How to Tie Dye Bandanas

Written by laura gordon
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How to Tie Dye Bandanas
Tie-dye fashions have remained popular through the years (Clothes Line image by KateC from

Tie-dyeing was a funky fad in the 1960s and continues to be popular today. While the many designs and patterns can be intricate, the basic technique for successful tie-dyeing remains the same. Tie-dyeing bandannas is a popular birthday party activity or summer camp craft for children. With proper care, the bandannas will provide years of use.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • White bandannas
  • Elastic bands
  • Rubber gloves
  • Dye packets in various colours
  • Stainless steel pots
  • Warm water
  • Stainless steel spoon
  • Scissors
  • Drying rack or clothes dryer

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  1. 1

    Lay the bandanna flat on hard surface.

  2. 2

    Grasp the centre of the fabric and pull up so the rest of the bandanna drapes from this point.

  3. 3

    Secure an elastic band around the bandanna centre roughly 1 inch from the top, making sure the band is as tightly wound as possible.

  4. 4

    Wind more elastic bands snugly along the length of the remaining fabric at 1 inch intervals.

  1. 1

    Fill as many stainless steel pots with warm water as you need to make individual colours.

  2. 2

    Put rubber gloves on your hands before opening dye packets.

  3. 3

    Dissolve dye packets in the individual pots to create all of the colours you desire.

  4. 4

    Stir the dye with a stainless steel spoon to distribute the colour even throughout the water.

  1. 1

    Dip sections of the bandanna into individual colours of dye roughly 1 inch at a time, making sure to really saturate each section. Gently squeeze out any excess liquid.

  2. 2

    Allow bandanna to air dry for 24 hours with the elastic bands in place.

  3. 3

    Cut the elastic bands with scissors and remove them from the bandanna.

  4. 4

    Flatten the bandanna and dry completely either on a drying rack or in a clothes dryer.

Tips and warnings

  • Wash bandannas in cold water with like colours to avoid excess dye staining other garments.
  • Do not use enamel-lined pots; they will absorb the dye.
  • Touching the dye without gloves may temporarily stain your hands.

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