Easy Embellished No-Sew DIY Dog Bandana

Easy DIY iron-on embellished no-sew dog bandana

Ready-made or custom iron-on patches are a super simple way to make cute custom DIY embellished dog bandanas. It’s always fun to pick your own special wardrobe. Cute ready-made iron-on patches are a very easy way to accessorise or personalise a dog bandana. It only takes a minute or two to elevate a plain bandana, humble handkerchief, napkin, or bandana substitute into a DIY custom dog bandana using simple iron-on embellishments. And grown-ups needn’t have all the fun, either. Making a DIY custom dog bandana with iron-ons is a great quickie craft for older (iron capable) kids to make for their best furry friends. The hardest part is picking which awesome iron-on to buy!

Ready-Made No-Sew Dog Bandana Substitutions

Making DIY dog bandanas (sewn or no-sew) is a crafty way to create a custom cuteness. But if you want a quick and simple no-sew option, inexpensive ready-made plain dog bandanas, human bandanas, napkins, or handkerchiefs make inexpensive bandana substitutes. Their pre-finished edges make them a good options for no-sew gifts or special events, too. Full sized human bandanas are actually a pretty good fit for very large dogs, like ours. Oli has several. Dinner napkins or full-sized men’s handkerchiefs (like our blue bandana here) work well for medium to large dogs. Daintier napkins or women’s handkerchiefs suit smaller pets. If you’re into sewing, you can cut cut them on the diagonal and finish the raw edge to create two-for-one, or just go the simple no-sew route and fold, as shown, to a bandana shape.

Using handkerchiefs as no-sew dog bandanas

Adding Embellishments to Dog Bandanas

Dog bandanas look cute all on their own, whether plain or patterned. But they’re also easy bases to customise or personalise with embellishments. Iron-on patches, heat transfers, fabric markers, fabric paints, or textile ink stamping are all no-sew options for making DIY custom dog bandanas. You can also sew on appliques, trims, or other embellishments. This post was originally shared before computer controlled cutters became popular, but they’ve added a while new range of personalisation options to the mix. Check out our collection of Cricut pet crafts for ideas. I do still love the classic beauty of a quality embroidered patch like this one, though, and have plenty of cuties in my craft stash.  Check out our full collection of DIY dog bandanas for more doggone dapper creations.

DIY heart embellished no-sew dog bandana

Making No-Sew DIY Custom Dog Bandana with Iron-Ons

Supplies and Materials

To make an easy embellished DIY custom dog bandana, like the one shown, you will need:

  • Bandana base (see ideas above)
  • Iron-on patch 
  • Iron and ironing board

Choosing the iron-on patch (affiliate link) is the hardest part of this quick and easy craft. I want them all! Help! I have a stash of cute little iron-on patches picked from craft-shop bargain bins for next to nothing. I also have quick bandanas bases, like these plain coloured cotton handkerchiefs (bought on sale, of course) tucked away in my craft supplies. My iron-on collection includes holiday patches, like this sweet little Valentine heart, our pets’ initials, and more.  Time to use some!

You can make your own custom shapes by custom cutting plain iron-on mending patch material, although this isn’t usually as sturdy as a finished ready-made shape unless you finish the edges. Alternatively, you can create your own custom patch design with embroidery, if you’re keen!  Perhaps I’ll share a few ideas with you in a future post. And as a little post pupdate, there’s now a new crafting option of using a Cricut (affiliate link) or similar to create custom iron-ons. See our Cricut pet crafts for ideas. 

Making an easy DIY Valentine's Day dog bandana with a handkerchief and iron-on patch

Embellishing a Dog Bandana with an Iron-On Patch

  • Optional: Wash and dry your bandana base before starting this craft. Ironing is optional, but creates a tidy look and makes application easier. To prepare your bandana, iron your base flat, if needed. If it’s a square like my sneaky handkerchief bandana base here, fold along the diagonal, seams/hems inwards to form a triangle. If you’d like, you can press the fold line, too. 
  • Carefully position your iron-on patch. Apply in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions. If not stated in the directions, you might want to use a cloth to protect your patch while applying the iron, just in case.
  • Allow to cool and fully set before use.
  • Ready! Play dress-up or package up your present for gifting.
Dalmatian dog wearing a Valentine's day heart bandana

Embellished Dog Bandana Care Tips

The finished bandana should be fairly durable and washable, within the limits of your specific iron-on, of course.  For most iron-on patches, manufactures recommend inverted gentle cold washing and air dry only to avoid lifting the adhesive. Since a bandana can’t be inverted for washing, you may want to hand-wash or use a lingerie bag to reduce rubbing if you’re trying to protect your patch.

If iron-ons lift or come off over time with wearing and washing, you might be able to re-stick by repeating the iron-on process. If that fails, you can use fusible tape to replace the adhesive and apply again, or use a washable fabric glue. Take care with the latter as the glue may discolour the fabric and/or show through to the reverse of your bandana.

Easy DIY ways to embellish a no-sew dog bandana

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