DIY Dog Bandana: Creative and Stylish Ideas for Your Fashionable Pooch

dogs wearing bandanas
Emily Young
Written by Emily Young

Have you ever seen how stylish a dog looks wearing a bandana? Bandanas are easy to get buy, and you can find a great variety in every pet store, but if you like to express your creativity, why not try to make one yourself? One or ten, who cares. For those of you who like to keep busy, here’s an article about making a DIY dog bandana.

A DIY dog bandana looks great, especially if you choose the right color and size to match your dog’s color and breed. Plus, although bandanas are mostly seen as a stylish accessory, many dogs wear it for practical reasons.

Some pooches are very messy eaters or drink water so sloppily that they leave the kitchen floor flooded. Breeds that drool a lot need it too, and so do dogs with long facial hair. Whether the bandana is a necessity or just a final touch to your dog’s style, everyone should have one.

In this article, we are going to show you different ways of making a bandana. If you don’t have a sewing machine, don’t worry, we will give you useful tips on making a bandana with a no-sew method. We will also present you with a size chart to make the fabric shopping easier. But first, let’s start with the reasons why making a DIY bandana is a worthy endeavor.

Why Make Your Own Bandana?

dog wearing green bandana

In this day and age, we can buy almost everything. So why spend time to make such a basic accessory on your own? Here are a couple of good reasons:

  • Improve your skills. This is a great first project for those who want try and learn how to sew. It’s easy, doesn’t require much time, and you only need to invest a small amount of money for buying fabric. Even that can be avoided if you have a spare T-shirt you want to upcycle.

  • Sentimental value. Making something for your dog definitely gives you a certain bonding experience. Something you made on your own has a lot more value than a piece of fabric you bought at Petsmart. Besides, you made it with love, just for your precious pooch. Believe us, dogs know.

  • Upcycling. It’s very trendy and responsible to be conscious of the environment. Even the smallest of efforts count, especially today when mass produced clothes presents one of the greatest environmental concerns. Maybe this is just the first step in transforming trash to couture?

  • Customizing. There is no limit when it comes to customizing handmade accessories. You can use stickers, pearls, ribbons, and printed motives in so many ways. If embroidery is your thing, you can even personalize the bandana by adding your dog’s name and your phone number, for example.

  • Make as many as you want. Since it takes such a short time to make a bandana, you can play around as much as you like! Why not make bandanas that match every style you’re wearing? Our relationship with dogs is so much different today than it used to be. We take them everywhere with us, and wearing matching colors says very clearly “We are a team!” Your dog might not appreciate the style, but she will definitely cherish your attention.

The creative process is what this is all about. Enjoy your handmade accessory and don’t forget to brag!

Prior Preparations to Making a DIY Dog Bandana

Making a bandana is very easy. You probably already have everything you need, and you might even have some old T-shirts or scrap fabric you can use instead of buying it. But before we get into all the different methods of making a bandana, let’s look at the pattern and the size chart:

#1: Choosing the Right Material

cloth for dog bandana

The choice of fabric depends mostly on your dog’s lifestyle and size. Using a delicate fabric doesn’t have a lot of sense if you have a sloppy eater or a very active dog. On the other hand, a sturdy and rough fabric may look very off-putting on a small and gentle dog.

Here are a few tips:

  • Cotton. This is a universally good choice. Cotton comes in all colors and prints, different weaves and thickness, etc. This is the best choice for your pilot project. Also, cotton absorbs water very well. If your need for a bandana is of practical nature, you should definitely use this fabric. Nothing works better for drooling breeds or dogs with long facial hair.

  • Linen. This fabric is also very good for practical reasons, although it has a rougher structure than cotton. Big dogs with wiry hair or a thick undercoat will not mind this, but dogs who have delicate fur or sensitive skin might develop a rash.

  • Crepe. Crepe is a bit rigid, making it look very nice in bigger sizes as it doesn’t lose the shape. It is also very resistant to abuse, wear and tear, and is an ideal base for basting, decorative stitches, and prints. It’s a perfect choice for a big dog with a fashionable owner.

  • Silk. Now, this is for pure fashionistas only. Decorative couch potatoes with silky, lush fur are ideal candidates. Breeds such as Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier, and many others will look just gorgeous with a bandana made of silk.

  • Velvet. This fabric just screams “Poodle!” Poodles don’t shed in the traditional sense so you won’t find this delicate fabric full of hair after just one walk. A short poodle coat also resembles velvet a lot, so it’s a match made in heaven.

#2: Making the Pattern


To make a pattern, you will need a piece of paper or cardboard, whichever you find more suitable. We provided a basic pattern bellow that you can resize and print, but you can also make your own if you follow these steps:

  • Measure your dog’s collar and multiply it by ¾. This will give you the length of the bandana. Write this measurement down. We’ll call it B in our pattern.

  • Draw a line the length of B with a ruler and mark the middle.

  • Measure the width of the collar and write it down. We’ll call it A.

  • Draw the line A to be perpendicular on both sides and connect the ends, so you get a long rectangle.

  • Decide how long you want the bandana to be. We gave you a suggested length in the table below (measurement C), but you can use some other measurements if you want.

  • From the B line, draw a line straight down. This will be the length of your bandana.

  • Connect the bottom of that line with each side of the rectangle to form the final shape.

  • Add ½ in for seam allowance all around.

  • Cut out your pattern.

 A (in inches)
B (in inches)C (in inches)

This size chart will give you general guidelines when deciding on the fabric size. Just keep in mind that you will need to add seam allowances (0.5 inch) and that you have to cut out two of the same pieces for one bandana. This pattern is for a bandana that is attached to the collar.

These measurements are just a rough estimate. Make sure to measure the circumference of your dog’s neck before you start. The total length of the bandana (measurement marked as B in the table) should be ¾ of that circumference. Adjust the length accordingly and leave the other two measurements as is.

If you have a large dog with a very strong neck or a chubby physique, you might need to add a few inches of length. If your dog has a slim built (sighthounds, for example), you will need to reduce the length a bit.

3 Different Methods to Create a DIY Dog Bandana

Now let’s get to the fun part!

Method #1: No Sew Bandana for the Collar

dog wearing yellow bandana

If you don’t have a sewing machine, you can use this method. It’s very easy and quick.

You will need:

  • Scissors

  • Hot glue gun

  • Piece of fabric

  • Paper

Time: 30 minutes.

Use the table above to decide on dimensions of the fabric. You will need double length (a double measure of C), so you can make two pieces.

Draw the pattern on paper and cut it. Be careful to include seam allowances—this means you’ll be adding half of an inch on every side of your pattern.

Fold the fabric lengthwise and place the pattern on top. Secure the pattern in place with a couple of pins. Cut out the fabric and make sure all sides are nice and symmetric.

Now fold the fabric wrong side out and prepare your glue gun. Glue the sides of the bandana (along line D), press, and wait for a couple of seconds for the glue to harden. Turn inside out and insert the collar. You’re done!

Method #2: No Sew Bandana Without the Collar

dog wearing bandana

If you don’t want to attach the bandana to the collar, you can use this super easy trick to make your pooch fashionable in just a couple of seconds.

You will need:

  • Scissors

  • Piece of fabric

  • Measuring tape

Time: 5 minutes.

Measure around your dog’s neck. Write down that number and prepare the material.

The material used for the bandana should be square shaped (or you can cut it into a square). The diagonal of that square should measure the circumference of your dog’s neck plus 5 inches.

Fold the material diagonally, tie a double knot around the pooch’s neck, and you’re all set.

Method #3: Sewing a Bandana that is Attached to the Collar

dog bandana that is attached to the collar

If you’re handy with a sewing machine, this project is really enjoyable and short. You can make as many bandanas as you want and you probably have scrap fabric laying around, so why not put it to good use?

You will need:

  • Scissors

  • Measuring tape

  • Sewing machine

  • Fabric

  • Iron

Time: 30 minutes.

Place your pattern on top of the material and cut out two pieces. Place them right sides in and secure with pins. First, make a stitch along B to connect the two pieces on top. Open the fabric and press the seam with an iron.

Now it’s time to make the side seams. To make it all nice and neat, fold in the sides along line A (the wrong side of the fabric facing up, so you are folding the seams inwards where they won’t be seen), and press with an iron. Sew along the edges on both sides.

Now fold the material alongside B, right sides in, and connect the diagonals D. Turn the bandana inside out and you’re done! Pull the collar through the opening and your dog is now more fashionable than ever.

Extra Tip: Making a Matching Collar

measuring dog's neck

While you’re all worked up, maybe use that extra material to make a collar that matches the bandana. It’s easy to do, and it looks great! Let’s take a look at what you need and how to make one.

You will need:

  • Fabric that matches the bandana

  • Measuring tape

  • Sewing machine or a hot glue gun

  • A buckle

Time: 30 minutes.

Measure around your dog’s neck and add 3 inches. This will be the total length of the fabric you’ll need.

The width of the finished collar should be 2 — 2.5 inches depending on the size of the dog. The total with of the material should be 5 -7 inches because it needs to be folded lengthwise, plus the seam allowances.

Cut out your fabric and fold it lengthwise, right sides facing in. Stitch or glue the long sides together and turn inside out. Now pull the ends of the collar through the buckle pieces and stitch them using a basting stitch.

You are all done! Your pooch has a fashionable bandana and a collar to match!

Wrap Up

dog wearing bandana

There are so many little things we do to show how much we love our dogs. We dress them up, groom them carefully, and often spend a small fortune on accessories. Making a bandana is such a small but lovely project that everyone can do to show how much they care about that little fur baby.

On the other hand, a bandana is more than just a fashionable detail for some owners. Dogs that drool need a bandana, and so do messy eaters and sloppy drinkers. These pooches would benefit from having an assortment of bandanas to use on a daily basis.

Which of the three methods we mentioned above would you like to try to make a DIY bandana for your dog? Have you come up with a new method of your own? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

You might also want to check out our article on umbrella hat for dogs to add that extra layer of fashion and protection.

About the author
Emily Young
Emily Young

Emily is originally from China where she graduated from The University of Hong Kong with high distinction learning about fashion and design. During university she opened her own magazine about Dog Fashion as dogs were always in her heart. She was surprised, when she moved to a beautiful British Columbia 10 years ago, to see many great Boutiques with dog's designer clothing and desire of pet owners to make their babies look nice.