I love throwing on a simple headband; whether I wear one myself for hiding my day-old hair or to take a barre class, or I put one on my daughter to accessorize a plain outfit. I’ve made a ton using fold over elastic (FOE) as it’s easy to find, doesn’t leave a mark on my daughter’s head and you can loosen them easily if they get too tight!
You can find a lot of colors of FOE, but finding the right tie-dye option was almost impossible! I decided to try my hand to make some matching headbands for myself and my daughter in the exact colors I wanted. I also knew I could get a couple of hair ties out of it too!
RIT Liquid Dye
Glass bowls (plastic will soak up the dye!)
5/8” or 1” fold over elastic (FOE) (I prefer 5/8” for hair ties and kids’ headbands and 1” for adult headbands)
Floss (I use what i have on hand! Obviously, rubber bands are quick and easy too!)
Vinegar (for use with nylon fabric per RIT directions)
I tend to be more loose-y goose-y with DIY directions as I like to use what I have on hand and not worry about getting supplies for a one-time DIY. As I repeat projects and fine tune the process, then I’ll collect the perfect supplies to make my life easier! That being said, I offer this disclaimer: DO NOT dye on your wooden butcher block. It will leave stains and your significant other might raise some eyebrows when he or she goes to cut the veggies for dinner. Onto the directions!
I only dyed a small amount of FOE (2 yards each of 1” and 5/8”) so I used 1 cup of hot water, 2 TBSP of vinegar and 2 TBSP of dye for each color. You can dye probably 10-20 yards of FOE with this mix!
Fold the FOE 6-8 times and then tie it up with the floss. The tighter you tie the floss, the less the dye gets in. If you want strong white lines, then tie tightly.
Dip the FOE in the dye and swirl around until the color gets a bit darker then you want it to be. It will lighten a little when you rinse the fabric. You can fold and dip the FOE until all the white is covered. Use the dye from lightest to darkest color to avoid contaminating the lighter colors!
Let the FOE dry slightly and then cut off the floss and rinse the FOE until the water runs clear. You can use a little soap to make sure no dye gets on anything else. Then dry on low!
Cut the FOE to length, tie and then cut the ends on a diagonal. Put a flame near the edges (not touching), to melt and seal the edges against fraying.
Cut lengths for headbands and hair ties:
9-10” – hair ties (depending on how thick your hair is)
15” – 0-9 months headband (can loosen as baby grows)
18” – 9 months-toddler headband
20” – child-sized headband
25” – adult headband
Alternatively, you can measure around your (or your child’s) head and add about 3 inches for tying and stretch allowance. I err on the side of cutting an inch longer as it’s a bummer to cut too closely and have a headband that is too tight or a hair tie that doesn’t have enough stretch to keep your ponytail together. You can always make the knot a little tighter.
What are your favorite tie-dye colors? Did you make headbands or hair ties? Show us what you made!
I'm a photographer living in a tiny bungalow near the beach in Leucadia with my handy husband and my happy little girl. I love creating, whether that's with my camera or with my hands! My favorite thing to photograph is people in love: a bride on her wedding day, a couple celebrating an anniversary, a mother adoring her child or a laugh shared between friends. I'm excited to share my photography and my joy of creating things with The Kindred Street!