When making fake dreads it's absolutely essential to use Kanekalon type fake-hair! You *might* get lucky with other types, but chances are slim, as "KK" is the only hair that "melts" together good enough for the dreads to stick together.
Actually, I have been making dreads for over a year and a half, and for me, I don't think the KK works as well as the cheap synthetic braid. I am probably the ONLY person who believes this, but I also iron my dreads rather than steam or hairdry them. I like smooth, melted, skinny dreads, so the reaction of synthetic to my iron is perfect. If you're looking for a more natural, hairy finish, Scarab is right: KK is better for you.
Some recent projects for me, just so this isn't text only:
Double ended synthetic dreads in flamingo pink and lime, made from the synthetic.
And a single black and flamingo pink fall with swirls made for Rachel of Agent-Designs corsetry.
I love the way wool dreads feel. They are light, bouncy, have a lot of movement, but are easy to wear even if you have shorter hair. I felted roughly 12 ounces of nice, soft wool roving that I got at the local yarn store, dyed the dreads following Knitty's instructions, and attached them by folding them over a piece of thin black elastic and affixing them with matching colored rubber bands. The dreads are super easy to wear: one just makes buns on top of one's head, ties the falls around the buns, knots a few dreads from each bunch together for height and coverage, and then covers one's real hair with scarves or fake flowers or goggles. I find that wool dreads offer a lot more coverage than synth ones without all of the weight. <3
I was sick and tired of "nice" needlepoint and decided to turn what I learned from Girl Scouts into an easy yet adorable project.
Aha! Very nice! Very versatile! Very useful for all those dropped straightpins that always find their way deep into my carpet.
And for those angsty, gloomy days when the machine won't sew straight.
One for the computer nerd.
And a coin purse, fully lined and with a zipper, done in nearly the same fashion.
I found this is a lovely project that only takes a short amount of time, cheap materials, and a scrap of fun fabric for the rear of the cushion. It's a nice gift for those in your life who sew or appreciate stichery, and a good way to practice your French knots.
Here are some other hairpieces I have done recently. Some of them are not made of synthetic hair, but the method of wearing them is the same!
Those are some natural colored double-ended dreads that ended up in a pair of falls for a customer.
These falls are made with several kinds of plastic rexlace, plastic grid mesh, EVA foam strips, vinyl tubing in two colors, and are mounted on strips of old black teeshirt. My customer had thin hair in a growing-out undercut, so she needed a pair of lightweight falls. So we used plastic rather than synthetic hair! It takes a lot of the massive weight off of the head.
So, my point is...you can use all kinds of things in your falls to make them super fancy, even if you don't know how to make dreads.
Here is a scan of my Rasputina tank top (a poor scan at that), rendered in the same fashion as the patch for my coat (sorry, no shot of that thing).
This is just a cheap muscle tank I got at Target, which gave me an excuse to run about in the men's undies section. heehee.
When you bleach black fabric with Soft Scrub, the area bleached often turns pink or salmon orange due to the fibers and the red undertones in the dye. I've also done this to a red teeshirt and the letters turned white. I guess it's the dye content.
What do you do when a phantom chinchilla eats the lining of your favorite vintage dream coat?
You patch it up, sillies.
For my patch, I used two different kinds of fabric. The stripey cloth is a cheap cotton that came from Wal-Mart and the black is a heavier canvas-like material. I recommend a heavy, tough fabric for bleach art as it likes to run on thinner cloth.
Go purchase some Soft-Scrub. That's correct: I said potty cleaner, kids. It's like bleach, but thicker, and the stuff works magic on fabric. Make sure you get the kind that actually contains bleach! No lemon scent! It does not work.
Put some of the Soft-Scrub into a bottle with a tiny, precise point. If you're poor, try an old hair color bottle or a cleaned out puffy paint tube. Use the bleach to write or draw on the thick fabric, and make certain that your letters aren't too close together as sometimes the bleach will bleed a bit.
Put your patch on a paper plate or newspaper and let the bleach dry until it crusts over and cracks. Leaving it overnight is a good move. Then, brush off and wash the patch, and ta da! Instant punk rock.
I then stitched my "libby" patch to some pretty stripey cloth, and sewed it over the chinchilla hole in my coat. All fixed! Thank god.
Once again, that is really the fake hair bible right there. I owe a good majority of my knowledge to Quinnster and her British cohorts.
I will attempt to get a camera and take pictures of my personal dread-making process as soon as I can, but here's a shortened version for now...
First, one needs something to attach the hair to. Most folks use the stretchy lace you can get at sewing shops, a leg from old tights, a ponytail holder, or a strip of fabric. I pin the lace (which I what I like to use as it's dainty) to my portable ironing board so it stretches across the short length of the board. Then I get a small, 3/4 inch wide segment of synth hair (which you can buy online or at local beauty supply stores). This is tied in a half hitch knot over the piece of lace, but you can figure out your own favorite attachment method. After this is completed, I take each end of the hair separately and backcomb it thoroughly. When you are finished, you should have two ratty tangled pieces of hair that are knotted to the lace in the middle.
I use a Sunbeam clothing iron that is on a medium setting with as much steam as possible. I twist each ratty section of hair separately, mist it with water, and then carefully iron the hair until it stays in its sticklike form. This of course is easier said than done, but be careful to keep the hair from burning and keep practicing.
Repeat. Duh. A good fall has between 20 and 40 dreads in it, depending on how much weight your head can support and how much hair you like to wear.
The final product:
This process doesn't always work out for people, so once again, I can offer to make dreadfalls for a smaller price than most vendors charge. Just email me.