DIY Box Braid Necklace

The moment we saw Phillip Lim‘s Box Braid Collar Necklace, we were immediately overcome with a wave of nostalgia. Our memories of a neon, plastic box braid lanyard was suddenly transformed into a sophisticated leather jewelry component. Honestly, brilliant! Inspired by our fondness of Lim’s necklace and our love of utilizing hardware, we made our own interpretation of a box braid necklace. And in case you forgot how to make your favorite childhood summertime craft, take a trip down memory lane with us!

You’ll need:
– 12 yards of micro-fiber faux suede (we highly recommend using micro-fiber suede because it’s super soft, flexible and easy to work with)
– 4 rubber bands
– an assortment of small, medium and large washers.

Start by cutting the suede in 4 three-yard pieces. Tie them together in a knot, leaving about 15 inches of slack which will serve as ties for the necklace. Because the strands are so long, tying them into bundles using rubber bands makes them more manageable and prevents tangling. Starting at the knot, spread the strands to form a cross. Fold the first vertical strand to the opposite side, creating a loop. Fold the opposing vertical strand to the opposite side, creating another loop. Hold the parallel loops in place with one hand. With the other hand, weave a horizontal strand over the closest loop and under the next loop. Do the exact opposite with the last horizontal strand. Pull the four strands tightly. (Click images to enlarge).

Repeat the box braid until you are ready to add washers to the necklace. We started braiding in the smallest washer after the first 3 inches. Undo one of the bundles. Thread on a washer and let it fall to the base of box braid. Continue with the box braid weave and tighten, securing the washer. Keep the bundle unwrapped as it will be the only strand to which you’ll add washers. And to keep the washers on one side of the box braid, add washers to every other weave. Gradually add larger washers for a graduated effect.

Once the necklace is finished, trim the ends. You can either finish the necklace with another knot like the first knot or undo the first knot – whichever you prefer. The necklace is adjustable in length and can be secured by a knot or a bow.

Wear it as a necklace, wrap bracelet or even a headband!

(top image via Ssense, rest of images by Honestly…WTF)

Leave a Comment

147 Comments

  1. Emy Koster wrote:

    Simply amazing!! Such a simple idea but such an eyecatcher! I love it!!
    xx
    Emy

    http://sweetpromises.tumblr.com/

    3.29.11
    Reply
  2. Lotti wrote:

    OMG I love it!! Will make one…NOW!! 🙂

    3.29.11
    Reply
  3. Julia wrote:

    This looks seriously cool, I’m going to start making these the second I get some money/figure out where to buy washers!

    3.29.11
    Reply
  4. Wow, you guys are freaking awesome!
    That necklace is to die for! 🙂

    xoxo
    http://fashionagony.blogspot.com/

    3.29.11
    Reply
  5. Jus wrote:

    I absolutely LOVE this! well done! I can’t wait to make my own. Thanks for the DIY xo

    stagethreeprojects.wordpress.com

    3.29.11
    Reply
  6. Love this diy! The final product is so cool, definitely doing this one.

    http://www.fashionablecollections.blogspot.com

    3.29.11
    Reply
  7. january wrote:

    this is actually incredible. i love your diy ideas

    january, x
    jessicajanuary.com

    3.29.11
    Reply
  8. Katie wrote:

    What a perfect DIY for those of us unwilling to outgrow our childhood camp crafts. Great job 🙂

    3.29.11
    Reply
  9. Wow, I love this! I have not made a box braid since I was a little girl. This brings back so many memories. Thanks for the idea to use it in “grown-up” fashion. Can’t wait to try this project!

    3.29.11
    Reply
  10. This may be my favorite Honestly WTF DIY yet … and that’s saying a lot! Bravo you guys!

    3.29.11
    Reply
  11. Lauren wrote:

    you guys always feature the coolest DIYs! I love this one.

    Laurenlovestoshare

    3.29.11
    Reply
  12. Mortira wrote:

    I like your version way better! The cord is gorgeous, and the shape is just right. I love the addition of the washers for texture and they really do add an extra grown-up quality. Love it!

    3.29.11
    Reply
  13. lauren wrote:

    WHAT!!!!!?

    you guys blow me away!

    just ONE more thing to add to my growing DIY list!
    this summer will be busy!!

    xo-L
    http://www.thesphinxandthemilkyway.com

    3.29.11
    Reply
  14. Kaila wrote:

    LOVE this!

    I’ve made the hex-nut bracelet, now I must try this!!

    xo
    http://cestclassique.blogspot.com/

    3.29.11
    Reply
  15. Vanessa wrote:

    wonderful!

    3.29.11
    Reply
  16. emerja wrote:

    Wow, I love it, I need to try it!!

    http://www.emerjadesign.blogspot.com

    3.29.11
    Reply
  17. Arielle wrote:

    I love following your blog for all the amaazzzingg DIY’s. Always so creative & edgy!

    3.29.11
    Reply
  18. La-La Linh wrote:

    I can’t tell you how much I love your blog. Your DIY ideas are awesome and so trendy! LOVE!

    3.29.11
    Reply
  19. You gals never disappoint! I loooove this! Definitely going on my list of DIYs!

    3.29.11
    Reply
  20. Sara wrote:

    Omgosh, crazy lanyard-middle-school-flashback! This is a great idea, and super easy! I must try this….

    3.29.11
    Reply
  21. Shaunie wrote:

    You guys have done it again….simply chic. Loves it.

    3.29.11
    Reply
  22. grace wrote:

    that is simply spectacular!

    3.29.11
    Reply
  23. Wish I had some DIY talent…so impressive!

    http://thestylestitch.blogspot.com/

    3.29.11
    Reply
  24. anne wrote:

    that’s great!!!! I’ll try to do this as soon as I can!

    3.29.11
    Reply
  25. Tammy wrote:

    This truly is better than Philip Lim’s!! Gorgeous .

    3.29.11
    Reply
  26. So cool! I love relearning all those friendship knots I used to know and update them for “grownup” wear. Great idea 🙂

    xoxo Maria

    3.29.11
    Reply
  27. j wrote:

    love this even more than Phillip Lim’s! may be a bit ambitious, but how about making a waist-cinching belt out of it?!

    -j
    http://sorelleinstyle.blogspot.com

    3.29.11
    Reply
  28. Darling wrote:

    I will definitely try this on a rainy day!

    3.29.11
    Reply
  29. sarah wrote:

    funny, I’ve been box braiding 25 yards of leather (though, admittedly, haven’t worked on it in a while) to DIY a shrug featured in Russian Vogue last year. I never did much of this as a kid (more friendship bracelets for me), but it definitely triggered a few good camp memories!

    3.29.11
    Reply
  30. {gemmifer} wrote:

    You girls have done it again! I like your design better than the Phillip Lim version and can’t wait to make one for myself!

    3.29.11
    Reply
  31. 1129design wrote:

    I could’nt stop myself.. I had to share it!!!
    http://1129designorecchinigioielli.blogspot.com/2011/03/diy-box-braid-necklace-nuovo-tutorial.html
    peace&love
    nicoletta

    3.29.11
    Reply
  32. Michelle wrote:

    This is awesome- you sure are clever folk!!

    x
    Michelle
    Michelle’s Style File

    3.29.11
    Reply
  33. Nadia wrote:

    Ohmygod, that’s so cool and i love how it looks in the end! Thanks for sharing haha

    3.30.11
    Reply
  34. cleoinlove wrote:

    it looks amazing…i really love to try to make one…:)

    3.30.11
    Reply
  35. Jesse wrote:

    LOVE IT!

    3.30.11
    Reply
  36. Rebelle Fleur wrote:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE.
    Can’t wait to make!

    xx
    http://www.rebellefleur713.blogspot.com

    3.30.11
    Reply
  37. You weren’t inspired by anything else? 😉 Very cute!

    3.31.11
    Reply
  38. Lizzie wrote:

    WUTTHAT’SSOAMAZINGYOUGUYSAREAMAZINGHONESTLY,WTF?!

    3.31.11
    Reply
  39. Amazing! I love love love!
    http://www.simplyrosepetal.blogspot.com

    4.1.11
    Reply
  40. Celia wrote:

    WTF!? You guys are amazing.

    4.1.11
    Reply
  41. Danielle wrote:

    I am simply delighted with all your diy projects.

    4.1.11
    Reply
  42. Fleur wrote:

    When I was young I made this with ‘scooby doos’, it was a real hype and I have 100 of strengs left.
    It looks mazing with the leather.

    4.2.11
    Reply
  43. Lex wrote:

    this necklace is awesome! I’ve been extremely inspired by the tribal trend lately and created a DIY dream catcher necklace. check it out on my blog burnoutbrite! http://burnoutbrite.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/diy-dream-catcher-necklace/

    4.2.11
    Reply
  44. Amber Kane wrote:

    This is GREAT. It reminds me of my days in elementary school when I was making everything out of gimp, what a grown up look for an old technique.

    4.4.11
    Reply
  45. Mansi wrote:

    i totally love it…. its really cool and love the finishing of the knots 🙂

    4.5.11
    Reply
  46. Star wrote:

    I don’t understand how you started… I know how to start traditional box stitches with lace… but for the life of my I can understand how you have two open ends on your necklace….

    PLEASE TELL ME!

    4.6.11
    Reply
  47. Rebecca wrote:

    I used to make these at camp, although with plastic lacing and no washers, but still! Great DIY!

    4.6.11
    Reply
  48. erica wrote:

    Star, we started with a traditional knot and then at the end, undid the knot to create an open end. The suede is unlike plastic where it will stay the way it is. The knot just helps you get started!

    4.8.11
    Reply
  49. beadinggem wrote:

    I remember the craft from way back but I love the new look for jewelry. The double necklace is awesome! I will feature/link this super tutorial in a future blog post so others can come visit!

    Pearl
    http://www.beadinggem.com

    4.9.11
    Reply
  50. Nomadic D wrote:

    holy crap! this is one of the best diys since your shibori one! And now I’m going to have to run out and get supplies. I totally had forgotten about lanyards! And instantly I had a vision of me, 7 years old, hot summers in wisconsin, churning these out like i was shooting for child laborer of the year. The circle of life, here I go again! I’ll let you know when I get mine done.

    http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/

    4.10.11
    Reply
  51. Eva wrote:

    How amazing does that neclace look!
    Please tell me, where can i buy washers??

    4.26.11
    Reply
  52. reilly wrote:

    Best diy in like,,,idk EVER!!!

    5.18.11
    Reply
  53. reilly wrote:

    how far down do I tie the knot so that my necklace is nicely centered like the one pictured??!! I’ll admit i’ve been trying to figure it out and i’m completely stumped??!!!

    5.18.11
    Reply
    • erica wrote:

      @Reilly, you can tie the knot as far down as you want. the trick is that after you get the box braid started, you can actually undo the knot and add or undo the braid to make it centered. the knot is for the purpose of starting the box braid! hope that makes sense!

      5.18.11
  54. Catie wrote:

    washer neclace

    5.26.11
    Reply
  55. Kenzie wrote:

    totallyyyyy making one or many of these. They are so great!

    6.12.11
    Reply
  56. Danz wrote:

    Very clever ladies!!! Luvs it!!!

    7.14.11
    Reply
  57. Whtiney wrote:

    What would be the best thing to do if the leather tears in the middle of the braid?

    7.15.11
    Reply
  58. Sophie wrote:

    I love these – so cool, but I had so much trouble making them…
    this website really helped me : http://www.ehow.com/how_8635133_do-box-braid-knots.html
    Enjoy!! (:

    7.26.11
    Reply
  59. katie wrote:

    had to laugh spent all summer doing box with little kids at summer camp using gimp (that plastic string stuff) & the DIY is fantastic

    7.26.11
    Reply
  60. Molly P wrote:

    I loved this… and of course was totally inspired to take it in my own direction. Using my own personal mods (cotton? washers? what?) I made a version for myself.
    Check it out at http://americanaandtheuk.blogspot.com/2011/08/dyi-box-braid-necklace-only-different.html

    8.16.11
    Reply
  61. Rebekah wrote:

    Hey, I’m really struggling to do the box braid, everything keeps getting tangles and it just isn’t working. anyone got any tips?

    thanks 🙂

    9.17.11
    Reply
  62. Wow! So beautiful !

    9.27.11
    Reply
  63. Nicola Robertson wrote:

    I absolutely LOVE this! Thats why I always come back to visit this site. i love to see exceptional designs which are simple but gorgeous. Keep going

    10.10.11
    Reply
  64. Christina wrote:

    I think I love you! Great ideas, beautiful stuff- I especially love your necklaces! I can`t wait to start making them tomorrow (morning) 😀 Thank you and keep up the good work!

    11.18.11
    Reply
  65. Anna wrote:

    Wow. I can’t stop looking at it. That’s plain awesomeness. Will most definitely make this.

    11.30.11
    Reply
  66. Karen wrote:

    I have never tried a box braid, but am def gonna give this necklace a go!
    Can you tell me how many mm’s thick the cord you use is? And is it a flat cord? I may want to try this in real leather too see what I get. thanks!

    12.9.11
    Reply
  67. Emily wrote:

    Where can I get these supplies?? Online or in NYC stores?

    12.20.11
    Reply
  68. Nettan wrote:

    Gorgeous. Made one the other day :):)

    1.18.12
    Reply
  69. Woojoo wrote:

    Awesome tute! Your interpretation is luxurious looking, and I like the way you have them layered.

    1.19.12
    Reply
  70. hella wrote:

    like scoobydoo!

    1.25.12
    Reply
  71. Arie wrote:

    where can i get the micro-fiber faux suede? i have tried many stores but never found the micro-fiber faux suede

    3.11.12
    Reply
  72. louise wrote:

    Amazing! How large are the different washers in mm? Are trying to find them here in a hardware store in DK…

    3.28.12
    Reply
  73. Aline wrote:

    PERFECTION!

    4.5.12
    Reply
  74. Amanda wrote:

    I found faux suede on etsy.com, haven’t purchased any yet, but I plan to in the next day or so! No luck with the washers yet…

    4.13.12
    Reply
  75. Elizabeth wrote:

    when i pull the strand tightly they just fall apart on me and i just cant get past the first braid can any one help me please?

    4.20.12
    Reply
  76. Kelsey wrote:

    very inspiring. Im going to try this soon.

    5.29.12
    Reply
  77. Amy wrote:

    I made this for my friends Birthday present, she loved it and didn’t believe I had made it! Thanks for the tutorial xx

    6.5.12
    Reply
  78. SFR! wrote:

    I made it! I love this necklace ^^, thanks! :**

    6.6.12
    Reply
  79. concepcion wrote:

    hola chicas alguna me comenta como se llama este nudo o trenza

    6.6.12
    Reply
  80. Awesome such a conversation piece.

    6.14.12
    Reply
  81. Very beautiful ! I like it very much. So surprised!

    7.26.12
    Reply
  82. Merel wrote:

    Hey
    I made a necklace DIY roundup a while ago.
    I featured your DIY in it.
    And I forgot to tell you (so sorry)
    Better late than never.
    If you aren’t okay with it, please tell me.

    http://birdsandkittens.blogspot.nl/2012/06/diy-roundup-necklaces.html

    Please check it out!

    9.2.12
    Reply
  83. Steffanie wrote:

    Hi,
    Thank you so much for this amazing post.
    I just wanted to know if you can recommend a website were I can order the materials to do it.
    As in my town i havent got half of all I need to make the necklace, maybe I can order by internet?
    But I cant find a good website…
    Maybe you have some good ones to give me?
    Thank you so much!
    Steffanie

    12.5.12
    Reply
  84. Ieasha wrote:

    THAT IS COOL LOL :~)

    12.7.12
    Reply
  85. Ieasha wrote:

    i know how to do that

    12.7.12
    Reply
  86. Tim wrote:

    The black and tan complement each other very nicely. I would wear this necklace with proud.

    12.30.12
    Reply
  87. SASmith (@web_shopaholic) wrote:

    These are sooo beautiful! You are very brilliant! I’m speechless because I am ‘that’ loving everything about your jewelry! I wanna learn this and I also want to learn other great techniques that’s why I also enrolled in Dragonfly Designs (http://www.jewelrybydfly.com) to learn everything crafts and jewelry making.

    3.27.13
    Reply
  88. muskan wrote:

    I don’t like it seriously.I like beaded necklace & bracelet.

    10.3.13
    Reply
  89. goldilockets wrote:

    Already found this one -you gotta try it with satin ribbons! Impossible to describe-but much lighter than the not-suede version. Also works with regular o-rings, gotta experiment with the sizes.

    12.10.14
    Reply
  90. goldilockets wrote:

    I forgot to mention-I saw the question about where to get the cords- my local bead shop carries it by the yard in gorgeous colors!

    12.10.14
    Reply
  91. Christina wrote:

    Wow, cool. I was randomly surfing and came across your blog, and this post from 2011. You wrote about the Phillip Lim box braid necklace, and I just wanted to say- I used to work for Phillip Lim, and we hand-made that necklace! A whole team of us spent days box braiding leather strips to get them ready in time for a fashion show. Your post just brought me back in time. Cheers!

    2.28.18
    Reply
    • Erica wrote:

      @Christina, Wow! What an amazing story!!! Thanks so much for sharing and kudos to you for hand making them all. They’re definitely tedious and time consuming! xx

      3.1.18