Carol Curtis Stilz


In my book, GRANDMA BUFFALO, MAY AND ME, Poppy wears a bandana that has many uses.

  • Wear it around your neck to protect against sunburn.
  • Dip it in cold water and you’ll feel cooler.
  • Tie it over your nose and mouth to keep dust from your face.
  • Tie one around your head to keep dust out of your hair, or hair out of your eyes.
  • Tie things inside it to keep them safe.

To make your bandana you will need these things listed below.

  • ruler, measuring tape, or yardstick
  • cloth for bandana
  • scissors to cut cloth
  • needle and thread if you hem the edges of your bandana
  • paper and pencil for drawing designs
  • permanent markers (Sharpie brand works best) or fabric paint tubes
  • cardboard or plastic sheet to put under paper and cloth

Steps to make your project

  1.  Ask a grown-up for cloth to make your bandana. Worn out sheets, pillowcases or shirts are great because they are soft. Avoid using red or blue cloth if you live in a city where gangs use those colors. Some places don’t allow bandanas, so check to be sure you can wear yours to a park or school.

  2. A kid’s bandana is a square measuring 18 inches on all sides. It can be smaller or bigger as long as it fits your head. The cloth can be cut in a triangle if you just want to tie it around your neck. An adult bandana is a 23 inch square. Measure an 18 inch square. Mark off 18 inches on each of the four sides. Measure twice before cutting. Some cloth can be cut only with scissors used by grown-ups, so ask for help with cutting. If you sew, hem the edges. If you don’t sew, pull the loose threads on all sides to make fringe.

  3.  Place cardboard or plastic under your paper. Draw designs or pictures on paper you want to put on your bandana. You can make a border design and draw a picture in the center. You can make the traditional paisley design by thinking of it as a pickle. Add dots and squiggles inside the pickles. Create a design you like and want to wear.

  4.  When you decide on your design, put clean cardboard or clean plastic under the cloth. Use permanent markers or fabric paint to draw your designs on the cloth. Let the design dry for an hour or more.

  5. To keep the design from fading, have a grown-up set an iron on medium to high. Test to be sure the iron is not too hot for the bandana. Place a clean white cloth over one part of the design and press for about 10 seconds. Move the cloth and iron another part of the design. Continue until all your design has been ironed. Allow it to set for 24 hours before wearing. If you plan to wash your bandana, follow these instructions from this website .

Enjoy wearing your special bandana!