Introduction: How to Wrap a Keffiyeh

Picture of How to Wrap a Keffiyeh

Guide to wrapping a traditional Keffiyeh around your head as demonstrated by the legendary Tim Anderson.

Step 1: Fold It in Half

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Fold the keffiyeh in half diagonally so you get a big triangle, then put it over your head like Tim.

Step 2: Pinch, Wrap and Tuck

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Pinch the fabric over your ear and wrap that side in front of your face then around your head and tuck it into itself.

Step 3: The Other Side

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Same thing as before, but instead of going in front of your face go under your chin

Step 4: Enjoy!

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The brilliant thing about the head wrap is the convertible nature of the face section.


JinahS (author)2017-03-19

Thanks. Im currently in Mecca and just bought one of these.

Sa2017 (author)2017-03-13

Sa2017 (author)2017-03-13 Authentic kufiya :)

tanoak (author)2017-01-19

Thanks for the simple easy to understand guide!

agkaye (author)2013-12-22

Thanks for the instructions. The keffiyeh is an extremely practical garment. I am going hunting tomorrow and it is supposed to be unseasonably warm. I have a cold weather hunting balaclava, but it will be a bit too warm to wear. I have a bright orange and black keffiyeh to go with my blaze orange and black hunting camouflage. The first time I used the keffiyeh was at an outdoor garage sale where I was manning a booth in the sun for three+ hours. It kept my very caucasian skin from getting very burnt. Its gauzy structure kept it from getting to be too warm.
For those who are trying to make this political because of its Semitic origins, please don't go there. I am a Jew, an American patriot, and a Zionist. As much as the world tends to forget, Arabs and Jews have a common parentage and a common region. The keffiyeh is not a religious garment, it is a garment of the desert nomad. At one time, most of us Semitic folks were nomads in desert areas. I was in the US Army and was stationed in the desert for three years. I wish I knew how to wear one of these back then. We wore gauze cravats like keffiyahs but they didn't stay in place as well and were not so easily converted back and forth to face covers. My wearing of a keffiyeh does not make me any more of a Palestinian sympathizer than my wearing of an ushanka (the Russian ear-flap hat) makes me a fan of Vladimir Putin. As a person of Ukrainian heritage, I despise Putin because he embodies the egotistical oligarchical leader who seems to think his is better and smarter than everyone else. That doesn't make me want to trade in my ushanka for a ski cap or ear muffs.

When I was a soldier, the Army implemented the PASGT, styled after the German Bundeswehr's Gefechtshelm (helmet with ear covering that is favored by bikers). That didn't me a Nazi. We wore ponchos too. They have their origins in South and Central America.

The bottom line is this, in America, we have a creole culture. We see it in our arts, cuisine, language, and clothing. Our nation has been fortunate enough to be able to borrow from the hundreds (if not thousands) of cultures of our citizens. Let's not be so ignorant and naive to think that we Americans should avoid cultural garb because it has its origins in cultures some of us might not agree with.

oud25 (author)2013-08-30


Erod D-Isle (author)2013-08-15

very nice and simple be good for places like out here all we have is wind

GlowWireGuy (author)2013-08-13

I agree with Mr. Grumpus:

"Wherever your politics lay... politics as a whole should be (IMHO) resolutely left out of Instructables."

To keep a thriving community of friends going, let this be about making things. Leave the politics and religion for more appropriate forums. I started to launch into a diatribe of my own until I read Mr. Grumpus' calmer and more reasoned comments.

Re: posting things which may generate controversy, I agree with Mr. Grumpus and Joshua:

"the only winning move is not to play."

neffk (author)2013-01-16

Very interesting and practical. Thanks for posting.

jbroadbeck (author)2012-05-24

Nice post. You sure got some interesting comments on this one! It always amazes me how worked up people get over the significance of keffiyehs. They are simply great versatile scarves, and I believe they should be enjoyed by everyone.

carrotguy (author)2012-02-09

Correction: Israel is +972, Jordan is +962. Sorry!

carrotguy (author)2012-02-09

The company that still handlooms kufiyahs in Palestine is:
Hirbawi Textile Factory
0599 439253/297028/557735

I'm not sure what the international dialling code is: Israel is +962, Jordan is +972, and Jordanian mobiles work in most of the Occupied West Bank. Try both and see what happens. They speak English.

They have a distributor in the UK, she has asked me not to give details in an open forum because as soon as you mention the word 'Palestine' you get hassle. I can ask her to contact you by phone (in the UK) or e-mail; however, if you're not in the UK, contact the factory direct and they will tell you if there is a local vendor. This will save you customs hassles.

I ordered yesterday afternoon, my kufiyahs arrived this morning.

I order a red and white, and a black and white (well actually two of each) . They cost £ 7.50 each, making a total of £ 35.70 including UK 1st class delivery.

They are a bit bigger than the 42" someone mentioned, 127 cm square. Fine for a man of average height, a bit big for a petite woman.

If you want to show soldarity with the people, then wear something traditional and expect to be called a 'raghead' - or worse. However, they also do many other colours and styles, which may be less controversial. Some would go nicely with a woman's evening dress.

The black and white has relatively little embroidery and is therefore quite light, and being mostly white keeps the sun off but isn't going to be warm in winter.

The red and white is heavily embroidered and thus weighs much more. More suitable for winter.

My politics are pretty left-wing. I'd wear a traditional kufiyah to a rally or a meeting, but for everyday wear in the UK, it's a very in-your-face political statement. As much so, maybe more so than the black hat and ringlets of an Orthodox Jew.

The instructions given below are good, but don't work so well if you have long hair (which few Palestinians do) - the best advice is to meet a Palestinian and ask them to show you. You have to arrange it slightly differently.

Also, there aren't many sandstorms in the UK, and covering up your face with anything, especially when visiting a bank, arouses susicions. Better to wear it slightly differently, so that the whole of your face is visible.

Sorry for such a long, first, post!

ilpug (author)2012-01-20

What are the rough dimensions of a keffiyeh?

Wzrd1 (author)ilpug2012-02-04

Real simple GUIDE, as we ALL are of different measurements.
Fold it as described in the first image. Put it around your neck at its mid length.
If it reaches your crotch, it's right. If it's short, it's no good. If it's a bit longer, OK. If it's a LOT longer, it's no good, too much excess.
Then, fold and wrap according to instructions.

ilpug (author)Wzrd12012-02-04

Sounds good!

Tool Using Animal (author)2006-11-21

Last time I had to take a flight my wife wouldn't leave the house until I changed out of my "Muslim Academy" shirt, I wonder how she'd like this. BTW Tim you do look very stylish in it.

my ex-wife was that way about ALL MUSLIM type people & things....I put up with it for 3 years, then finally decided I had enough & divorced her. At the final court hearing, I showed up in full Muslim atire....LOL
to say she was not happy is an understatement. :)

My wife isn't anti muslim, she just didn't want my sense of humor making us miss our flight while I antagonized the TSA.

Wzrd1 (author)Tool Using Animal2012-02-04

I refuse to fly after, arriving from a secure Air Base, was given a scrotum squeeze by a TSSA agent. Not to mention an enhanced screening. Not to mention that the folks at the TSSA have a far lower security clearance than I did at the time.
As far as I'm concerned, let air travel shrivel and die until the airlines demand from their masters a release of such idiocy.
Besides, I don't relish the notion of skin cancer, which their scanners can easily give, for the x-ray backscatter units. AS proved by labs repeatedly.

SIRJAMES09 (author)2011-07-20

because I have never had one before, how do I tell a well made one from a cheaply made one?

I wish to wear one that is black & white & represents the barbed wire fencing I have heard Palestinians talk about....but I have no idea on how to tell a well made one from a cheaply made one. :(

What do I look for?

AgentRedacted (author)SIRJAMES092011-08-08

It's hard to find a 'bad' one the best part about them is that they are fairly 'cheap' and easy to make and thus cheap to buy. Of course the should be the proper size of about 42 inches

The only way I could see it being cheap in quality is if you bought one ,that was meant to be worn as an accessory, from Target or the like and not made to handle potential abuse.

Rothco makes some great ones that I have a ton of and have yet to be dissatisfied or receive a damaged or defective one.

I use mine for Airsoft and practical use to keep sand, sawdust, and dirt out of my face. You can find them at most airsoft/paintball milsim stores or Amazon. My advice though is to never pay over $12 dollars for one.

Wzrd1 (author)AgentRedacted2012-02-04

Easier measurement, fold it in half, across corners. Put it around your neck at mid fold.
If it is close to your crotch, it's the right size, as it MUST be wrapped around your head and body proportions are rather a bit of a constant.

SIRJAMES09 (author)AgentRedacted2011-08-08

TY Sir! :-)

Now I know where to buy from!! :-D

rreason (author)SIRJAMES092011-08-27

I disagree and know it to be very common and easy to come across cheaply produced crap.

A proper keffiyeh is often handmade, though not always. It is embroidered by hand or at least produced with good quality cloth that is easily and tangibly tougher, more durable and easy to tug at/stretch around you/pull tight without slightest fear 'my new fashion accessory will be ruined'. Proper keffiyehs are made for the strong gusts of sand in the desert that would otherwise be eroding and wearing your face.

You can also look for arabic writing on them as an indication, or simply ask where they are from. There are good quality ones produced in Oman or other placed, but if you are actually buying it for a political reason you may want to buy direct from Palestinian war widows/orphanages that weave and embroider them to sell.

There are so many cheap knockoff keffiyehs flooding the market from China now that there is only one original keffiyeh factory left in the whole of Palestine in Hebron, West Bank, called the Herbawi factory, owned by Herbawi family.
I would strongly suggest searching google to buy from them or for palestinian embroidery if you want the real article. The traditional design is the one above actually, the inner pattern is supposed to represent a chainlink fence and struggle against occupation and the outer pattern are the waves of the River Jordan. Or so I've been told. That design is a palestinian solidarity symbol... a lot of people jumping on the trend just didn't know or even care, sad and very, very ignorant really.

So, just avoid all clothing chains/market stalls who look like anyone jumping on the bandwagon trying to make a quick buck out of something that actually has more meaning and cultural significance than 'latest trend, hot new look!'
These sellers are definitely the kind to have had it made cheaply mass produced for them from China and do not care about anything (least of all political context, urban outfitters actually called theirs anti-war scarfs, ignorant as hell!) but exploiting an opportunity to undercut genuine producers and sell customers crap for a fat profit margin. You can say the same of suits, materials, stitching and their tailors - a Chinese suit will never compare (unless it's a good tailor who's Chinese!)

Wzrd1 (author)rreason2012-02-04

I have no clue about cheap ones, if they're embroidered, they're good. If they're dyed, pass, as they won't hold position, as that is WHY they are embroidered!
Frankly, I adopted wearing it for two reasons:
1: Keep that damned dust out of my lungs, it is WORSE than that bad, during a sandstorm, screw your skin, it grows back. Clogged lungs are the makers of dead people.
2: Keep that dust out of my hair, as it is a natural form of concrete and mixed with sweat, is as pleasant as having concrete poured on your head and let to set. Short version, real unpleasant and irritating.

I tried the hat and dust mask thing (OK, a helmet), no go, that dust is finer than portland cement dust and has the same characteristics, though less refined in cement qualities (don't try building a house out of it).
But, 6 seconds of reviewing on Google shows me hundreds of links that show embroidered (machine OR human) units.

As for political statements, screw politics, politicians change views more often than I change underwear, which is at least daily.

zuchinno (author)rreason2012-01-24

Thank you! I am so tired of the 'fashion keffiyeh."

dla888 (author)2011-10-15

Cool! I like it!

numberandom (author)2007-02-20

Besides being awesome, it can keep your face warm when its cold or even keep the sun off you when its really hot! Everyone should know how to wear one!

Beside being awesome, a good sun protection, a nice cold protection, a good dust-mask a Keffiyeh is more than only a "Arab dust mask". The Keffiyeh is a political statement for some people (like me), It's a symbol of solidarity with the Palestinian people, though not an islamic symbol. I think you should know this before wearing a Keffiyeh. I live in Canada, an it's cold here in winter. I use my Keffiyeh as a scarf, it's light and I don't feel strangled by it. It's a good alternative to disposable dust-masks because it doesn't create fog in safety goggles. Hey it's also pretty cool!

knynja (author)lordofthedonuts2008-10-07

It very well could be an Islamic symbol.

SIRJAMES09 (author)knynja2011-07-20

the black & white ones like he is showing in the pics, is used by the Palestinians to show solidarity against Israel

Its a shame its also so trendy. I see so many people wearing them now that I feel that people may not realise I'm making a statement of solidarity and think I'm just an ignorant consumerist who saw a nice "jihad scarf thing" and wanted to wear it.

These things are AMAZING in Canadian winter. I have a great wool scarf that I don't wear anymore because these work so much better. They keep warm air near your face and neck, keep snow and rain off your face and neck, and aren't as stuffy or restrictive as regular scarves. But I resent it every time I wear it. Stupid scene kids.

SIRJAMES09 (author)2011-07-20

because I have never had one before, how do I tell a well made one from a cheaply made one?

I wish to wear one that is black & white & represents the barbed wire fencing I have heard Palestinians talk about....but I have no idea on how to tell a well made one from a cheaply made one. :(

What do I look for?

akinni (author)2011-07-11

great job........

Contrelesexism (author)2008-06-12

Are you kidding? The british government has been wearing keffiyehs since WW1! US soldiers have worn them during the gulf war, and even now in iraq and afghanistan. they have practical application, genius.

well get ur facts straight... the kuffieyye is 100% arab it started as a sign to distinguish asrabs from foreigners occupying the arab lands... and guess what the kuffieyye is an arab and especially a palastinian tradition... i breaks my heart when i see people taking credit over something a country has been using for years as a symbol and for its benefits. and what hurts more than that is when i see people wearing the kuffieyye who are unaware of its value as a fashion trend!!

hey what did ralamo95 say? its sounds interesting if not trollish.

miamdz (author)2010-11-25

got it. where can i pick up one

kotuhell (author)miamdz2010-12-27

You can probably get them anywhere, especially as they become really popular fashion accessories. I've seen them sold at urban outfitters actually. But you SHOULD get them here:

This place gets their keffiyehs from the last remaining keffiyeh factory still operating in Palestine. It's a mitzvah to buy it here and support the Palestinian economy. :)

miamdz (author)kotuhell2011-01-03

thanks for the link. appreciate it.

MadDogg710 (author)miamdz2010-12-22

Any surplus store. Its also calles a shemagh or Coalition scarf.

kwalian (author)2008-08-24

Maybe someone could post an Instructable on how to make a keffiyeh so that eBay-prohibited people like me could make our own. Until that wonderful day, could someone post the size of a keffiyeh and a recommended material? Thanks in advance!

txscubasteve (author)kwalian2010-02-25

You can find them in Army surplus stores.  National Outdoors has them for sale for $20.  I do not know if you have that store where you are, but here in Texas, we have them all over. 

SuperCoPilot (author)kwalian2010-02-21

you can always do what my friend did, join the marines, go through months of training, get shipped to the middle east, then haggle for half an hour for it. or you could do what i did and get a friend that did the above lol

ac7ss (author)kwalian2009-12-10

I recently made one from a twin size sheet from the thrift store. Just cut it square and hem the raw edge. I have a big head, and this just fits correctly. (Twin sheet is about 52 inches wide.) The fabric is a Poly-cotton blend, but plain cotton would have been better. Wonderful for keeping my face warm, but the top of my head is still a little chilly.

pyrotechnical (author)kwalian2008-08-31

I'm contemplating making one myself, so I looked at the ones on ebay and found that they are usually 41in by 41in and are either 100% cotton or woven polyester. post an image if you make one.

smithy813 (author)pyrotechnical2008-09-14

in case no one noticed, a bolt a fabric is around 41 inches wide, so cut a square, and wear it

schnitzle (author)2009-06-30

Cool, this could really be useful for a lot of situations :D

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