How to make felt dreads

Updated November 21, 2016

If you want some fancy-coloured dreadlocks but don't want to ruin your hair, making felt dreads is the way to do it. It's easy and will cost you a lot less than buying them. They can be worn as falls, which can be taken on and off, or extensions, which are braided into hair and are semipermanent. To get started making your own dreads you need only a few supplies and some free time.

Fill saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Turn off stove and let the saucepan sit. Put on your rubber gloves. Measure 79 ml (1/3 cup) of washing powder and pour it into the large bowl. Measure 474 ml (2 cups) of hot water and pour into the bowl with the washing powder. Mix until the detergent is dissolved.

Cut the roving wool twice as long as you want your dreads to be. If you want them 30 cm (12 inches) long, cut the roving wool to 60 cm (24 inches). Place one cut piece of wool into the bowl with the washing powder and let it set for two minutes. Do not place more than one piece at a time into the solution or they will stick together.

Grab one end of the wool and start rolling it in the palms of your hands. Keep rolling until you reach the end of the wool. It should now start to look like a dread.

Place a towel onto a flat surface. Roll the dread on the towel as though you are rolling out a piece of bread dough. Be sure to use a lot of pressure so that the fibres in the dread will hold together.

Repeat all of the steps for as many dreads as you want to make. Run all of your dreads through the same process twice to ensure they are felted tightly. The second time you can place more than one piece in the water because they won't stick together.


Roving wool is wool that has been combed, clumped and twisted to hold all the fibres together. It can be found at any crafts shop or department store in the sewing section.

Things You'll Need

  • Roving wool
  • All-natural washing powder
  • Large bowl
  • Hot water
  • Towel
  • Rubber gloves
  • Large saucepan
  • Measuring cup
  • Scissors
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