What Are Dreadlocks Beads?

Lakshmi Sandhana

Dreadlocks beads are very popular hair accessories for those sporting dreadlocks, which is a type of hairstyle where the hair is in the form of matted locks. These beads add a flamboyant flair and can be used to give dreadlocks a more tamed look. They can be found in stores or can be cannibalized from old necklaces. Natural dread beads are made of materials like shell, stone, or wood, while man-made ones can be made of plastic, polymer clay, or glass. While they are normally used for aesthetic purposes, they can also help to restrict growing hair, thereby helping the person have more control over the style.

Visiting a loctician is recommended for those seeking to style their hair into dreadlocks.
Visiting a loctician is recommended for those seeking to style their hair into dreadlocks.

People who wear dreadlocks may circulate their beads from lock to lock or replace them frequently to control the way their hair grows. Anyone buying dreadlocks beads for the first time has to take into the account the thickness of the locks and find beads with the appropriate hole diameter. It's best to buy loose beads of different materials and shapes to better identify the types that best suit a person's dreadlocks. Some prefer to go through old jewelery and pick out promising specimens or locate earring tunnels.

Bob Marley influenced the popularity of dreadlocks.
Bob Marley influenced the popularity of dreadlocks.

The most important factor to keep in mind when buying beads is to look for those with unlined holes. Many beads have a finish on the inside of the hole, which wears off over time. To avoid a scenario where there coating ends up on the locks of the person wearing them, dread bead buyers either chose those without the inside coating or use a bead reamer to remove it. Some people prefer to create their own dreadlocks beads because the really interesting ones are hard to come by. They can be made quite easily with a little polymer clay, a stick, and a wire frame.

Wire frames add durability to dreadlocks beads and prevents them from breaking easily. The wire is wrapped around the stick tightly and covered with polymer clay; designs and patterns can be formed on the clay with a needle or the sharp edge of a toothpick. The bead is dried and fired according to the instructions provided by the clay manufacturer. It is possible to create layered beads by making a base bead and allowing it to cool before applying another layer of clay. For very round designs, it may be best to use more wire or a little ball of aluminum foil as the base.

Some dreadlocks beads enthusiasts prefer to buy their own tools to have more options on the types of beads they can use. It's possible to get inexpensive tools to increase the size of the hole in a bead or remove its inner lining. Bead reamers and bead drills are just a few of the tools that dreadlocks beads wearers use.

Dreadlocks beads are often made from colored polymer clay.
Dreadlocks beads are often made from colored polymer clay.

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Discussion Comments


@serenesurface-- Well said! I agree with you. I make my own dreadlocks beads from wood. I engrave them and make spirals that go around the dreadlocks.


@ysmina-- Actually the right beads for dreads are everywhere. You can even make them from other accessories. It just requires some creativity and imagination.

The other day, I saw huge beads in a girl's dreadlocks. She used them to control the dreadlocks and to lock in her style. It was so unique and just awesome. I looked at her hair for a long time, it was such a creative idea.

So I don't think that there any rules about what type of beads can be used in dreadlocks, or how the beads ought to be used. A part of wearing this hairstyle is pushing limitations, being different and unique. So why should we limit ourselves when it comes to decorating our dreadlocks?


I have dreadlocks in my hair. It's not my real hair, they are extensions. I'm now looking to decorate them with beads. It seems like it would be easy to find beads for dreadlocks. But I'm looking for very unique ones that I can identify with as a person. So I'm taking my time. I don't think I have the time or patience to make them myself. I'll probably purchase them online or from craft stores.

Does anyone here have beaded dreadlocks? Where do you get the beads? And what type of beads do you prefer?

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