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Dog with DIY bandana
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Sometimes your dog needs a little flair. A DIY dog bandana is a great way to accomplish this. 

A custom dog bandana is a fun touch for holidays, parties, birthdays, or the perfect accessory to help your pup to stand out at the dog park. It can also be a great alternative to dressing up a pet that doesn’t like wearing a t-shirt or clothes. 

You can choose from a variety of dog bandana patterns and create a seasonal bandana for you dog, a personalized one with his name on it and even a pet bandana that matches with an article of your clothing so that you guys can be twins.

Here’s a simple and inexpensive no-sew DIY dog bandana that will take you minutes to make! 

DIY Dog Bandana: What You’ll Need

materials for DIY dog bandana

While many pet and boutique stores sell ready-to-go options, pet bandanas are a simple accessory that you can easily make at home. All it takes is finding a fun piece of fabric and gathering a few tools that you probably already have around the house. Then, you’ll need a dog to model it when you’re done. 

Here’s what you’ll need for this project:

  • A piece of fabric with a fun pattern on it. You can purchase this at your local crafting supply store or order it online.
  • Scissors
  • Velcro tape
  • A measuring tape or a ruler
  • Hot glue gun
  • A dog! 

How to Make a Dog Bandana: A Step-By-Step Tutorial

Step 1: Loosely measure your dog’s neck. You’ll need a piece of fabric at least 4” bigger than your pet’s collar size. My dog’s neck measures 12 inches, so I used 16 inches of fabric. 

Step 2: For a 12” neck, cut out an 8”x 8” square piece of fabric. 

Here’s a chart for other common dog bandana measurements based on your pet’s neck size:

Neck SizeSquare Fabric Measurements
17″ neck11″ x 11″
15″ neck9″ x 9″
11″ neck7″ x 7″

fabric pieces for dog bandana

Step 3: Cut a second strip measuring 16”x 2”. This will be the collar of the dog bandana, which will wrap around your dog’s neck.

Step 4: Turn the collar over. Fold one side to the halfway point and glue it. Repeat the fold and glue process on the other side. Be careful not to touch the hot glue!

gluing collar for dog bandana

Step 5: Next, fold about 1” of each end and glue. The collar is done!

Step 6: Flip the 8” x 8” square upside down and apply glue from corner to corner. 

Step 7: With the glued side down, lay the collar along the glue line from corner to corner. Note: position the collar slightly below the corners. This will provide a cleaner edge when you fold it.

gluing dog bandana

Step 8: Fold the two ends of the square over the collar and glue around the edges.

Step 9: Cut a 1-2” piece of the Velcro tape and apply to opposite sides of the collar and you’re done! 

Velcro tape on dog bandana

Step 10: No need to tie the DIY dog bandana around your dog’s neck. All you have to do is wrap it around and Velcro the two ends together. 

Additional Ways to Decorate Your Dog Bandana

Dog in decorative bandana

There are many more ways to dress up your DIY dog bandana than simply picking out a fun fabric. Try the following ideas for making your pet bandana even more personalized:

Put your dog’s name on it. Purchase some fabric markers and write your dog’s name on the front of the bandana. These markers are meant to sink into a fabric and will even withstand being washed. You can also use puffy paint or buy some iron-on letters to spell out your dog’s name.

Have fun with patchwork. “One fun idea is to add patchwork designs for extra cuteness,” says Lovelia Horn, a professional dog trainer, DIY enthusiast and owner of Every Creature Counts. You can sew in any number of shapes and colors, giving your pet the perfect accent or even purchase iron on patches to decorate the bandana with.

Embroider it. “You can also dress up a dog bandana with embroidery, using a soft-tipped needle and some colorful thread,” says Horn. This can be done by hand or with the help of a sewing machine. 

Make it extra girly: “Attach some ribbon around the edges for a feminine touch,” suggests Horn. You can also add a little bling by sewing on some crystals or rhinestones.

Best Fabrics for a DIY Dog Bandana

group of dogs wearing bandanas

As far as fabric, Horn says 100% cotton is the best choice. This is because cotton is durable and can be washed and dried with ease. It’s especially a great idea for dogs that will be wearing their new pet bandana to places like the beach or the dog park, where they will run and play and likely come home dirty. 

“Choose colors and patterns that will look great on your pet,” Horn says. “You can have fun with matching the colors to the dog’s collar or even his favorite toy.” 

Your local crafting supply store will sell everything from seasonal fabric prints to polka dots, striped, cartoon-adorned, solid colors, and more. The place that I went to had an entire dog-themed section, which had fabric decorated with paw prints, bones, fire hydrants, and dogs. And if you have an idea of the measurements that you’re looking for ahead of time, they will cut it for you on site.

How to Put a Bandana on a Dog

Dog wearing blue bandana

When it comes to how to tie a bandana on a dog, there are several ways to do this. The simple DIY dog bandana that I made had velcro tape placed onto the end of each side of the straps, which makes it easy to put it on and take off from your dog. You can also purchase a snap fastener and some snaps and install those on the ends of the bandana. 

Another option is to leave the straps on the collar part of the dog bandana extra long so that you can simply hand tie it. This is a great option for someone who doesn’t have any velcro or snaps at home and wants to create a quick one using fabric that they already have. Since the bandana is double sided, however, it can be a bit more difficult to tie this versus a standard dog handkerchief.

For an over the collar dog bandana, you can fold the fabric of the bandana over your dog’s actual collar and glue it together only at the very far edges. This will make a dog bandana that allows you space to slide a dog’s collar through the strap and attach it to your pup that way. 

When fitting the dog bandana onto your dog, you want to make sure that it fits snug but is also loose enough to be comfortable. Just like a collar, make sure that you can easily slip two fingers underneath the bandana. And watch your dog to make sure that he is comfortable wearing it.

Your dog might not be used to wearing the bandana at first and might scratch at it and want to take it off. In this case, don’t just put it on him and leave it on him all day. Gradually get him used to it. 

First, show him the bandana and pet him. Then, put it on. Pet him and show him some affection. Give him a few treats. Take it off. Repeat this, having him wear it for longer and longer periods of time until he gets used to wearing it all day.

Always remove your dog’s bandana before putting him in his crate so that it doesn’t catch on the bars. And only allow him to wear it when supervised so that it doesn’t become a hazard while playing.

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