the regular Scunci elastics that I talked about earlier this week.
Have fun braiding!