For the past 2 years or so I have been interlocking aka latching my roots with a size 13/16 metal yarn/tapestry needle. These needles can be purchased from almost any craft store. I found mine at Micheal’s in a package of 4 for $3.30 including tax when I first got them and I just purchased another package of 2 today for the same price. So, that means the price has gone up but it’s still much much cheaper than the Nappylock tool. You might be able to find a larger size so you won’t have to modify it but that’s the only size I’ve been able to find in my neck of the woods.
First let me say don’t get nervous about this being a needle. The business end is rounded so there are not sharp edges or points to damage or snag your hair. Those of you with micro interlocs might be able to use the needle as is. Also it was too long for me to use on my locs when I first purchased the needles at about the 1 year mark. You probably can make it shorter by sawing it down with a hacksaw but I did not want to do that because that was extra work. lol So I waited until my locs got a bit longer. For me, at the time I started using it my locs at about 15 months were still in the budding/swelling stage especially the ones in the back so I had to make the eye wider. It’s super easy to do however it does take a bit of patience. I’ll confess that I broke two of the needles…that’s how I learned that it takes patience to get it right. lol
What you’ll need for this project is:
Of course right?! This reminds me of how my grandmother would give my mother recipe instructions. She’d write in her letter (the recipe was an integral part of the body of the letter) saying, “If you don’t already have (the main ingredient of the recipe), go to the store and get it.” If it was frozen she’d say “unthaw x”. If x ingredient was in a can she’d say “get the can opener and open the can”. For some reason this was always absolutely hilarious to me, I guess because you’d have to really be an airhead not to understand her instructions.
- Needle or round nose pliers.
An alternative is a small flathead screwdriver.
Note: If you use a flathead screwdriver instead of the needle nose/round nose pliers, then add an extra dose of patience.
Open the pliers and with your palm facing the floor insert the tip of the pliers into the middle of eye of the needle.
Slowly and gently turn the pliers to the left or right, whichever direction is comfortable for you.
Remove the pliers and repeat steps 1 & 2 inserting the pliers further into the eye of the needle until the eye is large enough to fit your largest loc.
It’s important to remove and re-insert the pliers to do it like I said because it forces you to increase the eye a little bit at a time. Trying to get the eye wide enough all at once will result in breaking the eye. Even more so if you are using a flathead screwdriver to do this. Remember earlier I said that I broke 2 needles? This is why. 🙂 Fortunately @ $3.30 for a pack of 4, that means each needle is about $.83 (price based on the first set purchased) and $1.66 each (based on the more recent purchase) so I don’t feel too bad about it.
That wasn’t so bad was it?
If that was not clear and you are able to view video, here is the video I did for my YouTube channel.
Let me know if you use this and how you like it.
- Latching/Interlocking Demonstration Video (ceraisis.net)
- Homemade Interlocking/Latching Tool for Dreadlocks (ceraisis.net)
Great post and video! I considered latching and made my tool from a paperclip but it’s really small. If I choose to latch I will definitely make tool like this instead!
Thanks and I’m glad it will be of use to you! I love using it and later I’ll upload the video I did on my YouTube channel showing how I use it.
One thing I have learned from your blog is that ladies of color have to spend a large amount of time and energy to get their hair as they like it. I appreciate the effort you make. I have dry hair, but I don’t have to spend hours on it. You bless my heart.
Fortunately the only time I have to spend hours on my hair is the every 2 month retightening. However, I do spend more time washing and caring for my hair than I did in the past. Even then, I look at it as cultivating and nurturing my personal garden. My hair has opened up the world to me, literally and symbolically . But yes, we do spend lot of time on our hair.
I have to admire someone who accomplishes what you have. You are beautiful inside and out.
You are a beautiful person too. Thanks so much!
Love this idea. I just latched about 20 of my micro braid locs today (they’re not even a month old but I wanted to figure out how to do it now). I used a bobby pin and it took me a long time but finally found somewhat of a groove. Your tool technique seems like it would be a lot faster. Will be trying this when I do my first full head tighten up. Thanks!
I hope that you like it. Be sure to stop back by and let me know after you do your 1st re-ti.
I am a stay-at-home mom of nine. I took the Sisterlocks training class but did not complete the certification process. I maintain two of my daughters’ hair with a latch-hook and have not retightened mine since losing my Nappylocs tool. I was about to reluctantly order another one, but came across your tutorial. Thanks so much. You have saved me time and money. I will make this homemade tool today and get to the task of retightening my own hair. I was considering cutting my locks, but with this information I will get back to maintaining my own hair. I appreciate you sharing this. God Bless.
OMG, You are so welcome!! 🙂 That is what it’s all about! Stop back by anytime and let me know how you like the tool.
Love it, Love it, Love it!!!!!! It works great on my hair, and I used it on a client’s hair last night. My flat-head screw driver (or my husband’s, that is) was too large to fit into the eye of the needle. I used a steak knife and it worked just fine to open it up for the locks to fit through. The only slight issue I had was that sometimes the lock would slip out of the needle during my client’s retightening (not so much when retightening my own). But her locks are new and have not filled-out yet. I may experiment with trying to “pinch” the needle at the very top to kind of hold the lock into place. I am extremely happy to have 8-10 needles at my disposal for about $3.00 instead of 1 tool for almost $17.00 plus shipping.
I look forward to checking out the rest of your site, because it looks informative on so many levels. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experiences with the rest of us. I’ll be back soon.
Yes, you can pinch the top some to create that smaller space for the loc to hold on to.
Glad you liked it and thanks so much for being a reader of my blog!
Thanks so much for your information on how to make the interlock tool. I have been wanting to loc for awhile now, and I am going to do it today. Will let you know how it comes out.
Thank you so much! I was just looking into purchasing a nappylocs tool but couldn’t get it for some reason. Black people are so innovative! I have had my locs for 6 months now and I’m ready to take over retightening on my own. I will be going to Michael’s today to purchase the tapestry needle. Thanks again 🙂
Thank you. I appreciate the idea. I lost my tools I bought about 7 years ago with Nappyloc. 4 needles cost me about $40. Now one cost $16.95 plus shipping and handling of $6.95, which brings the total for just one tool to about the price I originally paid for 4 tools. So, I am really grateful I found your tutorial.
You are most welcome and I’m glad that it helped you save some money! 🙂
You are welcome!
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR POSTING THIS!!!! I had surgery this morning so I am not able to get to the craft store, but I will do it within the next few days. Thanks again!
Thank you for stopping by and you are so welcome!! I hope that you’ve healed well from your surgery.
Let me know if you got them and how they worked out for you.
I’ve watched a couple of your videos this morning. Thanks for posting them along with detailed written information. I’m having a hard time finding someone to maintain my daughter’s sisterlocks on the weekend. I one can’t always afford it and two can’t keep pulling her out of school to get her hair done during the week. Her hair is suffering because of the amount of time in between visits. She has a significant amount of new growth within a 6-8 week period. Now I can do it myself saving money and when the time works for us.
You are most welcome and thanks for the feedback!
I just did. Thank you. Will be quite helpful as I would have had to import.
can use a normal needle for sewing to make a cheep interlocking tool for your dreadlocks ??
I can say for sure as I’ve never done it before and I don’t know how you’d go about it. But try it.