5 Ways To Tie A Head Scarf For Spring

I’m giving my grandma’s old scarves a new lease on life and you’re coming with me.
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I’m giving my grandma’s old scarves a new lease on life and you’re coming with me.

Like most New Yorkers with minimal space, I have a tendency to hoard things--mostly clothes, beauty products (shocker!), and books. Also: scarves. My entry hall is like a shrine to wrapping one’s neck in fabric.

But tucked away in my closet, I’ve saved the most beautiful scarves “for a special occasion.” Most of them were my grandmother’s and I’ve cherished them since she passed away nine years ago. 

To honor her--and the promise of spring--I decided to bust them out and let the good times roll.

colorful head scarves

Hereditary scarf hoarding. Is it a thing?

While my neck-scarf wrap game is on point, finding a use for these scarves has always been tricky--they’re different shapes and sizes, and some are really delicate. Wearing them around my neck or tied to the handle of my purse isn’t my jam, so I’m going to use them on my head instead. 

The good news is there are a lot of great YouTube and blog tutorials on the subject. A friend also recommended The Wrap Life’s 15-second head wrap videos, which are great inspiration, even if you aren’t using an actual head wrap (which are often larger and made of heavier material than the scarves I’ve used here).

After some trial and error, I found that the styles below gave me the most bang for my buck: They look complex but are pretty easy to execute, and can work on most hair lengths. I also wanted to find a style for each of the scarf sizes in my collection, which range from small and square to long and skinny. And, obviously, I wanted to look cool. Because what’s the point of piling fabric on your head if you don’t look cool?

The Norma Desmond Mohawk

mohawk wrapped scarf

A ‘do that looks good from the front, back, and side-to-side. The “Sunset Boulevard” queen would be proud.

Scarf size: 67” x 18”
Note: This style works best with a lighter scarf, as heavier fabrics can make the twist look bulky.

  1. Part your hair down the middle and pull it into a bun at the lower back of your head. 
  2. Put the center of the scarf at the nape of your neck and pull the two sides up and around so they meet in the middle of your forehead.
  3. Cross over the scarf ends so the tails are on opposite sides. Do it again. 
how to tie a mohawk scarf

This crisscross will make you jump, jump.

4. Continue to twist the tails together to create a rope of scarf fabric.

5. Pull the rope toward the back of your head and wrap the tails around your bun base. Secure with pins.

The Topsy Turban

bright blue turban

Sick of wearing beanies? Try an ear-cozy turban instead.

Scarf size: 30” x 30”

  1. If you have long hair, pull it into a half ponytail “pouf” at the crown of your head. This will add a little volume under your turban and keep it from sagging under the weight of your hair. 
  2. Fold the scarf in half diagonally to make a triangle. 
  3. Put the long side of the triangle at the nape of your neck and pull the two side corners forward, so they meet at the top of your forehead. Tie them together once. 
  4. Pull the middle corner forward and tuck it into the back of the tie you just made.
how to tie a turban

Tuck and roll.

5. Push the ends of the tie, as well as any other puffy scarf spots, under the front edge of the scarf. Secure with bobby pins if needed.

6. Kind of confused? It’s cool; I was, too. Check out this video tutorial for a live-action how-to.

The Braided No-Sock Bun

braided scarf bun

This bun likes sunsets and long walks in the park.

Scarf size: 22” x 22”

  1. Fold the scarf diagonally so it’s one long strip that’s about an inch wide. 
  2. Make a high ponytail and pull the scarf through the elastic so you have equal amounts of fabric on each side. 
how to tie braided scarf

See? Like this.

3. Separate the hair into three sections for braiding. Pull one end of the scarf into each of the side sections of hair. The center section should just be hair.

4. Braid the scarf into your hair and fasten it with a clear elastic band at the end.

braided scarf how-to

Pull the scarf sections out a little bit as you go along so you get that color poppin’.

5. Wrap the braid into a top knot and secure it with pins. Gently tug at the braided hair to give it volume and adjust the ribbon so it peeks out where you want it to.

The Put-a-Rose-on-It Headband

headband scarf

Will you accept this rose?

Scarf size: 34” x 34”
Note: This style works best with a very light scarf, such as sheer silk or chiffon.

  1. Fold the scarf diagonally so it’s one long strip that’s about two inches wide.
  2. Place the center at the nape of your neck and pull the two sides up and around to the middle of your forehead. 
  3. Cross over the scarf ends so the tails are on opposite sides.
  4. Twist the tails together from base to end, then spiral them together into a rose-like bun at the top of your head. 
how to tie a headband scarf

Do the twist. Put a bun on it.

5. Tuck the ends under to secure the rosette and pin the headband part behind your ears to prevent it from slipping. If you want to add a super fun wave to your hair like I did, try using an iron like the ConAir YOU Wave Ultra, my trusty go-to, with a little heat protectant beforehand.


The Womanly Bow

bow scarf

I might look like a present, but I’m not a little girl.

Scarf size: 50” x 9.5”

  1. Part your hair down the middle and pull it into a bun at the back of your head. Fold the scarf diagonally so it’s one long strip that’s about two inches wide.
  2. Place the center at the nape of your neck and pull the two sides up and around to the middle of your forehead. 
  3. Push the ends a little off center and tie them into a bow. 
  4. Fluff out the edges of the bow to create volume. Pin the headband part behind your ears to prevent it from slipping.
  • Tell me: Have you come across any head scarf tutorials you love? 
  • What are some other creative uses you’ve come up with for these types of scarves? 
  • Oh, and leave all of your favorite scarf brands in the comments, please. One can never have too many.