Permanent Extension Installation Methods

A photo of Amy’s dreadlocks from Feb. 2011 depicting (purple) pre-made extensions placed to add a splash of color to demonstrate how the hair blends at the joint where the extension meets the natural hair.

Please note that Raging Roots Studio is no longer offering custom dreadlock extensions. However, we still install extensions made by sellers on our recommended seller list.

You’ll need to decide whether you want to go with pre-made extensions (extensions that are fabricated either by yourself if you are choosing to do this on your own, or by us if you are coming to us and then attached at a later point; usually during the initial placement of the dreadlocks if you are adding them at the beginning of your journey) OR made-at-installation extensions (extensions that are both made AND installed by me at the same time).For folks who are considering extending their own dreadlocks at home, please note that the below information is based on MY experience. Although I find the following to be true of my own work, your experiences and skill with different techniques may vary.

The strain from creating extensions during placement on the arms can be somewhat lessened as compared to pre-made extensions if you are going through this process yourself, since most of the work with the extensions can be done in a relatively comfortable position. The extensions are attached by fraying the end of the pre-made extension and the dreadlock you are attaching it to and using a crochet hook to weave the two together. (There are tons of videos on YouTube about this if you do a search.) Pre-made extensions, in our experience to this point, have a lessened chance of fraying or “failure” (that is, falling out and needing to be re-attached), than made-at-installation extensions. Pre-made extensions are always recommended when being placed in new(er) dreadlocks. However, frequent and regular maintenance can help prevent extension failure regardless of how they are placed initially.

A photo of the dreadlocks of a client depicting (pink) made-at-installation extensions placed to add a splash of color to demonstrate how the hair blends where the extension meets the natural hair.

Made-at-installation extensions take more time in the chair as they are, well, made and installed at the same time. This technique is not well-known, nor have we ever seen it in any YouTube videos. This technique was taught to Amy by a friend who does dreadlock work out in Pittsburgh, PA (GoddesslocksPA; see the Salon Directory page for her contact info). As such, unfortunately, we do not feel we have the right to distribute this information as public knowledge. However, this technique is available to my clients. Made-at-installation extensions may take longer to create than pre-made extensions as they literally must be “built” piece by piece, so may be more expensive than pre-made extensions. Due to the way in which they are attached, they are best only used on established, and locked dreadlocks. Extensions that fail after the use of this method are typically re-attached by the pre-made method (however, if simply re-attached a significant amount of length may be lost) OR re-made entirely.

To sum it all up, here is a quick pros and cons chart:


  • Less time spend in the salon chair (shorter appointment)
  • Less strain on the hands and wrist during fabrication.
  • Take less time to fabricate than made-at-installation extensions.
  • May have a slightly lessened chance of extension fraying or “failure”
  • The “joint” of the extension tends to appear much smoother which is especially beneficial where the extensions are a different color than the natural hair.

  • Does not require any ‘prep’ work by the technician/dreadlock artist in advance of the appointment/initial placement of dreadlocks.
  • Only suggested for use in locked and established dreadlocks to add length; not to add length to new dreadlocks.






  • Requires prep work to be completed by the technician/dreadlock artist in advance of appointment/initial placement of dreadlocks.





  • More time spend in the salon chair (longer appointment[s])
  • Fabrication of the extensions takes longer than pre-made extensions.
  • May put more strain on the hands and wrists during fabrication and installation.
  • The “joint” of of the extension is typically more easily visible/palpable.
  • Maybe have a slightly increased chance of extension fraying or “failure”.