How to Tie Dye Bandanas

Tie-dye fashions have remained popular through the years
Tie-dye fashions have remained popular through the years (Image: Clothes Line image by KateC from

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.

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

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Prepping the bandannas

Lay the bandanna flat on hard surface.

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

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

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

Preparing the dye

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

Put rubber gloves on your hands before opening dye packets.

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

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

Tie-dyeing the bandanas

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.

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

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

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

Tips & Warnings

  • 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.


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