The cloth is tied finely with threads and dyed in stages in different colours. The tied cloth when opened results in various patterns and motifs.
The design for Bandhani is transferred onto the cloth using fugitive colour. A plastic sheet with pin-holed pattern of the design is used as a stencil to transfer the motif onto the cloth. Alternatively, the design is block‐printed on the cloth.
The printed pattern areas on the cloth are then pulled up and tied tightly with thread into a knot called a bindhi. The cloth is pulled by pinching with the help of the fingernails or with a small nail shaped metal ring, and then tightly tied around with a thread. This forms the dye resist area of the cloth. Women usually carry out the tying job. To create finer dots the pulled area of cloth needs to be small. For bigger areas, the cloth is tied in knots of varying sizes. The tying process is done meticulously following the pattern printed on the cloth.
The threads used are usually cotton or synthetic nylon. The thread may be coated with a resist material in the case of cotton thread. The thread is continuously wound from knot to knot without cutting. This enables the thread to be reused again for a number of times.
After the cloth has been tied, it is washed to remove the fugitive colour printed on the cloth.
The cloth is dyed with a light colour such as yellow. After the first dye, the loose knots on the cloth are re‐tied in a repairing process. For a complex pattern, the resist tying happens more than once in varying sizes as per the design.
The cloth is dyed again for the other patterns if any and then washed and dried. The cloth may be successively tied and dyed in various colours for multi‐coloured designs.