Homemade Face Mask Ideas

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April 6, 2020

An illustration of many different people wearing face masks.The CDC has finally recommended that people wear a fabric mask when out in public. Fabric being the key here, as they really don't want everyone hoarding medical masks when people in the medical field need these the most and our country is currently in short supply.


If you happen to have a supply of N-95 respirators or surgical masks that are in an unopened package, please consider donating these to people working in the frontlines and making a fabric mask for yourself.

It has been reported that as many as 25% of people with COVID-19 might be asymptomatic. This is why it is important to wear a mask. Wearing a mask helps stop the spread of the disease by containing respiratory droplets released by people who might be sick. Wearing a mask also helps people remember to not touch their face.

There are thousands of tutorials online of making masks from bras, paper towels, tea towels, and even vacuum bags. It can be hard to wade through them all to find one that is best.

There haven't been studies on which mask design works best and so experts are not willing to recommend one mask pattern. There are a few things you should look for in a mask that I have listed below.


Good Facemask Design

  1. The mask should fit well. It should reach above the bridge of the nose and down below your chin.

  2. It should be snug with no places where air can get out.

  3. A wire piece in the top of the mask helps remove the air gaps around the nose.

  4. Three layers of woven cotton or a pattern with a pocket for a filter helps add protection.

  5. Non-woven material such as shop towels, coffee filters, and vacuum bags have been shown to decrease the likelihood of droplets getting through compared to woven fabric. However, caution should be used with vacuum bags as they may contain fiberglass.

  6. It should be easy to breath. You shouldn't be getting lightheaded or wanting to remove the mask in order to breath better.

  7. If the mask is to be reused It is very important to clean them after each use and to hang them in the sun, if possible. There have been some studies where medical staff used fabric masks and they found that cotton can be a breeding ground for bacteria because of the way that it retains moisture. So please make sure you clean them often. If you are planning on making masks for your family it would be best for each person to have a few so that some can be in the wash.

Proper Mask Wearing Tips

Before putting on your mask, wash your hands. Once the mask is on do not pull it off and on. There might be a likelihood of contracting the virus by touching the outside of the mask then touching your face. Wash your hands after removing the mask and putting it in the wash.

Good Mask Patterns

With these things in mind here are a few masks that I found online that I think meet this criteria.

  • Suay Mask Pattern:

    Suay has done a lot of work trying to make the best medical mask alternative. They have even tested the filtration abilities of their mask made with different materials. This mask is a bit more difficult, novice sewers beware.

  • Pleated Fabric Mask with a Pocket for a Filter: sewn face masks.
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    No-Sew Mask Made From Shop Towels:

    Shop towels are made from non woven polyester which have shown to have the better filtration capabilities than woven fabrics such cotton which is highly breathable. It has been suggested that you could even use one of these towels as an insert to a cotton mask. Here is one video I found that uses these towels to make a no-sew mask.
  • Fu Face Mask

    I like this design because it forms to the face well. sewn face masks


Alternative Mask Ideas

When you can't make a mask, there are a few things you can do that may be helpful and better than nothing.
  • Folded Bandana Mask Attosa shared a way to fold a bandana mask here.

  • Scarf: You can wear a scarf around your face.Scarf being used as a face mask.


  • Neck Gator:You can use a Neck Gator: Neck Gator on Amazon (Affiliate Link)A neck gator being used as a face mask.

  • Bandana: You can tie a bandana around your head like an outlaw. A bandana being used as a face mask.

  • T-shirt: The CDC shared a way to cut a t-shirt to make a quick mask here.

What mask designs have you liked? Share them below.

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July 9, 2020

Have you and your friends save the metal closures from coffee bags. I use them for my masks. Works wonders when wearing glasses.

A homemade mask with a flexible nose bridge.

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September 15, 2020

This easy to make mask is a great option for children. It is easy to put on and fits their face snuggly without gapping.

Non Pleated Child's Mask - child wearing the purple floral mask

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May 6, 2020

As more of us are looking to make our own fabric masks to wear in public to help prevent the spread of the COVID19 virus, there are a couple of typical types. This page contains a tutorial for making the non-pleated style with a pocket for adding a filter such as a folded coffee filter.

Non-Pleated Face Mask - child's mask from the side

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May 6, 2020

You don't need to know how to sew to make a face mask to help prevent the spread of the COVID19 virus. This page contains some examples of no-sew masks.

Washable No-Sew Mask - woman wearing the mask

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May 6, 2020

If you can use a sewing machine then this pleated fabric mask may be your next project. This mask style and tutorial was found on the Kaiser Permanente website and recreated for the associated project.

Fabric Face Mask - ready to go for a walk

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May 7, 2020

The folding is the key to creating this no-sew fabric mask. The steps are fully explained and illustrated below.

Nine Layer No Sew Face Mask

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May 6, 2020

The tutorial on this page will show you how to make a disposable mask using paper products you may already have. Social distancing continues to be highly recommended by medical experts even when wearing any type of paper or fabric mask.

Homemade Paper Mask - man modeling the mask

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