How to Tie Dye Bandanas

Tie-dyeing was a funky fad in the 1960's 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 bandanas is a popular birthday party activity or summer camp craft for children. With proper care, the bandanas will provide years of use.

Tie-dye fashions have remained popular through the years

Things You'll Need

  • White bandannas

  • Elastic bands

  • Rubber gloves

  • Dye packets in various colors

  • Stainless steel pots

  • Warm water

  • Stainless steel spoon

  • Scissors

  • Drying rack or clothes dryer

Prepping the bandannas

Step 1

Lay the bandanna flat on hard surface.

Step 2

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

Step 3

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

Step 4

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

Preparing the dye

Step 1

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

Step 2

Put rubber gloves on your hands before opening dye packets.

Step 3

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

Step 4

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

Tie-dyeing the bandanas

Step 1

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

Step 2

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

Step 3

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

Step 4

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


Wash bandanas in cold water with like colors 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.