Adventure Bandanas

It’s August, and we’re two weekends into a month of fun visits from family and friends. After canoeing on Saturday, Bill and his cousin took charge of the kitchen and the rest of us went out to my studio to play.

A 12-pack of white cotton bandanas from Dharma Trading Company makes it easy for me to fit in a fun project for the kids. I pull out the FabricMate markers and we just start drawing things that remind us of the cool stuff we’ve seen and done over the weekend. Canoes and wildlife often appear in our Adventure Banadanas. It’s a sneaky way of making story cloths — textiles that help people get started telling the stories of their lives.

Once they dry, FabricMate Markers are permanent without heat setting. The girls did their own bandanas entirely with markers. The boys painted on additional color with Dye-na-Flow fabric paints, and we had fun mixing colors to see what we could get. We accidentally spilled some paint on the plastic-covered table, then did it deliberately, swirling colors together and mopping up paint with a bandana for another effect.

And for other not-so-deliberate spills (usually related to the fact that my table is the right height for me, but not for my young guests), it’s nice to have a floor where a little extra color just blends in.

After drying on the line, the Dye-na-Flow takes just a few minutes to heat set with a hot iron. Next weekend when the next batch of cool kids comes to visit, they’ll get to heat set their own. They’ve been doing it (with close supervision) since they were small.

Over the years, we’ve done treasure map bandanas and scavenger hunt bandanas, but my favorites are still whatever the kids come up with themselves. So I try to give them just enough direction to get started, then just stand back and pour paint!

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Donna Kallner

fiber artist, teacher and explorer, inspired by ancient fiber techniques and all the ways contemporary fiber artists give old ideas a new spin