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Re-purposing: Tshirts into 5-strand-braided-headbands

I was walking through Target a few weeks ago and noticed this little knit fabric headband that was not just braided together…….but woven.  I decided they were charging way too much for something that could be made with t-shirt scraps. And that means free.

So there you have it. A nice and easy project to give my bad-hair-day head some love.

5 Strand Braided Knit Headband

(Or you may need one for working out.  Or washing your face.  Or while putting on your make-up.)

I kinda love it on my little girl .  And she does too……because it’s stretchy, soft, and cozy.  Win-win.

She always has little hair fly-aways that get into her face…….and this helps with that problem.

It even works great with her hair down…..and keeps that hair tucked behind her ears.

And yep, good for me too.

Thanks little t-shirt scraps.

Want to make your own?

First, find some old t-shirts.  Or buy some jersey knit.  Either way works.

Then, cut your fabric into long strips.  I made my strips about twice as long as the measurement around my (or my daughter’s) head.  The thick headband strips are about 2 inches wide and the narrow headband strips are about a 1/3 inch wide.  You’ll need 5 long strips for one headband.

Next, stack your 5 strips on top of each other and sew together at one end.  (Or hand stitch them or glue them.)

Now, pull on each strip of fabric so that they kind of curl on the edges.

Then lay your strips with the sewn edge up at the top (tape this down if that will help you while braiding) and then split up the strips into 3 on the left side and 2 strips on the right.

Now, to create this 5 strand braid……’ll kind of be braiding on the left side and then braiding on the right.  And then back and forth until you’re done.

But let me explain a little better.

First, you’ll work on the left side. So grab the strip all the way on the left (pic #1) and cross if over the strip right next to it  on the right(pic #2).  Then grab the strip furthest to the right of this section (pic #3) and cross it over one strip to the left (pic #4).  Now grab the middle of all 5 strips (pic #5) and bring it over the the right side (pic #6) so that you can start braiding on the right side.  Now you have your strips separated into 2 strips on the left and 3 strips on the right…….but opposite from the beginning.

Now, you’re going to do the same thing on the right side………just mirrored from what we did the first time.  So grab the strip all the way on the right (pic #1) and cross if over the strip right next to it  on the left (pic #2).  Then grab the strip furthest to the left of this section (pic #3) and cross it over one strip to the right (pic #4).  Now grab the middle of all 5 strips (pic #5) and bring it over the the left side (pic #6) so that you can start braiding on the left side again.

**Something to remember: When you’re working on the left side or on the right side……’ll always start with the strip on the outside.  So if you’re working on the left side……grab the strip all the way on the outside on the left.  If you’re working on braiding on the right side…….start with the strip all the way on the outside on the right.

So, start again from the very beginning and work on the left side again (pics #1-5) and then on the right side again (pics #6-10).

You’ll need to adjust the tightness as you go and may have to tighten individual strips here or there.

Keep on braiding and braiding……keeping the tension about the same all the way down.

When you get to the end (or as long as you need it)…… (or hand-stitch or glue) the ends in place.

Then overlap the ends together and sew (or glue) in place.

**Before attaching, remember that knit will stretch and the woven design allows for stretch.  So you want to make this headband smaller than your head so that it hugs your head and stays in place.

To finish it off (and cover up the ends), cut a rectangular piece of fabric that’s wider than the ends that you’ll need to cover.  Fold the side edges in…….

And then stitch (or glue) one end on the inside of the headband.

Then wrap this piece of fabric around the headband, tuck the ends up……

And then stitch (or glue) this end down too.

And that’s it.

A nice and stretchy headband for you or a little girl you know.

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  1. Magnolia Seigworth says:

    Some truly nice stuff on this internet site , I like it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    wow awesome!! I will try this!

  3. Kanesha says:

    This is amazing! I’m definitely trying this!!!!

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  5. fils de putain says:

    Very good info. Lucky me I came across your site by chance (stumbleupon).

    I have book marked it for later!

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  8. sherry says:

    thanks for sharing! i just made a headband out of an old tie-dye shirt – it’s makes a wonderful multi-color headband. my niece loves it and can’t stop wearing it. much thanks for the tutorial – it was very clear and easy to follow.

  9. Rozy says:

    Its brilliant.. Made one for myself.. it looks beautiful.. I even stitched a small metal buffer-fly on the headband which I cut out from a very old belt.

  10. Mimi says:

    Thanks Ashley for the great project! I was looking up ways to upcycle old tshirt strips, and am so glad that I find your site.

    This is definitely a project that I will be doing a lot.

  11. Melie says:

    Thank you for the tutorial! It is cute and easy to do. Yé for me! My girls love them!

  12. Eliza Ferree says:

    my daughter is excited and can’t wait to do this with a bunch of her old shirts.

  13. Ashley says:

    Thanks so much for this tutorial! I tried it last night and it was so easy and quick. I was finally able to start using up my pile of old T-shirts I have kept for craft purposes but haven’t managed to use yet. I’m planning to make a few more. :-)

  14. Abby says:

    How long does it take to make this?

  15. Anonymous says:

    hi ashley glad to see your website, i found more idea on you ive been making headbands but in a satin cloth

  16. Designer Hair Headbands says:

    Love this! Thanks for the great tutorial.

  17. Ncmangum says:

    Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing! I’m all about giving new life to old things and can’t wait to make this for my ill one!

  18. Kuenia says:

    About how long do the strips have to be (measurement in inches maybe?).

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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