Ways to Grow Dreadlocks - Yarn Dreadlocks or Yarn Locks

Dreadlocks Methods: Yarn Dreadlocks
Whether locking or looking for an inexpensive hair style, Yarn Locks are here to save the day.  Yarn Dreadlocks are a simple and easy way to begin permanent ones. They offer a styling alternative to those who are afraid of the insecurity that normal locking methods provide.  

If you're going to use yarn locks as a precursor to your mature ones, leave your hair wrapped for a minimum of three to four months to be sure that the hair has begun to loc.

To check your progress, cut the yarn off one section of hair and examine it. Rewrap the exposed section. As your hair grows, you can wrap the new growth in a similar manner to help encourage dreadlocking.

To know when it's time to take your yarn locks completely, look for the signs in the right hand column.

The character Maxine Shaw on TV's "Living Single," often wore the yarn locks style.

What You'll Need to Create Yarn Dreadlocks
When purchasing a yarn/thread, choose a color that is close to that of your own hair. If you're trying to decide between yarn/thread, there are advantages to both.

Thread will produce very finely wrapped hair, whereas yarn will produce a look similar to dreadlocks. The size of your yarn/thread dreadlocks will depend on how much of the material you use.

The amount of thread used on each section will produce a finer or thicker look, but try to find an extremely thick thread similar to those used in hair weaving or for sewing upholstery.

When looking for yarn, regular knitting or crocheting yarns should do the trick, but rough up the yarn a little to make sure that it doesn't shed easily.  By doing so you'll insure that you won't have as many fuzzies.
How to Make Yarn Dreadlocks
Wash and blow/towel dry your hair. If you're wrapping to loc, use a Clarifying shampoo and do not condition your hair.

Part the hair in sections that are no smaller than .5 an inch and palmroll, two-strand twist or braid your hair into neat sections. Your parts can be in the shape of circles, squares, diamonds, etc. so be creative. If you are wrapping to loc, be particularly careful with the size of your partings.  The size of your part will determine the overall size of your dreadlocks.

If you are yarn wrapping to permanently dreadlock your hair, it's suggested that you either palm-roll, braid or two-strand twist your hair to achieve the best results because the wrapping will keep your new dreadlocks firmly in place.

Once you've finished braiding or twisting your hair, unwrap a long piece of yarn, but don't cut it.

Holding the section of the parted hair at the root with one hand, use the other to lay the yarn at the base of the scalp.

Holding the yarn in place with your finger begin liberally wrapping the yarn around the section as carefully and as neatly as possible. Make sure none of your hair shows through.

Be patient because practice makes perfect and if you really aren't sure of what you're doing, find a friend to help you out during this process.

As you work the yarn down the section, try not to hold the hair straight out and downward to avoid bunching.  When you reach the end of the section, cut the yarn so that 8-10 inches of the material remains. Use the excess to wrap the ends of the hair.

When it's time to secure the yarn lock, think needle and thread.

Create a small loop at the end of the yarn.

Make several knots by pulling the end of the yarn through the loop.

Cut off any excess yarn.

Repeat on next section.

06-22-04 "I've had dread locks twice now, both times I used dread wax. They came out pretty bad, and a person told me that putting yarn around them might be better. I was wondering exactly what I do.. Do I put get in them, and wrap them? Gel and back-combing then wrapping them?!  Wax again? Or just leave them completely alone then wrapping them? I would love, and truly appreciate a reply."

--Thanks - Kate, Colorado

Greetings Kate,
I'm sorry to hear that you're having so much trouble getting your dreadlocks together.  The good thing about yarn locks is that they're great for those who wish to dreadlock OR those who've been dreadlock'd for years.

Many people who have mature dreadlocks occasionally use yarn to give their hair a rest from manipulation and styling.  They're great during summer months or for those who engage in fitness activities or swimming.

Hopefully the above instructions have helped you better understand how to create yarn locks.  Overall, the process is similar to growing dreadlocks using "traditional" means except the yarn acts as a protective barrier that keeps the hair from unraveling.

Depending on your hair type, you would start your locks using the method that is best for you.  So if you have naturally straight hair, back-combing maybe the best option.  For those with loosely coiled hair, consider two-strands.  For those with medium curl to kinky textures, consider two-strands, braids, palms, coils...

As far as product usage with yarn locks, think like a minimalist.  If you've ever had braid extensions, you'd pretty much care for your yarn locs in the same way.  So no, you would not engage in placing all that "dreadlocks wax" onto your hair.  You wouldn't/shouldn't do that even if you didn't wear yarn locks.

Oh by the way, avoid products termed "dreadlocks wax."  Such products contain far too much beeswax or other waxes.  They're generally extremely hard in Texture and will Build-up in locks.  Opt for dreadlocks butters instead.  Where butters may also contain beeswax, it usually is not the first ingredient.  The consistency of dreadlocks butters is far smoother and will not build up in hair.  We recommend naani's naturals Lock'd Down Dreadlocks Butter.

How to Use Yarn Locks to Create Permanent Dreadlocks

Yarn Locks & Baby Dreadlocks
Yarn dreadlocks are a simple and easy way to begin permanent ones. They offer a styling alternative to those who are afraid of the insecurity that normal locking methods provide.  If you're going to use yarn dreadlocks as a precursor to your mature ones, leave your hair wrapped for a minimum of three to four months to be sure that the hair has begun to loc.

To check your progress, cut the yarn off one section of hair and examine it. Rewrap the exposed section. As your hair grows, you can wrap the new growth in a similar manner to help encourage dreadlocking.

To know when it's time to take your yarn dreadlocks completely, look for the for the signs in the right hand column.

Yarn Locks & Mature Dreadlocks
One of the major complaints from those with mature dreadlocks is how quickly, easily their hair becomes frizzy after working out or swimming.  Well if you're a whiner like me, consider yarn locks as a temporary styling option.

Yarn dreadlocks are a great way to help maintain your dreadlocks and give your hair and hands a much needed break.  So if you have thinning or are concerned about breakage, this is an inexpensive way to "repair" them while using a hands-off approach.

Lost a lock?  If you've ever had a fallen dreadlock (broken or otherwise) and wish to reattach them, yarn locks are a great way to camouflage the breakage while offering a secure structure under which the newly reattached dreadlocks have the opportunity to adhere and thrive.

Summer heat got you sizzling?  Afraid to go for a swim for fear your dreadlocks will look a hot mess?  Ease the tension and beat the heat with yarn locks.

You Know You're Lock'd When...
1. The unwrapped piece of hair feels firm and dense

2. The hair appears unlikely to unravel when washed

3. It's virtually impossible to pick/comb apart

How to Maintain and Keep Yarn Locks Neat and Clean
Remember, keeping the yarn dreadlocks in too long will encourage the hair to dreadlock. Therefore if you're not trying to get dreads, it's best to redo your yarn dreadlocks within 6-8 weeks.

Those wishing to loc their hair should avoid conditioners because they tend to retard dreadlocking in the early stages and may cause the yarn locks to slip.

Using a mild shampoo, gently wash your yarn locks while focusing primarily on the scalp.  Your goal is to lift dirt, dandruff and oils from the scalp area, not to disturb the yarn locks unnecessarily.  Rinse thoroughly and gently towel/blow dry your hair.  Be sure to use a lint-free towel.

Light oils such as naani's naturals Moisturizing Hair & Body Mist or Spritz-It Ultralite Hair Oyle can be used to address dry scalp issues.  Be sure to focus the oil on the scalp area rather than the yarn locks. 

Article Series

This article is part 6 of a 6 part series. Other articles in this series are shown below:
  1. Ways to Grow Dreadlocks - Double Strand Twists or Three Strand Twists
  2. Ways to Grow Dreadlocks - Freeform, Organic, Neglect Dreadlocks
  3. Ways to Grow Dreadlocks - Interlocks or Latch-hook Locks
  4. Ways to Grow Dreadlocks - Palm Rolls
  5. Ways to Grow Dreadlocks - Two Strand Twists
  6. Ways to Grow Dreadlocks - Yarn Dreadlocks or Yarn Locks


Comment #1 (Posted by titkeya) Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
i've had dreadlocks before and i want them back. I first learn about yarn locks when an article was done on erica alexander who was on living single. im choosing this method because i dont want to cut my hair again. now i can sit back and let my hair lock up again. thank you so much this information has been so helpful
Comment #2 (Posted by Markisha) Rating: ratingfullratingemptyratingemptyratingemptyratingempty Unrated
I wanted to learn how to re-attach my locs (they are not dreadful to me) but I didn't see any information pertaining to how to re-attach a broken loc or what to use to re-attach a broken loc.
Comment #3 (Posted by zayonari from mexico) Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
hey what's up girl? excellent report, i have my drealocks two years (are a veri little) XD ok ok is don't funny XD, i like your photos, hom sorry for my englis bad, i living one time in carolina nort, (never estudy good the englis) ok ok i'm go, bye, kisses, and selassie jah is the king of kings, lion of lion's. bobachanti, rastaman, god of god.
Comment #4 (Posted by an unknown user) Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingemptyratingempty Unrated
Can you show a pic of the ends after you cut off the excess yarn? Ive done this to my husbands hair but the ends look ridiculous and after only a couple of days theyre unraveling. What am i to do?
Comment #5 (Posted by ROKKEY) Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
please how do you double twist is it how to do african twisting or roll it
Comment #6 (Posted by nikki) Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
peace and blessing to you this article was very helpful to me i myself have the yarn locks ever since january i paid $235 for my hair and it was all worth it i love my hair i am pregnant now and my hair is growing so fast but i would prefer this to alot of woman natural beauty is the key.
Comment #7 (Posted by John ) Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
Hi i wanted to know where would be the best place to look at pics of yarn dreads. I am wanting to get yarn dreads this summer. And i want to know what type of hair if i wanted them to look naturally real. Like if i grew them my self. I don't want the yarn look because it will make them look fake. I wanted to know if there was a type of hair that i could use to take the place of the yarn and whats the type. please respond ASAP.

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