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Craft of the Month

Craft of the Month: How to Make a T-Shirt Headband

Last month I couldn’t even introduce Camp Steven’s first featured craft without mentioning the ever-inspiring “t-shirt headband”.

pic 1 - happy camperAs its name suggests, a t-shirt headband is a headband made from strands of cut-up tees. These headbands are stretchy and comfy, ever-inspiring (1) because the color combining potential is pretty well endless and (2) because “t-shirt headbands” as an activity is rarely restricted to braided headbands. T-shirt ninja costume, anyone?

pic 2 - is that a ninjaThus, I present you with a simple t-shirt headband tutorial. Like the Pirate Code, this tutorial is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules – think of it as a jumping-off point for a plethora of t-shirt crafting!

You’ll need t-yarn, a sturdy pair of scissors suitable for cutting fabric and maybe a safety pin or two. For instructions on how to cut whole t-shirts into t-yarn, check out October’s Craft of the Month!

  1. For one headband, you will need three strands of t-yarn, each at least long enough to wrap all the way around the head the headband will go on. As you can see, I have one strand of chocolate brown, one strand of sage green, and one strand of bright blue.pic 4 - 3 strands
  2. You will also need two additional shorter strands of t-yarn, about 7 inches long each. I am using bright green ones!
  3. Lay one of your short strands flat and spread the other three strands across it, in a perpendicular fashion as pictured. As you can see, one strand sticks out farther than the others – you will eventually use this strand to tie the headband on.pic 5 - perpendicular
  4. Tie the short strand in a knot around the other three strands, as tight as you can!pic 6 - bind the strands
  5. You are ready to braid! This is where the safety pins may come in handy – you can pin the ends to something and braid from there, or find a little friend to hold the ends for you. If you do decide to safety pin it, be sure to pin through all three strands so none of them get pulled out of the knot as you go! Anyways, I like to use my toes.pic 7 - time to braid
  6. Braid awaypic 8 - braid awaypic 9 - and braid some more
  7. The length of your braid will depend on the head the headband is for… to get real specific, my head is 21.5 inches around, and the braided portion of my headbands is usually around 16.5 inches long. This leaves some space for me to tie the headband on my head and also keeps the end knots away from my ears! I recommend holding the headband up to its preferred head as you go for reference.pic 10 - my braid
  8. Once the braid is as long as you want it to be, grab your remaining shorter strand of t-yarn and tie off the end, like you did in Step 4 (only backwards kinda).pic 11 -grab your last short strandpic 12 - and tie off the end
  9. Choose your tying strand for this end and trim it to the same length as the tie on the other end.pic 13 - match your long strand up and trim
  10. Trim the other strands too, if you’d like! Either way, your headband probably looks similar to this one:pic 14 - all done
  11. Tie it on and see what you think!

    pic 15 - HB in action

There you have it! To close, here are some tips and tricks for your future headband endeavors:

  • These are not strictly limited to t-shirt yarn! Try mixing t-yarn with other skinny strips of fabric – light cotton, for example, will fray and provide some fun texture. As a rule, if the fabric isn’t stretchy than you should cut a longer strand to make up for the lack of stretch.
  • You’ll notice that my ties are pretty long – this is because I like to tie my headbands in a big bow. Feel free to make your ties shorter (or even longer); I would recommend ties at least 5 inches long each.
  • If you need longer strands of t-shirt yarn, you can tie strands together end-to-end using a square knot. (Search “how to tie a square knot” in Google images for some helpful pictures!)
  • Speaking of long strands, I once saw a woman tie a bunch of strands on at each end of her headband to make colorful fabric dreadlocks. It was really cool.

That’s all I’ve got for now! If you’ve any questions, feel free to post ‘em under comments.


Craft of the Month is a monthly feature written by Resident Intern Staff member/crafting guru, Lindsay Taylor. All about the upcycle, you can check out some of Lindsay’s creations in her Etsy shop, Bits and Blurbs.

About campstevensstaff

Blogs conceived of and written by one of our staff members. More about each and every one of them at: http://campstevens.org/about-us/our-staff



  1. Pingback: Craft of the Month: T-Shirt Capes | When the Bell Rings - May 31, 2014

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