How To Turn An Old T-shirt Into The Perfect Head Wrap

hair wrap

Today’s post is part practical tip and part easy craft, so I’m going to go ahead and call it a “practi-craft.” ;-) This particular practi-craft takes the form of a DIY t-shirt headscarf or head wrap, and it couldn’t be easier to make—or more useful to have on hand!

But before we get started, I’m sure that some of you might be wondering why someone would choose to wear a t-shirt as a headscarf as opposed to, say, silk, or something a little fancier. I wondered the same thing at first, so I thought it would be helpful to explore the why before we move onto the how.

Related: How To Make Your T-Shirts Feel Vintage Soft

3 Reasons To Wear A T-Shirt Head Wrap

T-Shirt Headscarf

1. To Cover Your Head

This idea was originally shared with me by an OGT reader named Elise, who said she used this method to cover her head when she was going through chemotherapy. Many chemo patients prefer t-shirts over other headscarf options, because the fabric is really gentle on their sensitive and easily irritated skin.

T-Shirt Headscarf

2. To Dry Curly Hair

For those with curly hair, try wrapping your hair up in this t-shirt headscarf instead of a towel after washing your hair. Lorraine Massey, author of Curly Girl and respected authority on curly hair, recommends t-shirts over towels because they “absorb too much moisture, which curly hair needs.”

Wrapping your hair up in a t-shirt instead will help absorb excess water without removing too much moisture from your hair. That means softer, smoother, and less frizzy hair.

T-Shirt Headscarf

3. To Keep Your Hair Dry

I’ve started using my own t-shirt headscarf as a shower cap of sorts to keep my hair dry. I just wrap my hair up before getting in the shower and it helps keep my hair protected from the water (as long as I don’t stick my head directly under the shower head.)

I’ve used plastic shower caps in the past, but they always made my head feel sweaty within a few minutes of wearing them. The t-shirt headscarf is so much more breathable, so it keeps my hair dry and my head sweat-free.

Alright, now that you know why the t-shirt headscarf is useful, let’s get to how to make it! You just need a shirt, some scissors, and about two minutes to make one. :-) Here’s how to do it:

How To Make A T-Shirt Head Wrap

T-Shirt Headscarf

You’ll need:

T-Shirt Headscarf


Start by cutting a straight line across your t-shirt, from the bottom of one arm hole to the bottom of the other. Discard the top portion of the shirt, or set it aside to use in another project.

2 Ways To Wear A T-Shirt Headscarf

Option A – Twist & Wrap

T-Shirt Headscarf

Drape the lower portion of the shirt over your head, placing the finished seam along your forehead.

T-Shirt Headscarf

Draw the excess fabric together at the back of your head and twist to keep it in place.

T-Shirt Headscarf

Finally, draw the excess fabric over the top of your head so that it wraps around your forehead and stays in place. Fabulous!

hair wrap

Option B – The “Plop”

This method is called “plopping” because you “plop” the hair on top of your head. It’s a popular way to wrap up curly hair after adding product because it allows the roots of your hair to dry in a lifted position, and it promotes curliness. For best results, keep your hair in the shirt for 10-30 minutes, then air-dry or use a hair dryer and diffuser. 

Start by placing your t-shirt headscarf flat on a counter, stool, your bed, or another flat surface. Push back the top layer of fabric to expose the inside of the shirt while keeping the bottom layer flat.

Bend over so that your wet hair is upside down, then set your hair on top of the shirt so that it piles up on the inside of the shirt.

hair wrap

Grab the top layer you pushed aside and pull it up and over the back of your head, then grab onto the bottom layer as you stand up so your hair stays scooped inside the shirt.

hair wrap

Gather the fabric at the back of your head, twist it around, then pull the excess fabric back over the top of your head to secure the towel.

What other ways could you use a t-shirt headscarf?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

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Bright Ideas

  • I actually did try this. It didn’t stay very well so I had to use a tiny clamp clip. Then when my sisters family was living with us her kids thought it was funny.

  • I’ve actually started doing this for a hair towel. I use a little clamp to keep it on my head. I tried knotting it, but it just didn’t work with my hair. It’s very thick.

  • While watching Oprah years ago she told of another use for a part of the T-shirt you would have discarded or used for another purpose. Cut off the sleeve, and pull over your head then back up to your forehead with the short sleeve hem at the forehead. Makes a nice cover up when dusting or gardening and keeps hair out of ones face.

    • Alice, I have the same issue but instead of cutting the t-shirt I just stick my head thru the neck hole, throw my head upside down, adjust the neck hole so it sits close to my forehead hair line and twist like a normal towel and throw the twist back over the top of the head tucking the end into the material sitting at the back of my head. This isn’t ideal for a long term use like a headscarf but it removes the excess moisture enough that it can make diffuser drying easier. You might also try the “plop” method.

      • I also have curly hair. What I have done is just cut off the sleeves of a larger size t-shirt (just to reduce the bulk a little) and sewed an elastic loop to the bottom hem of the shirt (maybe 3-4” of narrow elastic) . I bend over and stick my head into the bottom of the shirt with the elastic loop at the nape of my neck, twist the shirt fabric at my forehead, then bring twist over my head and tuck into the elastic, which helps it stay in place. Basically works similar to those special shaped hair towels you can buy, but if you have a lot of hair I think this gives you more room. If you used a long sleeved shirt, you might could just use the sleeves to tie it at the back of your neck.

  • All hair types benefit from wrapping/drying with a cotton T-shirt. Terry cloth is far too course. I’ve been making t-shirt “turbine twists” for years there is a pattern o Pinterest.

  • I live on a dirt/gravel road and love driving with my windows down. This is great for keeping my hair dust free and also from looking windblown when I get to my destination. Also great for wearing for when I head out to do just about anything on days like today when the wind is blowing about 20 mph (which is very frequent!)

  • Not sure if I’d use something like this. I think it looks a lot better than those stocking caps or awful fabric shower caps – that some folks who won’t be named wear out in public. This is definitely more stylish. Might be a great bad hair day option for some folks.

    • I basically when I’m at home run around with scrungies in my hair. I have to wear my hair up for work. The scrungies are more gentle on my hair- when I won’t be seeing anyone. I use the scunciii everyday and active ones.. It’s the only brand I’ve seen that doesn’t get all stretched out.

      • I actually have for years been using a microfiber towel for drying my hair. Someone had said years ago they had gotten one in the Auto section at Walmart. I too thought this would also work for a hair covering when doing house painting etc.

  • I have very thin, fine hair and sometimes at the end of a day wearing it up in a scrunchie etc. my scalp will feel very sore where individual hairs have been pulled too hard. I don’t tend to just ‘let my hair down’ and let it rest…I feel self- conscious about it looking ‘straggly’. This sounds like an ideal solution for letting my scalp rest in the evenings with a soft, non-pulling head covering. Thanks!

    • Teresa,

      What is made in the project is basically a larger ‘Multi Purpose head wrap’ which is a long tube of cotton fabric that can be used many ways.

      Most every chain store sells them now (at least in my area) for a couple bucks, or even less, in a bunch of fun colors. Heck, I think I saw some at Dollar Tree last week. Also lots of options online. That might be an option for you, too.

      I’ve a friend who has lost her hair and thus shaved her head during her breast cancer treatment and she does so many fun things with the headwraps and even gets compliments on her look!

    • 100% cotton is ideal for drying, at least. I’ve been ‘plopping’ (the t shirt method to dry wavy or curly hair) for a few years now and anything synthetic tends to not work as well for me.

      Also it’s generally best to wash your hair drying t shirt without any fabric softner, as that will keep it from absorbing water

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