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How to Make Bandanas for Dogs: Step-by-Step With Photos

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I make my own dog bandanas for my dogs, and I have really enjoyed doing so, they look adorable.

Lovely Cinderella at the Hawaiian Humane Society wearing her dog bandana!

Lovely Cinderella at the Hawaiian Humane Society wearing her dog bandana!

Making Bandanas for Rescue Dogs

I've been sewing for decades, but I'd never had an opportunity or reason to sew dog bandanas until a few years ago. The local Humane Society sometimes outfit their rescue dogs in doggie bandanas. I decided sewing bandanas would be something I could contribute.

Of the resources found online, a tutorial found on Childmade was the dog bandana template I chose (with slight modifications) to make a bandana for dogs. You can make a bandana for dogs by sewing a few straight seams. It's really as simple as that. This is a worthwhile DIY project which can be completed by those with all levels of expertise in sewing.

This page outlines the steps I used to make my first dog bandanas. This style of dog scarf has a simple casing for the dog collar to slip through, which is a very practical and safe design for the animal. I opted to make the dog bandanas with doubled fabric, which should hopefully lengthen their usefulness.

Measure the fabric for the right size bandana

Measure the fabric for the right size bandana

How Much Fabric?

The sizing of the initial fabric blocks for the dog bandanas was a little confusing at first. Obviously, the size of the dog collar is relative to the size of the dog. So, measuring the standard "height" of dog collars (top to bottom edge—not the length of the collar), I decided to create fabric blocks for dog bandanas in the following measurements:

Size and Fabric Info

  • Small: Cut two blocks 6" square (for the skinniest collars)
  • Medium: Cut two blocks 8" square
  • Large: Cut two blocks 10" square (for collars around 1" or larger . . . our dog in the photo is wearing a large size)
  • Extra Large: Cut two blocks 11" square
Step 1

Step 1

Step 1: Prepare the Fabric

  1. Once the initial fabric square is cut, make sure to lay the two blocks on top of each other with wrong sides touching. (It's important both sides visible are the right side or "dress side" of the fabric.)
  2. With this style of dog bandana, you will need to construct a casing for the dog collar to slip through upon completion. To do this, fold in two opposing corners of the two-layer fabric square and press with an iron. Here's how to decide how far to fold in these corners:
  3. Look closely at the picture above, and you'll see I've placed slips of paper near one corner of each of the squares. Point the tip of the corner towards the center of the square and using a measuring tape measure side to side until the length of the fold is two inches for small, three inches for medium, and four inches for both large and extra large.
Step 2

Step 2

Step 2: Sew the Edges

With a straight stitch, sew close to the edge of both inverted corners. Backstitch at beginning and ending to secure.

Step 3

Step 3

Step 3: Smooth Out Facing Up

The dog bandana fabric square should be smoothed out flat with the sewn corners facing up towards you before completing next step.

Step 4

Step 4

Step 4: Fold and Press

Fold fabric square in half with raw sewn corner edges visible to you. Press with an iron. (Don't worry if sides don't meet exactly, this is not a rocket we're building. Remember we are making a bandana for dogs.)

Don't do it like this!

Don't do it like this!

Step 5

Step 5

Step 5: Sew a Seam

Sew a 1/4" seam along raw edges of the fabric triangle. (From bottom edge of right side folder corner to bottom edge of left side folded corner.)

Step 6

Step 6

Step 6: Turn It Out

Turn dog bandana using the opening in one of the folded corners.

Step 7

Step 7

Step 7: Press Flat

Once the dog bandana is turned, press flat with an iron before proceeding to the next step.

Step 8

Step 8

Step 8: Mark the Casing

To form the casing for the dog collar, I used a pencil and ruler to draw a straight line from the bottom of one corner fold to the other and running parallel to the top fold of the dog bandana.

Step 9

Step 9

Step 9: Stitch the Casing

At the sewing machine, stitch exactly along the pencil line drawn in the previous step. This stitch creates the casing for the dog collar to slip through to complete the dog bandana.

Adorable Mooshoo at the Hawaiian Humane Society wearing her dog bandana

Adorable Mooshoo at the Hawaiian Humane Society wearing her dog bandana

Choose Washable Fabrics

To make a bandana for dogs, choose a washable cotton fabric in the design and color of your choice. For the rescue dogs at the Humane Society, bright cheerful colors are great, but I'm sure they would gladly accept dog bandanas in any color.

These dog bandanas are easy to remove from the collar and launder when needed. (The double-sided fabric allows the dog bandana to be flipped over if one side gets soiled before laundry day.) I feel this design is also very safe for the animals because the collar is slipped through the casing. There are no ties to worry about the dog catching on something, nor do you have to worry about losing the dog scarf.

More of my bandanas for dogs

More of my bandanas for dogs

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2012 Pam Irie

Will you be making a bandana for dogs?

Sarah on February 04, 2020:

So easy, I did some for a friend’s Airedale, because of the size of his collar needed a 12 inch square. Still used 4inch turn over.

Jenn on October 21, 2018:

Thank you for the amazing post!! These were so fun to make!! I made reversible Halloween ones for my daughters dogs! They came out sooo cute!!

Ella on July 22, 2018:

Using measurements in original tutorial, you can also make these with just one square of fabric. Place square wrong side up and fold fabric over into a triangle and press. Open up with wrong side facing you and fold in corners using pressed line to match your corner point to that line. Sew down folded corners the same as in the original tutorial. Fold into triangle again with right sides together and stitch closed making sure not to sew where the collar will slip through. Turn right side out and press. Create the collar casing by sewing a straight line just described in original tutorial. Easy peasy and you only use one square of fabric. :)

Julie on July 28, 2017:

Thank you for the pattern and instructions! This works just as well, if not better, with just one square of fabric, at least for small ones! :)

Debi on March 26, 2016:

Thanks for these great instructions and pictures. I do have a question...why do you cut two squares...I can't quite figure out why the need for two...thank you.

Janet on January 26, 2016:

I like this method! It's so much nicer than a bandana that has to be tied. Could I suggest that you take new photos while making a bandana where the two squares are a different solid color? In these photos with the red print it is very difficult to see what's going on. Once I figured it out everything turned out fine but new folks to your directions might appreciate it. Thanks for sharing your method.

Pam Irie (author) from Land of Aloha on December 16, 2014:

You're most welcome! :)

charlene on December 14, 2014:

Thank you for sharing. Whipped one up in 10 min last night! I will try a 12" square for my Labrador Retriever.

Delia on August 05, 2014:

Great project! I have some grand-dogs that might look good in these...

emilytjohnson on July 14, 2014:

I'm not really crafty, but I think I should try this. Thanks for the easy and detailed instructions. My babies will surely love this.

Vincent Fleming from Indiana on July 08, 2014:

Have sent your Lens to my wife. She has been crafty lately.

2envelopparadox on April 20, 2014:

nice lens

Pam Irie (author) from Land of Aloha on March 28, 2014:

@Qwackers: I slide our dog's collar through the casing from the side of the collar with the holes. That way I don't have to worry about her tags squeezing through the casing. Thank you for sewing for the homeless animals too. YAY!!!

Qwackers on March 27, 2014:

I made this for my dog following the easy instructions. It turned out great except there wasn't quite enough room in the collar channel to get his dog tags through without removing them from his collar so made my second try just a little bit wider to allow for that. I will be following your lead and making a bunch of these for our local shelter. Great idea!!

Zienna1 on March 17, 2014:

My Sally will look very nice with this.I'll put a note in my diary to sew one for her and her best friend Casey before Winter comes. Thank you.

hosibinh on February 12, 2014:

so easy, so beautiful

Jess Martell on February 10, 2014:

Will be looking into this more. My roommate just recently got a dog and looks good with bandanas

RuthieDenise on January 27, 2014:

This is such a nice lens and what a great idea. There are ways we can all help.

norma-holt on January 27, 2014:

It is strange to think of a dog needing a scarf. My Mini (unfortunately no longer with me) never wore a collar and I don't think she would have tolerated a bandana, You certainly have done a good job in explaining how to make them and I am sure many will be doing just that before long. Well done lens and worthy of a purple star.

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on December 29, 2013:

I don't sew but I imagine Bruno would love for me to make him one of these bandanas

anonymous on November 18, 2013:

Was looking at the dog coats for my German Shepherd orange colour one is cute.

Torrs13 on September 11, 2013:

So cute! I think I need to make one for my sweet puppy, Layla!

Pam Irie (author) from Land of Aloha on August 28, 2013:

@thecrochetcubby: YAY! :)

thecrochetcubby on August 23, 2013:

I pulled out my sewing machine today for a project that I am now putting on hold to make a doggie bandana!

steadytracker lm on August 22, 2013:

What a great lens. Every dog deserves his or her own bandana. A dog just would not be complete without one.

ChenB on August 17, 2013:

Gotta admit, these are dog-gone cute. I always loved the look of a bandana around a dog's neck. Your doggie looks so sweet. I think it's great that you make these banadanas for rescue dogs. Great job here, with nice clear photos. Thanks for the instructions.

anonymous on August 16, 2013:

@anonymous: Send me your email entitled foster adopt me collars. Have a no sew idea. wwjd

anonymous on August 11, 2013:

Thank you for sharing this pattern. I'm going to give it a try.

anonymous on August 07, 2013:

Thank you for this great idea. One of my online friend's dog has just been diagnosed with cancer and she was asking for bandanas for him to wear every day, a different one. This was easy to make and I am hoping Joey will like it.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on August 05, 2013:

Both my dogs love their bandannas. I've never thought of making them myself though, but will have to start now. .

Melissa Miotke from Arizona on July 30, 2013:

This is such a cute idea!

Ted Bergman on July 02, 2013:

I made a red bandana for Jake, my JRT puppy. I wish I had a way to post the picture for you to see. I noticed in your bio that you believe anything that benefits animals is a worthy cause. So, I'm going to take the liberty of asking you, when you get a moment, to take a look at my lens, "A New Dog and Cat Comedy TV Show", which will raise lots of money for dog and cat charities. Hope you don't finfd this too pushy. And, thanks for an informative lens and some great pictures. - Ted

anonymous on July 01, 2013:

@Pam Irie: Thanks so much! That makes a lot of sense. Oh, and sorry for the double post before- I didn't realize I did that.

Pam Irie (author) from Land of Aloha on June 30, 2013:

@anonymous: Hi Carol! That's a good question, however, because I make these to donate to shelters and rescue groups, I prefer to DOUBLE the fabric which actually lengthens the "lifetime" of each bandana because they are washed so frequently. The single fabric bandanas don't hold up as well.

anonymous on June 30, 2013:

This is great! I was wondering why the need for 2 squares of fabric each? They can be made the same way using just one square of fabric as long as you fold and sew them the correct way. Is it just to add the thickness? I have made them both ways, and was thinking it would be much quicker and less costly to use just one square if making a bunch of them for shelters, animal rescue groups and pups in foster homes. Just curious if it would be a problem to make them this way. Thanks so much for the tutorial! This is awesome!

anonymous on June 30, 2013:

This is great! I was wondering why the need for 2 squares of fabric each? They can be made the same way using just one square of fabric as long as you fold and sew them the correct way. Is it just to add the thickness? I have made them both ways, and was thinking it would be much quicker and less costly to use just one square if making a bunch of them for shelters, animal rescue groups and pups in foster homes. Just curious if it would be a problem to make them this way. Thanks so much for the tutorial! This is awesome!

Zienna1 on June 15, 2013:

I'll bookmark this so I can make it as a welcome present for Sally. She's coming to our family very soon. We've just adopted a five year old Labrador. I can't wait to make this for her. Thanks for sharing.

anonymous on May 29, 2013:

SO, CUTE, i loved it, well keep this style for a dog. thanks

anonymous on May 27, 2013:

@anonymous: If you know how to sew, I bet you can get a used sewing machine for maybe $50-$60. Look in the classified of your newspaper, look at Salvation Army,other chairities, advertise for one in your Churc Bulletin. Puta sign up if zGrocery Store has a bulletin Board. Sewing machine shops sell the used machines that they have taken in trade when someone is buying a better machine. Those are repaired, cleaned, etc. WalMart sells them, too. I know their is a website on line where people post specifically to sell sewing ma hines.

okajewelry on May 06, 2013:

looks very simple to do a bandana , I will try to make some for my poodle follow you . thanks ~!

anonymous on May 06, 2013:

I dont have a sewing machine, wish I could find someone to make them and then have it say adopt me on them so my fosters can wear them..

anonymous on May 05, 2013:

Yes, absolutely - that is why I'm reading your great step-by-step instructions! She (our Bichon Frise, Coquette) wears bandanas but needs a better variety!

anonymous on April 19, 2013:

I will be making some for my daughters dog, Lucy- great dane-boxer mix, looks cute in these & costumes

Takkhis on April 13, 2013:

I am not sure about it but i like the idea :)

gin001 on March 30, 2013:

Loved your lens! I have two wonderful dogs. Might try my hand at making one. Thanks for sharing.

gottaloveit2 on March 24, 2013:

Whew! So glad I'm not in Hawaii! Cinderella would have been my girl. I can see it in her eyes. You're blessed, I'm blessed and I'm hoping Cinderella's fairy tale ending comes true.

myspace9 on November 30, 2012:

Nice and wonderful lens.

AnimalHouse on November 20, 2012:

Sure thing! This is such a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing this lens.

Metalpriest on November 20, 2012:

This lens is next to awesomeness! Think my dog needs one now...ah wait, would it look good on my poodle xD

pawpaw911 on June 12, 2012:

What a neat idea. They do look nice.

jcairney on June 11, 2012:

Not one for dressing animals up...but they are cute¬

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on April 10, 2012:

These are great instructions and the dogs are so cute in their bandanas.

Anthony Godinho from Ontario, Canada on April 03, 2012:

Sweet little dog bandanas. Thanks for sharing your step-by-step tutorial on the same. Great way you found to contribute. Blessings! :)

bossypants on March 28, 2012:

We love our bandana. The collar slip on idea is so much safer than a knotted bandana that might get caught on something. And, it looks great -- all nicely finished and reversible. So stylish! This is a great project and who wouldn't love all the dog pictures?

Edwardjames81 on February 28, 2012:

These look cool. Might have a go at making one for my parent's terrier. I think he would like quite cute in a red coloured one.

Rose Jones on February 26, 2012:

This is what I wrote on Facebook: "Dogs. Dressed up cute. Need I say more?" Very cool, and your life living in Hawaii - helping Hawaiian dogs, that sounds pretty fun!

TTMall on February 21, 2012:

Great Lens with great resources!

anonymous on February 20, 2012:

What a wonderful way to share the love for animals.

music226 on February 19, 2012:

Awesome lens!

I'm new to Squidoo, and I just published my first lens! I would really help me out if you checked it out. It is:

Thanks, I would really appreciate some views. :)

vacationcontent on February 19, 2012:

Great lens. I don't have a dog, but I have 2 cats. I think I'm gonna make bandanas for my cats. Wish me luck!

bidzinger on February 18, 2012:

Wonderful idea! These bandanas are beautiful.

anonymous on February 18, 2012:

useful info thanks for sharing this

Loveboncyboutique on February 17, 2012:

Wow, so beautiful bandanas. I gonna make it for my sister's dog.

kristine100 on February 17, 2012:

beautiful bandanas for beautiful dogs!

jakethesnakeinalake on February 17, 2012:

Great lens!

Be sure to check out my article:

John Dyhouse from UK on February 17, 2012:

I think I am in love with Cinderella!

Wonderful lens, we support our local dogs home by gifts at christmas, etc and blankets and other linen suitable for bedding, etc. My son and his wife have recently taken on a rescued Lurcher which they have called Dante. The home sells doggie clothes to help support its work. Dante is the best dressed dog i have come across, he even has his own Facebook page. Great lens - Blessed

jimmyworldstar on February 16, 2012:

I like to do it the easy way, just tuck it in their collar tight!

hsschulte on February 15, 2012:

Maybe one for our goat. :) We don't have a dog. Super cute!

vividviolet on February 15, 2012:

That's cute!

zerseus on February 15, 2012:

wow, nice lance. I like the dog picture, and the scarf are really sweet!.

Thank you for your work!

Bash51214 on February 15, 2012:

I really enjoyed your lens.. thanks for sharing it.. God Bless You...

Bash51214 on February 15, 2012:

I really enjoyed your lens.. thanks for sharing it.. God Bless You...squidfree

jseven lm on February 14, 2012:

Very cute and great instructions. Congrats on the front page!!

im1337mi on February 14, 2012:

Hehe, super cute :) Thanks for sharing.

flycatcherrr on February 13, 2012:

I love that you showed how *not* to do it, too! :) Bandanas are a great idea for the big "scary-looking" dogs who are looking for homes, because that little touch of fashion makes them look so much more like pet dogs - makes it easier for people to visualize them as their pets and just that little bit more open to the idea of adopting them.

Nancy Johnson from Mesa, Arizona on February 13, 2012:

We recently found a little white pup who needed a home and my parents took her home. She was left behind when a pet store went bankrupt and my dad was recovering from 2 surgeries. Mom needed something to take care of besides worrying about dad (he is ok now by the way and loves Lilly as much as mom). Anyways we also bought mom a sewing machine for Christmas so I will share your lens with her so she can make Lilly some pretty bandanas. I love your choice of colors.

anonymous on February 13, 2012:

These are great!

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on February 13, 2012:

Congratulations, Pam, on the front page feature!!

Blackspaniel1 on February 13, 2012:

Nice lens.

hirephp lm on February 13, 2012:

would be i will do it

anonymous on February 13, 2012:

I can see the big smiles on dog's faces as they go out in their new bandana's and look at themselves in every window with an little extra prance in their steps! Congratulations on a front page feature!

entertainmentev on February 13, 2012:

Yes! I'll be making it for my dog and his friends for his birthday party. Great idea!

gottaloveit2 on February 13, 2012:

When I fostered, I had 3 collars made with "Adopt me!" on them. Whenever I took my foster dog with me, I'd put on that collar so people automatically knew the dog was available to a loving home. Fostering dogs, along with caregiving for Mom, was the most worthwhile thing I've ever done. Excellent lens, Pam, and very blessed.

Edutopia on February 12, 2012:

Yes, yes I will.

Edutopia on February 12, 2012:

Yes, yes I will.