Friday, 9 February 2018
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DIY Chinese New Year Dog Bandana (Free Cut File Download)

Dalmatian dog wearing a red bandana with black and gold trim that reads "Every Year is the Year of the Dog"

Year of the dog? Every year is the year of the dog! This DIY dog bandana uses lucky red along with accents of gold and black for a festive colour scheme.  The bold colours work beautifully together and the bandana looks great without the added iron-on embellishment, but we've also create a custom design that can be used to create an iron-on design with heat transfer vinyl using a Cricut or similar. Here's the DIY details including options for adapting the bandana to your own style and free cut files if you'd like to use our design.  It used to drive me crazy when DIY posts only suited people with cutting machines, so even though I am now a very happy Cricut owner, I will still try to ensure that the DIY posts we share here on our blog have variations that work for people crafting without cutters. 


With 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, not many dogs are lucky enough to celebrate more than one year of the dog, but senior pup Oli was born twelve years ago and dog is his zodiac animal! As pawesome as that might sound, according to superstition, your birth sign year is unlucky, and you can counter that luck by wearing something read given by an elder/relative.  Oli can use all the good fortune he can get these days, so I'll be tying a little something red onto his (currently orange) collar. The boys don't wear the collars indoors, so perhaps a doggy bracelet is in order for my DIY to-dos. For now, we have flashy bandanas to bring us luck!

Red bandana that reads "Every Year is the Year of the Dog" decorated with black and gold trim

The materials and craft supplies used in making the bandana shown are:
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • Sewing Supplies Can be fully hand sewn if you wish, but will be much quicker/easier if you have a sewing machine. 
  • Gold Chinese braid trim embellishment (optional).
  • Cutting machine (I used a Cricut Explore Air 2), tools, and heat transfer vinyl for fabric (optional).

Step-by-step making a red dog bandana decorated with black and gold trim

To sew a bandana like the one shown, you will need suitable washed/preshrunk fabric for the bandana body (I used red with gold polka dots for one side and matching plain red for the other), suitable fabric to make binding or ready-made binding, Chinese braid (optional), complimentary coloured thread, basic sewing supplies, and iron and ironing board. You can use ready-made binding for the neck or make your own. I made my own binding (it's very simple, for short lengths like this that don't require joining).

This DIY uses the same sewing method as our DIY Reversible Dog Bandana with Accent Trim Ties. Please see that post for detailed step-by-step instructions on how the bandana is created and sewn.  The exception/addition to these instructions is the addition of the gold Chinese braid embellishment to the neck portion of the bandana before the binding is joined to the bandana body.  This adds to the style of the bandana but in the case of my perpertually shedding furballs also visually distracts from the certain sprinkling of white fur all over the black trim. Hehe.  I did not embellish both sides.  With the two dogs, I decided to make a set of individual matching bandanas instead of two identical bandanas. A little variety in the doggy dress-up box is always a good thing.
  • Create the bandana body and neck binding as per detailed instructions here.
  • Size gold braid embellishment (optional) to suit your bandana. To avoid having the thickness of the gold braid in our neck tie knots, the trim is sized to match the bandana body and stop short of the neck tie ends.
  • Cut the trim, taking care to have as clean a pattern at the ends as possible. Depending on your trim material, you may want to fray stop the ends with fray-check or carefully using a lighter.
  • Carefully sew the trim into position on the open binding. I hand sewed my trim...I am sure that the Devil's craft torture room is fully stocked with metallic thread.  
  • Join neck binding to bandana body as per detailed instructions here.

✂️  If you'd prefer a simpler sewing project (or a no-sew option), this DIY idea can be easily adapted to one of our simpler DIY dog bandana designs. 

Adding a Cricut iron-on that reads "Every Year is the Year of the Dog" to a homemade red dog bandana

To add a custom heat transfer vinyl design to your bandana, you will need a suitable cut file (download or create your own), computer, cutting machine, heat transfer vinyl (I used black and gold), cutting mat and tools, and an iron/ironing board (or heat press). A teflon sheet is very handy as well. 

I received a Cricut Explore Air 2 as a post-Christmas present from hubby and have been testing it out and learning the ropes, and I have to say its pretty awesome! Cricut's Design Space is easy to use and pre-loaded with fonts and designs for easy use, or you can upload your own design.  You can buy these, find freebies, or make your own.

I created my own pawprints and custom text design in Adobe Illustrator for my bandana, and if you'd like to use it it is available to you as a free download via Dropbox in a layered cut-file SVG format (DOWNLOAD SVG HERE) or a simple single layer PNG format (DOWNLOAD PNG HERE).  The AI file was partially compounded into paws and key words/phrases which the Cricut Design Space will treat as individual layers to give you a little more control over colour, if you'd like to create a multi-coloured iron-on like the one shown, or alter the layout. 

As with all of our freebies, these are free for your personal / non-commercial use as a little gift from us to you.  It's absolutely not required, but it would be awesome and greatly appreciated if you joined us on social media, if you're not already following the fun.  Our links are on the siderbar upper right - please join us!  We also welcome social media shares and linking with love, but please link to this post, not the download direct. Thanks! 

Red bandana that reads "Every Year is the Year of the Dog" decorated with black and gold trim

When setting up your layout, take care not to resize too tiny, or you may have difficulty getting clean cuts and/or weeding without damaging/losing tiny letters.

When creating and applying your iron-on, follow the directions of your specific machine and materials.  Iron-on vinyl is wayyyy easier to use than I initially expected, but a little extra TLC is needed when you are using different colours together, whether in close quarters (as shown) or in layers.  For larger  layered designs, you can consolidate the materials before applying with heat but that's not really viable for lots of little pieces like our design so the vinyl is applied incrementally. I keep the peeled off backing an use it for extra protection on the applied sections as well as use my teflon sheet over the top of everything.  

Dalmatian dog wearing a red bandana with black and gold trim with "Year of the Dog" on the bandana

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