A Step-By-Step Guide to Felting Dreadlocks
Ever wanted to add vibrant, no-fade color and personality to your locks, but aren't too crazy about using chemicals to do so? Felting may be your answer, and it couldn't be easier. Just follow the four simple steps below and you'll be looking felt-astic in no time!
Important note: Felting is a way of adding permanent colour to dreadlocks - there is no way to remove it other than cutting out the felted portion of your lock.
Also, felting dreadlocks is not a technique to learn on yourself. It's a two-person effort, as the person doing the felting must have their full attention on the needle, which cannot happen if you're looking in the mirror and twisting your arms funny. Got it? Good. On with the tutorial!
Step 1 - get your gear
- Wool Roving: this is not yarn! It's wool that's been combed and carded in preparation for being spun into yarn. It can come in a long dense strip or a clump, and is available in every shade of the rainbow.
- Felting Needle: a specialized barbed tool that can be picked up at a yarn supply or craft store.
- Band Aids: hopefully not, but just in case..
Step 2 - wrap it up
Isolate the lock you'd like to add colour to.
Separate a small piece of roving and wrap a piece of it tightly around the lock, twice.
Before you begin to use the needle, make sure you're holding your dread properly, like the photo on the right. Keep your hand away from the back of your lock to avoid a painful poke to the palm or fingers.
Step 3 - needle work
Holding the wool against your dread, use the needle to push through to the other side of your lock. Pull the needle back out and repeat the motion all the way around the dread to secure the wool inside the lock.
Once secure, continue wrapping downward 2 inches at a time, pushing the needle in and out and securing the wool in the lock as you go. Don't forget to rotate the lock and get all sides!
Step 4 - check it out!
When finished, check for any missing spots of colour. Add a little more roving where necessary.
Finally, wet the felted lock with a little hot water and palm roll the roving in. This will help bind the fibers tighter, and will continue to as you wash and dry your dreads in future.
Tip: If you really want to lock the colour in from the start, add a little Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo now to your hot water, palmroll in, then gently rinse and dry. 'Wet felting' is a technique that is done with soap and water, as soap helps wool fibers bind together even more than with just hot water.
You did it! How crafty and cool are you? Now the sky's the limit for creating all kinds of colour blends and designs, customizing your luscious head o' dreads!