Increasing the thickness of your dreadlocks is relatively easy when they are new: that is, a month or less old. Mature dreadlocks -- 6 months or older -- on the other hand, are slightly more difficult to thicken, but it is still doable. The best method of thickening dreads is to combine two or more dreadlocks into one, leaving you with a forked dread or "congo." By adding wool extensions, your dreadlocks will appear thicker without much actual maintenance work involved.
Comb out the dreadlocks you wish to combine. Start combing at the tips and work towards the roots.
Redread the combed dreadlocks. Backcomb the hair of both sections back together; they will now form one large dreadlock.
Place a rubber band at the combined root. Place one per every inch down the dreadlock as well. This will encourage joined growth. The length of time it will take for them to combine depends on your hair type.
Remove the rubber bands. Make sure to do this only once new, joined, locked growth has formed.
Find the roots of two dreadlocks you wish to combine.
Bind them together using embroidery floss or yarn. The closer to your scalp that you bind, the better.
Place a hair elastic at the roots.
Rub your roots. Hold the combined dread at the base and gently rub in different directions against your scalp.
Palm-roll the combined dreads together, as one, from root to tip. To palm-roll, hold the base of the dreadlock between both of your palms and roll it back and forth as fast as you can, pressing firmly.
Inserting Wool Extensions
Tear roving wool to the desired length. Be sure to tear to twice the length of what you want the final dread to be.
Shake a small amount of soap powder into the bowl.
Pour some near-boiling water into the bowl.
Place the torn strip of roving wool into the hot water. Allow it to soak for a few minutes to "felt."
Remove the felted wool from the water. Take care to not burn yourself.
Roll the wool between your palms. Do this until there is no water left inside of it.
Roll the wool strip firmly against a towel or bubble wrap on the floor. Bubble wrap acts as tiny fingers against the wool, compressing it evenly.
Repeat these steps two or three times for each wool extension.
Part a natural dreadlock at its loose roots.
Insert one end of the wool extension through the parted dread.
Secure the extension to the dreadlock either by tying it in a knot or by using a rubber band.
Elastics can stick and turn gooey if left in your hair for a long time; if you use them, be sure to remove them before this happens.
Felt just one strip of roving wool at a time, otherwise the strips will felt together.
Ashlee Green is a writer based in Pittsburgh, Pa. Her articles and interviews have appeared in "YES! Magazine," "Lalitamba Literary Journal" and "The Hamakua Times." She has a Bachelor of Arts in creative nonfiction from the University of Pittsburgh.