This post is especially for Shonya and anybody else who needs the info. I know this sort of thing would have helped me tremendously a few months ago. I learned how from the book, Kinki Kreations, and pointers from friends. Since it's a little difficult to braid, bead, and take pictures, Miah helped me out with the camera.
Now let's get started.
You will need a regular comb, a bristle brush, hair grease, beads, and ouchless elastics (I don't really know what these are called. They aren't rubber bands. They are plastic and don't damage the hair.) You will also need a very thin wire. I use a thin flexible covered craft wire. The towel is for wiping your comb and hands. They get greasy. The comb with the really pointy metal tip is what I use to take the braids out. The braids look good for a couple weeks. I tend to leave it a little longer, because I'm lazy.
By the way, I just use regular plastic craft beads. If anybody knows of something that may be softer, I'd love to hear about it. The beads have never bothered Zahana, and she even likes to shake her head to hear them click together. When she sits in my lap and leans her head against my chest though, they hurt me.
Wash and condition the hair immediately before fixing it. It's easier to comb through that way. I set Zahana up in a high chair with food and a movie. This keeps her from moving her head around so much, distracts her, and keeps her happy. It generally takes the length of a whole movie for me to finish. Larkin keeps her happy by bringing more food. She still cries and jerks her head around some though.
Begin by parting the hair. Don't part in the same place every time. Vary your pattern. Get creative.
Section off the first piece using the comb. The bigger the braids, the less you have to do, but don't make them so big that the beads don't fit.
Apply grease to the scalp all the way around the section. Just rub it along the line. You can smooth a little of the excess up into the hair with your finger.
Comb the section. This is where we get the tears. You can start at the ends of the hair to get the tangles out more gently. You want to eventually be combing all the way from the base to the ends to bring that grease up through the hair. Use the bristle brush if you need to remove any lint, etc. from the hair.
Braid the section all the way out to the end. Your hands will be getting greasy and working the grease into the hair while you braid too.
Loop your wire and slide on the desired number of beads. I like to use four. Whichever bead you put on first will come out on top.
Put the end of the braid through the loop in the wire.
Slide the beads up onto the hair. Pull out the wire.
Slide all the beads up except the bottom one. Fold the end of the braid up over the bottom bead. You just need enough overlapping to secure with a band. Don't get too much or you'll have a big puff of hair between the braids.
Wrap a band around the hair directly above the bottom bead. You'll be securing the folded up end to the main part of the braid. Wrap your band around as many times as you can. Slide the other beads down. Try to push them down over the band, but sometimes it's too thick.
And there's your finished braid. Repeat until the whole head is covered.
Kiss away the tears, clean up, and go take a breather!