Backer Rod Dreads...



Hey guys, I've seen a few posts about backer rod dreads and asking how to make 'em. I'm by no means an expert or pro, but I just wanted to throw together a quick and dirty on how I made my backer rod dreads.

Materials required:

Backer rod
Stove burner

NOTE: This tutorial includes two dangerous elements: heat, and sharp things. Do not touch the burner while it's hot, and don't run with the scissors.

1. Trim backer rod to length

***EDIT**************************************** Pirkleations/Dave sent me a way he figured out that seems like it may work better:

I tried out a couple of Dred shaping methods including yours from the huntorial, which worked really well. Thanks!!
I'd like to suggest the heated cookie sheet method as another option. The heated sheet kept a consistent amount of heat on the dred tip an I rolled it back and
forth on the sheet surface(using an oven mitt and I got a very clean, smooth and tapered tip as a result in about 30 seconds. This was with 5/8 inch backer rod.

It sounds like this yields better results than my way, so you may wanna try it first. Now, back to my old-fashioned way.


2. Heat stove (I used HIGH to get it done ASAP, but start lower if need be.)

3. Hold backer rod at an angle toward the heated burner. This allows the tip to heat more than the body, causing it to shrink more. (You may also trim the rod to a taper ahead of time with the scissors, to get a smoother tip. If you don't, the tip will be kinda wrinkly, but I think it looks more realistic this way.) Keep rotating the rod above the heat to keep it evenly heated. This doesn't take long, so watch it closely. You'll see it starting to shrink up, hopefully more at the tip.


4. When the tip has softened and shrunk up some, remove it from the heat and gently shape it with your fingers. BE CAREFUL, it may be really hot and stick to your fingers! You may wanna wear gloves at this point. Alternately, you could also roll it on the countertop to even it out.

5. Once you've shaped the tip, you may need to trim it a little to get it perfect.

The result:


(The black is where I tested Plasti-Dip spray on them. It gives them a nice rubbery coat that doesn't rub off.)

Each one took less than a minute to make. Take note: this method will most likely not end up in a perfect, smooth taper. It will be a tad rough and wrinkly, but I think this actually adds to the realism. After all, twisted wiry hair wouldn't be perfectly smooth, would it?


On a side note, I've heard several people complain that the backer rod dreads stick out too far or don't hang naturally. Using the burner, you can heat the top of the dread a little, then put a bend in it and hold it til it cools. It'll keep the bend nicely. You don't want to heat it as much as you did the tip, or else it'll shrivel up. Here's an example, although I overdid the bend a little I think:


The nice thing is if you over (or under) do it, you can just reheat it lightly and do it again. The combination of this and a couple rings for weight, and they hang and swing really well!

Hope it helps. LMK if you have any questions!


Savage Yautja

I made rings from pvc pipe to keep the dreads from sticking out too far. They balance out perfectly for the weight with a few rings on each dread. 3/4 " pipe for the 1" dreads and 1/2" pipe for the 5/8 " dreads.


PVC - good idea! I picked up mine from the plumbing aisle of Home Depot too - but they're copper fittings. They still weigh it down, but aren't as 'customizable' as PVC tho. Nice! If I hadn't already picked up all these I would've tried it. Maybe I can mix n match... hmm...



HOLY ******* ****!!!!!


Alright, you are you doing this in purpose?