Making a no-sew face mask is easier than you might think, and is a great alternative if you can't sew or don't have the proper materials. A no-sew mask is a quick project that anyone can do—you don't need to be particularly crafty or have experience with a needle and thread.
Keep in mind that your mask should ideally be made of three layers of fabric—a water-resistant outer layer, a middle layer that acts as a filter, and an inner layer of water-absorbent fabric.
The best news is that it only takes about five minutes to make. You also won't need to go out for supplies, as this face mask tutorial also only uses items that you probably already have in your home. We've included potential substitutions at the end of the article as well, just in case you don't have of the suggested items.
Equipment / Tools
- Scissors (optional)
- 1 Bandana, scarf, or handkerchief
- 2 Rubber bands
You'll need just a few items to make your no-sew face mask. The bandana, scarf, or handkerchief needs to be at least 20 inches by 20 inches so it's large enough to cover your nose and mouth.
Prepare Your Fabric
Pick out the bandana, t-shirt, or other fabric you'd like to use. Lay your fabric out flat on the table, with the patterned side facing down towards the table and the back side facing up towards you.
Make the First and Second Folds
Take the top edge of the fabric and fold it down so it reaches the center of the bandana. Do the same with the bottom half and fold the fabric up so it reaches the center of the bandana, meeting the top edge that you folded down.
Repeat the Folds
Complete two more folds by folding the top down to the middle and the bottom up to the middle. This will create some pleats that will allow the mask to better fit your face.
Fold the Ends of the Fabric
Fold the right and left sides of your fabric rectangle towards the center. You'll now have a smaller rectangle of folded fabric and you'll be able to place a rubber band on each side.
Slide on the Rubber Bands
Take a rubber band and slip it over one end of the folded fabric, leaving a few inches on the end. Repeat with the other rubber band on the other side of the folded fabric.
If you'd like you can tuck one of these folds inside of the other to further secure the fabric, but this isn't necessary.
Finish Your No-Sew Face Mask
The side that's facing you will be the inside of the mask. It's now ready to use!
To wear, bring the mask to your mouth and put the rubber bands around your ears to hold it secure. The mask should cover both your mouth and nose.
Alternatives to a Bandana, Scarf, or Handkerchief
If you don't have any of these items at can cut up an old piece of clothing. Cotton fabric works jersey fabric from an old works in a pinch as well. You'll need to cut a fabric piece that's 20" x 20" to make this no-sew mask.
Alternatives to Rubber Bands
If you don't have rubber bands available, you have a few other options. If you have hair ties, they'll work great. Just make sure that they have plenty of stretch to them.
If you don't have rubber bands or hair ties, there are some other options. You can cut off a loop of fabric from a pair of pantyhose, tights, or leggings. If you have an old pair of socks, you can cut off part of the elastic cuff or the stretchiest part of the sock and use that. Almost any size you cut off will around 1/2" works great.
Just keep in mind that whatever you use to substitute for the hair ties needs to be like elastic since these bands will be the part that fits over your ears.
Caring for Your Mask
These masks are great because they're reusable and so easy to take care of. Simply remove the rubber bands and wash the fabric like you would a normal piece of clothing. It's recommended that you wash the fabric masks after each use. Repeat this tutorial to fold your mask so you can wear it again.
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Advice for the Public: When and How to Use Masks. World Health Organization, 8 June 2020
How to Wash a Cloth Face Covering. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 22 May 2020