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If you’re thinking of making wool dreads for the first time, you should read this whole article, and maybe even look up some more information before you start. It’s a lot of trial and error, but you don’t want to be in the middle of it and have an unanswered question. I did not just come up with this on my own, I wouldn’t even say I’ve mastered it. I used many different tutorials found elsewhere on the web. However, I found it very fun and got nice results so I wanted to share it with my friends here.
To start out with, you’re going to need a few things. Wool roving, which you can buy dyed or natural, and comes in many different types. I reccommend merino, because it dreads easiest. I couldn’t find any nearby, so I bought mine off of ebay. You’ll need a different amount depending on how thick and long you want the falls to be. You’ll also need baking soda (soda of bicarbonate), a large bowl, a few towels, thread, and elastic cord or lace. If you buy natural colored wool, you’ll need something to dye it with later, I would suggest kool-aid (or flavor aid, etc. Just drink mix with no sugar,) because it’s easy to use and smells nice. Before you start you’re going to need to cover the area you’ll be working in with towels. I’d also suggest working in a place where it won’t be a big deal if something spills, or splatters. I personally use my shower stall. Next, take your wool and cut a length of it keeping in mind how long you want your ending dreads to be. I made dreads of several different lengths to give a layered effect. Then you will split the length of wool into sections keeping in mind how thick you want the dreads to be. The dread will end up a couple inches longer and about 1/3 the thickness of the starting piece of wool. This tutorial is for making double ended dreads, which can also be braided into your hair (just like elysee star dreads.) So you want to make the dreads twice as long as you want them to hang from your hair. I would suggest only cutting and splitting one length of wool at a time and keeping the rest in a bag in the meantime. Otherwise you’ll end up with cat hair, your hair, carpet fuzz, string, and everything else in your wool. Finally, you’ll heat up your water, as hot as you can stand preferably, and be prepared to re-heat it several times. Add baking soda to the water. I didn’t use an exact amount, the best rule of thumb I can give you is that you can’t really add too much. The idea behind the baking soda is to make the water alkaline.
Now you’re ready to begin dreading! Place the wool section you want to begin with in the water/baking soda mixture and let it soak for about two minutes. I was impatient and probably only let each piece soak for a few seconds and I had to re-dread them several times. The soaking opens up the cuticle of the wool, facilitating the “dreading.” After it’s soaked, pull one end out of the water and roll it quickly between your hands, forming a tapered end. It’s best to keep all the wool except what you’re dreading at that moment submerged in the water. Work your way down the length of the wool, rolling between your hands. If you can stand it, I would suggest fluffing out each section before you roll it to prevent creases. To taper the other end, once again roll it quickly. You may need to re-roll the length to get it uniform, but that’s basically it! It takes a lot of trying before you get what works for you going, so don’t give up. In case anyone is wondering, the way you process the wool is known as wet felting. Once you’ve finished for the day, you want to tie them together with yarn or string and hang them up to dry.