Making Dreadlocks From Plats or Braids Method

Popular names for this method:

Short hair is recommended for this method so that the hair that was braided can later be trimmed off leaving you with only the hair that had locked at the base of the braid.

  • Braiding Method
  • Locking from Plats/Braids


Locking dreads up from braids is not for everyone but it does have some distinct advantages and works well in some situations. The first thing to understand about locking from braids is that the hair that starts out braided should eventually be trimmed away after the dreadlocks have begun locking. This is not a big deal if you only have an inch or so of hair in plats, since you're not loosing much length, but it would be hard to part with more than that. Of course it's not mandatory that you trim of the braided ends but the texture of the braid will always remain in the dread. This is because hair in a plat lays parallel or beside the other hair and the plat prevents much movement. The ony hair that actually locks is the hair that worked it's way out of the plat. This is the loose fuzzy hair that you might see on the surface of braids that need to be redone. Even after this hair locks, which takes a considerable amount of time, the majority of the hair remains trapped in the plat and never truly becomes a dreadlock. This is why it's best to start with very short braids or plats and just trim off the dready braided ends after the dreads grow out a bit and are mature enough to hold their own.


How long does the hair need to be to start locs from plats?

It only needs to be long enough that you can put it in plats. This depends more on the skill of the person putting in the braids/plats than anything else. Usually about 1" to 3" is ideal.



Starting Dreadlocks from Plats Step by Step

  • 1. To ensure that the dreads and the spacing end up even you can section all of the hair before you begin plating. The larger the section the thicker the dreads. Keep sections square so dreads grow round, not flat. Secure the sections with a clip or a rubber band/hair elastic as you go.
  • 2. After the hair has been sectioned remove the clip or band and braid each section. The braids do not need to be extra tight, there's no reason to put unnecessary stress on the roots of the hair. Secure each plat at the tip with a band as you finish it. These bands on the tips should be tight so they do not accidentally come off. You do not have to worry about damaging hair that you will trim off later.
  • 3. Apply Knatty Dread cream to the braid. Use enough cream to ensure that the entire length of the hair gets some. Beyond that, extra cream provides no additional benefit. Resist temptation to taste the Knatty Dread cream. (I know exactly how good it smells but you must resist.)
  • 4. As the new growth begins to grow out you'll need to help it lock. The preferred method for dreadlocking the new grow is called "Clockwise Rubbing". Learn how to Clockwise Rub on this page.



The twists are not dreads when they are first made and will be delicate until they have really begun to lock. This can be 2 to 6 months or so but this estimate is only a guide. Locking times can vary as much as hair types can vary and as much as maintenance and lifestyle can vary.


Sleeping with Locks. It is a good idea to sleep with a silk scarf or nylon over the dreads to prevent them from picking up fuzzies.

The quality of the loc cream used, your activity level and how rough you are with the dreads will determine how long the twists will stay tight. High activity level and sweating can cause twists to loosen. If these activities are part of your lifestyle cover your twists with a nylon cap that holds your twists securely. Rinse sweaty locks though a stocking as mentioned on the dreadlocks shampoo page. If you can find a loc cream that provides a longer lasting, fresher or tighter feeling than my Knatty Dread cream I want to know about it! For quite some time now I appear to have a leg up on the competition! Give it a try and let me know what you think.