New DIY Project: Face Masks

Being that there have been many different changes to everyone's lifestyle recently, one of the major changes is that everyone should wear a cotton mask or homemade facial covering when leaving their home. The updated guideline coming from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasized that not only those who are sick or caring for sick people but anyone who is around others, besides immediate family, are urged to cover their face with a facial cloth covering to stop the spread of any disease from one person to another. This can occur in community-based transmission areas when social distancing is a bit more difficult to follow, and should not be done in place of quarantine, washing hands, social distancing, etc! However, since there have been shortages of facial masks in many places, many people have taken it upon themselves to make their own masks themselves. There have many ways posted online about how to make these masks with and without sewing machines. Here are a few easier tutorials of doing so:

With a Sewing Machine (from


  • 2 pieces of 100% cotton fabric that measure about 7 inches by 9 inches—cotton T-shirts, dish towels and pillowcases are good options (make sure all fabric is washed and dry)
  • 2 pieces of cotton fabric that measure about 1.5 inches by 40 inches for the mask’s strap (in a pinch, you can use something like shoelaces or ribbon)
  • A ruler, sewing pins, a pair of scissors, thread, an iron and a sewing machine


Step 1: Sew the two main rectangle pieces together with the “right” sides of the fabric facing each other, almost all the way around the rectangles and leaving a small gap (a few inches) open on the long side.

Step 2: Turn the rectangle right-side-out by reaching into the gap you left open and pulling the fabric through. At the gap you left open, just tuck the edges inside and sew it closed later.

Step 3: Make three evenly spaced pleats along both 7-inch sides of the fabric, making sure to keep all of the tucks facing in the same direction, and pin in place. One way to do this is by marking the spacing with pins: place one about 1.5 inches down the short side of the fabric; add the next 1 inch down from that, then the third ½ inch down from that, and keep alternating between 1 and ½ inches until you’ve used all six pins. To create the pleats, just bring the first pin down to meet the second, the third to meet the fourth, and the fifth to meet the sixth. Repeat on the other side.

Step 4: Once the pleats are pinned, stitch all the way around the perimeter of the rectangle. This will sew the pleats into place and also close the gap you had left open in Step 1.

Step 5: If using a strip of fabric for the strap, fold and iron it in half lengthwise and then fold and iron the raw edges in. Find the centers of the straps and the centers of the long sides of the mask, and match them. Pin the straps in place along the long edges of the mask, so there is a strap on the top of the mask and one on the bottom, with equally long pieces coming out to the sides. If using a strip of fabric, pin it so it’s wrapped around the edge of the rectangle.

Step 6: Sew the strap to the mask by stitching all the way down each strap, catching the edges of the mask. (If using a strap that did not require folding, opt instead to stitch around the perimeter of the rectangle one more time.)

Without a Sewing Machine

​​Using a Bandana (from

Step 1: Sread out a bandana or cut a 22"x 22" square of cotton fabric

Step 2: Fold the top and bottom in towards the center

Step 3: Place a twist tie, paper clip, or other metal piece close to the top (optional)

Step 4: Fold the top and bottom in towards the center

Step 5: Fold the sides in towards the center, placing the ties at the folded crease. If using rubber bands or hair ties, loop these around the fabric. If using shoelaces or string, place the center of the string in the folded crease and pull the straps tight

Step 6: Tuck one end of the fabric into the other

Step 7: Lift the mask to face and secure the straps. For hair ties and rubber bands, loop them over each ear. For shoelaces and string, tie them behind head

Step 8: Adjust as needed, making sure mouth and nose are completely covered

Using a T-Shirt (from

Step 1: Lay T-Shirt on a flat surface and cut a straight line across the shirt 8” from the bottom.

Step 2: Starting from the right seam on the bottom section of the shirt, cut a rectangle 7” wide x 6” tall. Leave 1” of fabric on the top and bottom.

Step 3: Cut both 1” pieces of fabric along the right seam so that they are tie strings.

Step 4: Tie the strings around your neck and over the top of your head to wear as a face cover.

Stay healthy, and stop the spread by doing your part in wearing a mask or facial covering when entering public spaces!