How to Make a Reusable Mask

Keep Germs at Bay Without Using Disposables

A fabric face mask, scissors, and sewing pins

The Spruce / Stacy Fisher

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 1 mask
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $8

Using a reusable face mask is a great way to help prevent spreading or catching illnesses. While single-use masks are usually available at most stores and easy to use, they also require frequent replacement. Thankfully, it's simple to make a fabric mask that you can wash and wear time and time again—and you can even choose your own customizable fabric to personalize the face mask's design.

This free reusable mask tutorial will walk you through the process of making a fitted mask or face covering that contours around your mouth and nose for a snug, but comfortable fit. Two pattern pieces are included that you can use to make a reusable mask for an adult or a child. It's a step up from a basic face mask, taking a little more sewing know-how, but is still a great project for a more advanced beginner or intermediate sewist.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron


  • 1/4 yard Main fabric
  • 1/4 yard Lining fabric
  • 10 inch Elastic


How to Make a Reusable Mask

  1. Print and Cut the Pattern

    Print the reusable face mask cut out template. Be sure to print at 100%, with no scaling. To make sure you've printed correctly, measure the box on the pattern. It should measure 1" on all sides. Use scissors to cut out the pattern piece, using the outer lines for an adult-sized mask or the inner lines for a child-sized mask. You'll only need to print out one, you'll be using the same pattern for the two pieces of the mask.

    If you need to cut your face mask to fit a larger or smaller face than the standard pattern size once it's printed out, scale the pattern to your desired size on your computer. You can also manually trace the edges of the pattern inside or outside of the lines if you are unable to rescale it via computer.

    A mask pattern piece, fabric, scissors, a ruler, and sewing pins
    Stacy Fisher
  2. Cut Out Your Pattern Pieces

    Trace the pattern piece onto your main fabric and your lining fabric and cut them out. Flip the pattern over so the wrong side is facing up and trace them again on your main and lining fabric. It's important to flip it over so you get both sides of the mask properly cut out. Use your scissors to cut out the mask pieces. You'll now have four pieces of fabric, two main, and two linings.

    Cut out face mask pattern pieces and scissors
    Stacy Fisher
  3. Cut Your Elastic

    Cut two pieces of elastic 5" long and set aside. If you're sewing a mask for someone who has a large or small head, you may want to add or subtract 0.5" from these elastic pieces. Keep in mind that the elastic will stretch when it's wrapped around the ears. If you're not sure what size, you can pin it on the mask and wrap it around the person's head to see if it's the right size.

    Face mask pattern pieces, elastic, and scissors
    Stacy Fisher
  4. Pin and Sew the Curve

    Put the main fabric pieces right sides together and pin around the largest curve. Sew with a 1/4" seam allowance. Repeat with the lining fabric pieces.

    Two pinned face mask pattern pieces and sewing pins
    Stacy Fisher
  5. Clip Notches and Press the Curve

    Clip small notches within the seam allowance of the curve you just sewed, about 1/2" away from each other. Be careful not to cut into your seam. Repeat with the lining fabric pieces. Taking the time to do this will make for a more comfortable fitted mask.

    Notches cut into a face mask seam allowance
    Stacy Fisher
  6. Pin the Elastic

    Open the main fabric mask piece that you sewed together in step four and put it open right-side up on the table. Pin one piece of the elastic to the right side of the mask, on the straight edge, about 1/2" down from the top. Loop the elastic around and pin the other end onto the same side of the mask but 1/2" from the bottom. Be careful not to twist the elastic as you pin them down. Repeat with the other side.


    To make the face mask contour tightly around your nose, you can add nose wire along the edge of the nose section and sew it inside the seam. Gardening wire or strong twist ties both make great DIY nose wire options.

    Elastic pinned to a face mask
    Stacy Fisher
  7. Get Ready to Sew

    Place the lining fabric mask piece that you sewed in step four and right-side down on top of the main fabric piece that has the elastic attached. Pin around the entire mask, attaching the main and lining mask pieces.

    Two face mask pattern pieces pinned together
    Stacy Fisher
  8. Sew the Mask

    Sew around the entire mask with a 1/4" seam allowance. Leave a 2" opening on the bottom of the mask for turning.

    A sewn face mask with sewing pins
    Stacy Fisher
  9. Turn the Mask Right Side Out

    Pull the inside of the mask through the gap so the mask is now right side out. Press well.

    A face mask and sewing pins
    Stacy Fisher
  10. Finish the Mask

    Sew a 1/4" inside the entire outside edge of the mask to close the opening and further secure the elastic. To wear, cover your mouth and nose with fabric and attach to your head by putting the elastic loops around your ears.

    A face mask that has been topstiched and sewing pins
    Stacy Fisher

Alternative Fabric Choices

The best type of fabric to use for a reusable mask is 100% cotton. If you don't have any cotton fabric available, you can cut up an old woven piece of clothing and use that. You can also use the fabric from an old t-shirt to make a face mask if you can't find any woven material.

Alternative Elastic Choices

If you don't have any elastic, you have some other options. You can use fabric ties, rubber bands, ribbon, hair ties, or just about anything that has some stretch to it so it can be secured around the mouth and nose.

Cleaning and Caring for Your Mask

Caring for your reusable mask is easy; just throw it in the laundry. Reusable fabric masks can be washed in standard laundry detergent in the washing machine or hand-washed with either laundry detergent or soap. Dry your mask in the dryer and allow it to dry fully, or lay it flat and dry it in direct sunlight outside if a dryer is not available.

Store your mask in a mesh fabric bag or a paper bag when it is not in use. Wet or dirty masks can be sealed in a plastic bag (like a disposable sandwich bag) until you are able to wash them properly at home to prevent mold.

Watch Now: Make Your Own No-Sew Face Mask

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. How to Clean and Dry Your Cloth Mask. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  2. Use and Care of Masks. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.