Bang Up Ideas for Bandanas
Bandanas are fun, simple, cheap and familiar to everyone. They are also an incredibly versatile item. Following are several ideas I've used myself, as well as numerous ones from around the web.
Fabric napkins. These are cheap, easily replaced and depending on the color you choose, really don't show stains that badly. Great for the outdoor BBQ gathering or the everyday family dinner napkins. Save your extra nice expensive ones for more elaborate occasions. Here's a link to some instructions for folding them with the flatware inside.
Curtain tie backs. These are fun for denim or solid color curtains. Just fold two corners to meet at the center and keep folding in half the fabric from each side until you have a rectangle with pointed ends. Then tie a square knot around the curtain with the ends pointed out.
Dog safety. Some people use bandanas as a pet fashion accessory as well, but it's hunting season in our neck of the woods which means making sure your pets are easily identified as such by novice hunters. We picked up two in blaze orange for our two dogs to wear when they are outside on their own. Way less expensive than the 40 dollar dog vests in blaze orange that we were going to buy.
Halloween pirate costume. Grab an eye patch and perhaps a plastic sword and you are good to go.
Sit upons. Popular items with scout troops and children's activity groups, sit upons can be made with a variety of materials and are basically something to "sit upon" for outdoor circle activities. Here's a link to instructions for a simple one made of bandanas, courtesy of Family Fun Magazine.With this one, you basically leave it empty with three sides sewn and one side open. This makes it easy to fit in a backpack. Then you can fill it with dry leaves, pine needles or extra pack clothing when needed on a nature hike. Empty out when finished and put back in the day pack.
Make a halter top. Here are some directions on how to make one with a bandana and a bit of ribbon. Again, if you don’t like the traditional bright colored bandanas, try one with an ethnic print or with a scarf from a bazaar.
Super easy patchwork quilt. Just use two different colors of bandanas and back with a flannel sheet. Of course there are many ways you could go with this. Here's a link to some basic instructions for one. I can see these being a hit with kids, teens and college students alike, particularly if you choose the school colors to make them with. What a fun thing to take to a football game!
DIY beach bag. With basic sewing skills, these are pretty easy. Here's a link to some instructions if you want to give it a whirl.
Make a double bandana wrap top. I can see some real possibilities for this one, depending on the fabric print you choose for your bandanas. Here's a link to instructions for the one pictured below.
Go absolutely insane with them. Here's a link to a place called the Bandana Boutique where you can find what seems like everything but the kitchen sink made from bandanas. This link shows pictures of more things to do with bandanas than I have ever seen. Baby bibs, night lights, infant changing pads, neck roll pillows, sundresses. . . unbelievable! Perhaps you caught them on an addition of Extreme Makeover Home Edition?
Lamp shades. Here's a link to a page with instructions for one. (You'll have to scroll down a bit.) At this stage in my life, I think I’d personally go with a more ethnic looking scarf for this idea, but I can see how some people would have fun with this design.
Wrap a homemade gift. Popping out for a dinner party with a fresh baked herb bread or batch of biscotti? Try wrapping your present up in a knotted bandana for a fun green alternative in gift giving.
Group identification. Using a couple of colors in bulk is a great way to identify separate teams in a friendly sports game ( or for schools who can't afford the gym jerseys for PE classes). Another great way to use them is to keep track of classes on bulk field trips. I would think tour group operators could also put this idea to some use.
Piece some together for a fun curtain. I think a larger one of these would be fun as a shower curtain in a children’s bathroom, too. Here’s the link to the project pictured below.
Toddler twirly dress. Little girls LOVE to spin around with flowing skirts while playing dress up. What a blast for dramatic play activities! Here's a link to a blog post on one that appears to be made from bandanas stitched around the bottom of a plain T-shirt. Great for the favorite three year old girl in your life.
Fun looking toddler pants. Here’s a picture and a link to a post on them. Fun idea. Reminds me of some of the wrap around pants I’ve seen at the street markets in Asia.
No sew window valance. Doesn't get much easier than this. Just drape bandanas diagonally over the top of a tension rod. Use as many as it takes to cover the window width, overlapping slightly. You can also do this with other fabric napkins. It makes for a fun pointed design across the top of your window that is affordable and easily replicated apartment after apartment, after apartment.
No sew pillows and pillow embellishments. This link and picture above are for a western look pillow. Again though, you can fit various themes through your choice of fabric. Just use a plain colored pillow and accent it with by adding the scarf of your choice. For a no sew version of a bandana pillow that I think would be fun as a sleepover craft activity (particularly if someone forgot their pillow for the overnight event), check out this link for the one pictured below. With all the color options out there, I think boys and girls alike would enjoy having one of these in their room at home or for the college dorm (think school colors again).
Must have travel item. These are particularly helpful for the backpacker or adventure traveler. A few things you can do with them? Emergency washcloth or dishrag, and to keep the dust out of your mouth and nose (ahh, memories of Cambodia). These take up very little room and are basically a smaller version of the versatile sarong. Bonus? They dry quickly and are easily replaced on the road.
Head covering. This is particularly helpful if you have alopecia, but can be used on the road for rustic adventure travel as well, particularly if it's going to be a few days on the back of that chicken truck before you can wash your hair again. Here's a link to some instructions on tying one, complete with pictures.
So there you have it. Twenty separate ideas for using bandanas at home or on the road. To get you started, here's a link I found to a source that sells these things not just by the dozen, but by the case. As always, I'd love to hear about anything else unusual you readers have come up with. Keep those bandana ideas coming!