I never thought in a million years I would be writing a blog post on no sew face masks. But here we are. I see a need for people to have access to face masks they can wear to the store and during their essential jobs. I also realize that not everyone can sew or has the money to buy supplies. So, I made up three no sew ideas that probably use things you already have around your home. Pick the one you like the best and make masks for your entire family.
You might also like my 31 days of things to do at home series if you are home more during this time and need some distractions.
How to Make No Sew Face Masks
First, you can watch the video below and see me make all three of the face masks. I also have the instructions below if you would like to either read them or print them.
You can also click on each of the links in the table of contents to be taken directly to the face mask that you want to make.
Table of Contents
I am going to add an option to put a filter in any of these masks. I will NOT be suggesting any filters. These masks are for personal use and not medical use. I have no knowledge of filter materials and what works best. Do your own research and decide whether or not you want to use a filter with these DIY face masks.
I have seen both 100% cotton, as well as OlyFun, suggested as optimal materials for creating face masks. That is what I am using below for all of these. Those are what the CDC has released as being materials that will work best for DIY face masks for individuals.
I would ONLY recommend these no sew options for personal use as they are not great for giving to healthcare workers. I think the ones that are made with a sewing pattern are a better fit for our professional workers. I will have some options for sewing face masks later this week so stay tuned for those as well.
Bandanna No Sew Face Mask
First, if you have a bandanna you can make yourself a face mask literally in minutes. No bandanna? Use a 21.5 x 21.5 inch square of cotton fabric you have on hand. The sides DO NOT even have to be finished. You may have seen this version used with a few hair ties but I am doing my own version.
For my version, you can use ribbon, shoelaces, or just about anything else that will make a long string. I am actually giving you an option to use an old t-shirt for the ties in the tutorial for the second face mask. You can scroll to that if you are having issues finding ribbon, etc.
- bandanna or 21.5 by 21.5 inch square of fabric
- ribbon, string, etc 1 1/2 yards if you have one or two if they are shorter
- If you want to add a filter, you will put it in the center first.
- Then fold the long sides in toward the middle. You will be covering up the filter if you added it in the first step.
- Fold the long ends again overlapping them slightly.
- I have two options for ties for this one. Note that I am NOT using the hair ties as elastic around the ears. I find that extremely uncomfortable. Instead, take one ribbon and lay it on the bandanna as shown with a loop in the center at the top.
- Or you can lay two shorter strings as shown.
- Then fold the short ends towards the middle over the top of your ribbon(s).
- Tuck the ends into each other to complete the mask. This is where this one is adjustable. You can put it in a lot or just a little. You can also glue this shut IF you do not add a filter that needs to be changed.
- To wear, loop the top ribbon around your head or tie in a bow if it is two ribbons and put on top of your head. Pull the bottom ribbons around your neck and tie in to place. You have a face mask and it just took you about 5 minutes!
Recycled T-Shirt Face Mask
Perhaps you don’t have a bandanna or any cotton fabric or maybe you don’t like the fit on our first option. The second in our list of no sew face masks is a recycled t-shirt version that is so easy to make! The ties even come out of the shirt.
Follow our instructions below to make your mask. You can also use the instructions for making the ties below and use them on any of the other masks. So, if you don’t have a ribbon, don’t worry! You can still recycle a t-shirt to make strings.
- old t-shirt 100% cotton long sleeve preferred
- glue only if adding a filter
- Cut the arm of an old t-shirt to about 5 1/2 inches long. The arm will make multiple masks. I find that the middle and upper parts of a tapered arm are better for adults.
- Cut the body of the t-shirt into long strings that are about 1 inch wide. This shirt was large enough that I was able to get two ties from each cut across.
- Add the ties to both sides of the sleeve by running them through the inside. If you are going to add a filter, you will need to glue this shut across the bottom leaving room for the ties. Then just put your filter in from the top.
- To wear, I like to make a bow at the top. Then put the top loop on the top of the head, pull the mask into place and tie the bottom tie behind the neck. I also like to turn the seam of the sleeve to the middle of the outside in order to tell the front from the back. Then just enjoy your new t-shirt face mask.
Reusable Shopping Bag Face Mask
Our last version is made from OlyFun. This is a material you can buy at the craft store but it is also what reusable shopping bags are made from. You should use a bag that is NOT insulated. So you want those thin pieces of material.
I also recommend making the front and back from two different colors of material. This will help you distinguish the front from the back so you always put it on your face the same way. Don’t have two bags? Mark the front or back with a marker so you can see it.
- reusable shopping bag or OlyFun
- ribbon or some other tie
- Cut two rectangles of fabric from the bags. These should be about 5 1/2 inches by 7 inches. The size will depend on the size of the person but I would start large and cut down to fit if needed.
- Add ribbon to both sides. This can be two ribbons or one long one looped at the top as shown. Then glue down both sides of the fabric and allow to dry. If you are adding a filter, glue along the bottom as well but leave holes for your ribbon. Leave the top open to insert the filter and change it.
- To put on, put top loop on the top of your head then pull the mask over your mouth. Pull the bottom strings around your neck and tie. You can adjust to fit if needed here. Trim smaller if needed or add pleats with glue to the sides.
Now pick one of these no sew face masks to make. Again, I do not claim that these will prevent any spread of any diseases but they are in line with the guidelines that the CDC has as of April 2020. These recommendations may change so I would keep up to date as the situation changes.
I hope these help you some and at least give you something to wear until you can find additional protection. Enjoy and please stay safe!