Crochet Braids Step-By-Step Tutorial

Learn how to master this natural looking protective hair extension style.
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Learn how to master this natural looking protective hair extension style.

What the hell are crochet braids? I am glad you asked. As the name suggests, crochet braids are hair extensions that are literally crocheted into your own hair (braided into cornrows) with a latch hook tool.

This type of hairstyle has been popular in the black hair community since the '90s. But today’s version is done more creatively--from the type of hair used to installation techniques to styling.

Crochet Braid Pros 

  • The application process is far quicker than that of a traditional sew-in, box braids, or even twists. 
  • There is a minimal stress to your scalp because all you’re doing is looping on synthetic hair onto your already braided hair--no pressure or pulling required, which makes this a great protective style
  • It looks unbelievably realistic. Like, “I grew this since I was a baby” realistic.

Sign me up! Well actually, sign up my sister, Sarah. She asked me to do this for her after work one day, and as part of my sisterly duties, I had to hook a sister up. Literally.

What You'll Need

free tress braid hair
  • 3 packs of braiding hair of your choice. For Sarah, we went with a synthetic deep twist pattern 
  • 1 Latch Hook 
  • 1 pair of scissors (if you choose to cut length)
latch hook tool

Here is a close up image of the latch hook, the key tool to installing crochet braids.

STEP 1: Braid pattern 

The braid pattern is equally important as the installation of the hair. The way you braid your hair will determine how the style will fall. For Sarah, we braided her hair into cornrows, which is the best foundation for crochet braids to lie on. But since she wanted a side part, we laid her braids as such, a swooping diagonal at the front of her head for the side-parting effect she was looking for. The back of her head was braided vertically. She has about 12 cornrows in her hair.

installing crochet braids

NOTE: Make sure that the braids aren’t too thick, big, or bulky and that they lay flat. The flatter they lay, the more natural the hairstyle will look.

STEP 2: Braiding hair 

Straight out of the packaging, this hair is about 22 inches. In order to obtain a more realistic length, as well as some volume, I folded the hair in half and cut it with a pair of scissors.

long curly synthetic hair

Twenty-two inches is just too damn long.

long curly synthetic hair

This is our new length.

Now that we have our cornrows in place, our tools in hand, and our hair at a manageable length, it’s time to do some easy handiwork.

STEP 3: Installation 

Begin by taking your latch hook in your hand.

installing crochet braids

Hold the latch hook like so.

With the latch open, slide it underneath the braid.

installing crochet braids

The first latch hook maneuver.

Take the hair and fold it to your desired length. 

For example: If you want short hair, keep the ends even. If you prefer the hair a little longer, separate the ends where one side is longer than the other.

For Sarah’s style: I looped the hair into one-third to get the long length she wanted. But for her bangs in particular, I folded the hair evenly. By doing these different lengths, I was able to achieve a layered look in the end. You will have a visual of what I’m referring to and see the end result in just a few more steps.

installing crochet braids

Adjusting extensions to desired length.

Loop the hair onto the hook.

installing crochet braids

The old crochet braids latch loop.


installing crochet braids

It is very important that you close the latch because you do not want the latch to tug at your hair or the loop to fall out of place.

Reverse and slide the hair back underneath the braid.

installing crochet braids

Back where we started.

Remove the hook. Take two fingers to create an opening at the loop.

installing crochet braids

Making an opening.

Feed the ends of the hairs through the hole. Now, twist the loop and feed the ends in the loop once again.

installing crochet braids

Bringing the hair through.

Pull and secure.

installing crochet braids

Securing the hair.

Separate the hair into two parts.

installing crochet braids

Sectioning off the hair.

Tie the hair, pull, and secure tightly.

installing crochet braids

I found that additionally tying the hair ensures that the knot doesn’t move AT ALL.

installing crochet braids

Knot so bad.

Here is the completed row for this small section, with the knots lying right next to one another.

installing crochet braids

This technique is super easy and can be done with quickness once you get a rhythm going.

Repeat these steps until the full head is complete.

For Sarah, this took me about three hours, but I could have finished it in about two-and-a-half. I blame Shonda Rhimes. It was “Shonday” aka Thursday aka “TGIT” aka Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder aka I got sidetracked at times.  

Here’s the end result from three different angles.

  • Have you tried crochet braids before? 
  • If not, have I convinced you to try this gorgeous style for the fall?
  • What are your TGIT plans tonight?