A kerchief, a Paisley-printed wrap, some even say it is the Swiss Army Knife of fabrics — it is the bandana. Although just a small square cloth, it has a lot of potential.
Don’t believe me? In this post, I’ve outlined 17 different ways how to wear a bandana, eight unique uses for it plus five DIY crafts to try when you get bored!
Is a Bandana Just a Piece of Cloth?
A bandana is not just a piece of cloth – far from it. Originating from South Asia and the Middle East, the bandana has traveled all over the world and become a status symbol for many cultures.
Here are a few examples of what a bandana means for different cultures:
Also known as a hachimaki, a Japanese bandana is a white or red cloth that generally features the kanji design on the front. It is worn like a headband, mostly by people in the military, and symbolizes effort and courage.
Regarded as a national heirloom, a Jamaican bandana is a plaid cotton fabric that commonly features red, white, and yellow colors. It was first used as a head tie by market vendors and in the aprons of female farmers in Jamaica.
Dog Safety Bandana
Bandanas on dogs are one of the coolest ways to keep them safe and stylish.
First, they let other people know whether the dog likes interaction or not. A red bandana means the dog needs space, an orange one means the dog’s first instinct is growling at the sight of strangers, and a green one means you’re in the clear and can pet the dog.
Secondly, placing a hiking bandana on your dog keeps them cool and protected against sunburn. This is also useful if your dog has an ear injury because the cloth will keep your pooch from scratching the scab.
Third, using a bandana with reflective details helps keep your dog safe at night. Add a neon-colored leash and your furry friend is set to play in the dark.
Fleas on dogs are the worst, am I right? Here’s an easy solution: coat a bandana with an organic (important) flea-repellant spray and I guarantee that your pooch will be protected from nasty critters.
If you’re a parent to a Saint Bernie or a Bulldog, you know how much of a mess their drools can be. Use a lightweight bandana made of yarn as a bib and you’ll notice a considerable difference. Make sure to have extras on hand.
How To Wear a Bandana?
Whether you’re trying to complete a boring outfit or have a spare square cloth you don’t know what to do with, I’ve got you covered.
Here are some different ways you can wear a bandana:
The classic, wearing a bandana as a headband not only protects your forehead from sunburn but also works like a charm during a migraine. Here’s what you need to do:
- Fold your bandana in half and repeat until it becomes a thin line.
- Hold it up to your forehead and see if it fits or needs an extra fold.
- Tie the bandana at the back twice and pull out your hair from under it.
An Audrey Hepburn signature accessory, the headscarf bandana worn with sunglasses is a chic symbol of elegance. Here’s how to wear it:
- Take a silk bandana and fold it into a triangle.
- Comb your hair away from your face and tie it at the back.
- Place it on top of your head and bring it forward.
- Make a knot with the ends under the neck and do it twice just to keep it safe.
Similar to a headband, the hairband style bandana keeps your hair away from your face, perfect for housework and hot days. Here’s how to style it:
- Fold like a headband, pull your hair back and place it on top of the head securing it with a knot at the back.
- For a Cinderella look, fold like a headscarf and tie the ends at the back under your hair.
Perfect for motorcyclists, using a bandana as a balaclava keeps sweat away from the eyes as well as dust and dirt away from the face. Here’s what you need to do:
- Fold the bandana into a triangle.
- Tie two knots at the back under your hair.
- To cover your forehead, fold the bandana in half.
- Then tie the loose ends at the back pulling the center of the cloth underneath for a secure fit.
Perfect for a day out in the sun, a bandana styled like a neckband is the easiest way to take your OOTD up a notch. Here’s how to wear it:
- Fold the square bandana into a triangle.
- Start rolling towards the longer end from the tip of the triangle.
- Once it looks like a snake, wrap it around your neck and tie the ends together loosely.
If you love to rock ties, this style is for you. Here’s how to make a bandana into a necktie:
- Fold the bandana into a triangle
- From the top, start folding towards the longer end making sure to keep it thicker in size.
- Wrap it around your neck and knot the ends like you would on a regular tie.
- Place the ends under your shirt for a makeshift collar.
A necessary guard against viruses, tying a bandana like a face mask is a great way to keep safe outside. Here’s how to wrap it:
- Shape the bandana into a triangle and place it at the bridge of the nose.
- Tie the ends at the back under your hair.
- It should be hard to chew gum but easy to fit two fingers from the cheek area.
A style statement, the cowboy bandana looks cool and works well at a casual party and a brunch date. Here’s what you need to do:
- Wrap the bandana into a triangle and place it on top of your nose like a mask.
- Tie at the back of the head under your hair.
- Pull the front down under your chin and fold the excess behind the triangle.
An elegant way of dressing up an outfit, the Parisian Knot on a bandana is made by:
- Folding the kerchief into a triangle.
- Folding again from the top towards the longer end into a thick and long rectangle.
- Wrap the bandana around your neck, make a knot and tie the ends together loosely.
Haven’t we all had days where we open our closets and can’t find anything to wear? I know I have. Here’s an easy solution for a chic girl:
- Take a large square bandana and fold it in half.
- Wrap it around your bra and tie it at the back over the clasp.
- Fold the excess on the top and bottom behind the bra.
Is the outfit not making any sense with the other knots of the bandana but you still want to use it? This might work for you:
- Fold the bandana into a triangle and again from the top until it looks like a thick, long rectangle.
- Wrap it around your wrist like a band and tie the ends together twice.
- You can even switch out your watch strap with the bandana wristband.
For a cool bohemian look, the bandana is a great fashion accessory. Here’s how you can top your normal jeans and t-shirt look:
- Fold a large square bandana in half diagonally.
- Pull the long rectangle through the belt loops and tie the ends where they meet.
- You can loop another bandana together for a longer rectangle.
Wearing a hat at the party but don’t want to seem too formal or cowboy-ish? I’ve been there. Here’s what you can do:
- Shape the bandana into a triangle.
- Roll down from the top towards the longer end.
- Wrap the folded bandana around the hat and tie the ends together.
- Make sure the knot is loose so the head shape isn’t compromised but tight enough that the bandana doesn’t fly away.
A great hack for formal events, a bandana tied into a pocket square is the perfect style statement, and an emergency handkerchief.
- Fold the bandana in half diagonally.
- Then, fold again from the side.
- Fold, for the third time, from the top so it looks like a rectangle.
- Lastly, fold the rectangle in thirds so it fits in the palm of your hand.
- Place the bandana in your coat pocket, keeping some of it visible to the crowd.
Want to try an easy, chic hairstyle? Try the ponytail knot with a bandana.
- Tie your hair at the back securely.
- Fold the bandana into a triangle and make a rectangle by folding the top end towards the longer side.
- Wrap the bandana around your hair tie and make a tight knot at the top.
If ponytails hurt your head, high-five! Here’s a braid knot you can try:
- Fold the bandana into a triangle and then into a long rectangle by folding it down from the top.
- Section your hair into thirds and tie the middle locks with an elastic.
- Pull one end of the bandana under the elastic making sure it’s secure.
- Then, make a simple braid taking the loose end of the bandana into every section of hair.
Alternative Uses For a Bandana
Besides a fashion symbol and a trending accessory, bandanas can be used for a variety of other purposes. Some of them may surprise you:
There’s a reason why there are hiking bandanas. Not only do they protect from sun damage on the skin but they also come in handy as a bandage in case of gravel burn or rocky scabs.
Remember when toilet paper went out of stock? God forbid that happens again. In situations like that, you can use a bandana to wipe your nose. It’s reusable too, great for the environment.
Would you like to snazz up your camera? Simply tie a bandana where the strap meets the camera. Now, it looks great and will be easy to find in a crowd.
Who said minimalism is boring? You can have one bag and use it countless times without being bored. Style it up using a bandana knotted around the strap.
Lunch Box Storage
I love making bento boxes but keeping them in a big lunch bag doesn’t seem feasible. Instead, I take a bandana and wrap the ends together on top to make a personalized, chic lunch storage. Bonus: it’s easy to wash too.
Having a bohemian-themed party? Here’s a simple, cost-effective decoration I swear by using bandanas as decor. Place a bandana in a transparent vase, wrap it around the cutlery or use it as a napkin. When the party’s over, throw it in the laundry and it will be good as new.
Similar to table decor, a bandana works as a placemat as well. Make sure to line a plastic runner on top so the fabric isn’t ruined with stains and spills. Once done with dinner, they can even double as napkins.
Babies are cute but they’re pretty messy. Their products can ask a pretty penny too, especially ones made for feeding time. In that case, you can use a bandana as a bib. Here’s how:
- Fold the bandana into a triangle.
- Take the longer end and fold towards the top thrice.
- Wrap the ends around your baby’s neck loosely and adjust as necessary.
Cool DIY Bandana Crafts to Try at Home
When bandanas hit the fashion trend, I ordered too many to count and many didn’t make the style cut. Here are some DIY crafts I tried out with the bandanas:
For this craft, you’ll need a bandana and a single bracelet. Fold the cloth in a triangle and bring the longer end towards the tip into a rectangle. Then, wrap it around the bracelet by going under and over repeatedly, until all of it is covered. Pull the last end under the last loop at least twice.
To make a patchwork-style curtain, you’ll need a measuring tape, bandanas, and a sewing machine.
- First, measure the length of the area you want to cover.
- Measure the size of the square bandana you have and calculate how many of them you’ll need for that space.
- Turn on your sewing machine and stitch the bandanas together in the patchwork design you like.
- Make loops at the top where the rod will go through and hang it up.
For this DIY, you’ll need a plain wreath circle. Take a couple of bandanas and start threading them through the circle. Once it is covered, hammer in a screw at the door and hang the bohemian wreath up.
Bandanas as party banners add a customized look to the whole event. Not to mention, it’s a cheap and reusable alternative. Simply, cut the square bandanas into triangles and glue a yarn string on top. Hang it on a wall or outdoors, and it is guaranteed to stay.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to put a bandana on a dog?
Yes, it is safe to put a bandana on a dog. When getting one, make sure it is stretchable so it is easy to wear and take off. If you live in a hot climate, the bandana should be moisture-wicking and lightweight.
Also, ensure it is easy to clean. Keep in mind, your pooch should never be left unattended with a bandana on. They might start chewing on it which is a choking hazard.
Who made bandanas popular?
The first-ever bandana was made and designed by John Hewson for George Washington during the American Revolution. Since then, it has become a symbol of political revolutions, independence, and cultural festivities all around the world.
Wrapping It Up
Knowing how to wear a bandana is such a simple but effective way of leveling up your fashion game. Tie it as a simple knot, drape it like a scarf or use it as decor, the bandana has a universe of potential.