How to Make a Japanese Headband


Japanese headbands, called hachimaki, are worn over the forehead and tied behind the head. They have inspirational symbols and designs painted on the front. While they are frequently worn by people who study martial arts (think Daniel in "The Karate Kid" movies), anyone can wear the headbands to show determination and perseverance. Hachimaki headbands were worn by kamikaze pilots with the symbol of the Rising Sun and the kanji for the "Divine Wind."

Things You'll Need

  • White or red cotton material
  • Scissors
  • Garbage bag
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Fabric paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Lay the material out flat on a work surface. Measure the headband to 36 inches long by 2 1/2 inches wide. Use the pencil to mark the measurements, if necessary. Cut out the headband.

  • Place a plastic garbage bag on the work surface and rest the headband on the bag. The garbage bag will keep the paint from sticking to the work surface.

  • Find center of the headband and mark this center with a line across the band. This is where the first symbol goes.

  • Draw a rough sketch of the symbol you have chosen using the pencil. Do not press hard with the pencil -- just draw lightly enough to see the design.

  • Paint the design using the fabric paints. Squeeze the paint on the design and then spread the paint with the paintbrush. Use the pencil lines as a guide.

  • Continue painting the remainder of your chosen symbols.

  • Let the headband dry according to the directions of the fabric paint bottle. It usually takes 24 hours for the paint to dry and 72 hours for it to cure.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some traditional hachimaki symbols are the Rising Sun, the kanji symbol for "victory" and dragons.
  • Use stencils if you don't feel you have hand drawing skills.
  • Wash the headband once before wearing to remove any pencil that shows. Use warm water and a small amount of laundry detergent.
  • The paint is permanent when it dries. If you make a mistake while painting, use rubbing alcohol to remove the paint before it dries.

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  • Photo Credit Stanley Chou/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
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