DIY fabric face mask using materials you have at home
Hi Creative Mamas, teachers, aunties, grandmas. I am doing my bit as a creative soul to try and help in these tricky times that we are in. My children are becoming increasingly anxious and worried about the Covid 19 virus and the impact that is having in their lives, their school routines, their sports and our family and social life.
Here in New Zealand we are being advised to use face masks but of course there is a shortage of them. On the other hand my daughter finds face masks particularly scary and refuses to wear them. In this tutorial I will show you step by step how to make a fabric face mask that won’t be scary for your kids and that is super easy to make.
How to make a fabric face mask tutorial
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So I have been experimenting with making my own fabric masks for my kids in fabrics that are fun and also not scary to them. I have tried different patterns and have ended up with one that I am happy with. I have also come up with a color coded system for different days of the week 🙂
Armed with a sewing machine and materials that I have at home I was able to protect my family and provide lots of masks for people that needed them.
What is the best fabric to make face masks?
The best fabric to use for the face mask is 100 % cotton. Either 100% cotton from a pillowcase, or 100 % cotton t shirt fabric or 100 % cotton shirt fabric. Check out this study which explores the best materials for making DIY masks.
How can you be sure what is the fabric composition of your fabric?
If you are using a garment or a pillowcase the fabric composition label will tell you exactly what the fabric is. Make sure it says 100 % cotton. If you are using a bought fabric you must do a test to find out if the fabric is 100 % natural cotton.
Since this post has been super popular I have added sewing tips and tricks from real star sewists who have made their own masks. Check it out below the tutorial.
Materials & Equipment:
- Fabric ( I have chosen a 100% cotton floral fabric for my daughter from my sewing stash) Make sure you wash the fabric before making the mask.
- Ribbon (cotton is best)
- Elastic (option instead of ribbon)
- Free face mask pattern ( (available in my FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY— get the password for free by filling out the form below)
- Aluminium strip nose wire (optional)
Great new option: elastic and aluminium strip bundle!
Note: If you don’t have a sewing machine you can also make this mask by hand using a back stitch. Check out this post for a demo video of hand sewing stitches including the backstitch.
Download the free face mask pattern. Choose the size. For kids I suggest you stick to Small. Cut around the pattern piece. Place it on top of your fabric and cut around. You need to cut four pieces in total. Remember to add seam allowances when you cut your fabric.
Place your four pieces on the table. Pin the curved seam which is center of the mask by placing the good sides together and sewing them in place. Repeat with the second pair.
Iron the center seam. This will create a nice finish to the mask.
Now we will sew the inner (lining) fabric to the outer (main) fabric, and attach the ribbons.
Place the ribbons on the four corners, pin and sew. You can use elastic instead of ribbon but the process remains the same. Make sure you measure the elastic so that it fits comfortably around your ears.
Place the two masks right sides together and making sure than the ribbons are sandwiched inside as shown in the illustration. Pin and sew all around the mask leaving a 6 cm gap in the lower side of the mask so that the ribbons are able to peak out.
You can now insert the aluminium wire
Turn the mask inside out 🙂 as shown in the illustration.
Now it’s time to close the side of our mask that we left open to turn it inside out. We will do this by edge-stitching around the entire mask. To do this, make sure the open side is folded neatly inside, then edge-stitch around the entire mask.
Before you sew around the mask you can now insert the aluminium wire making sure that the middle of the wire matches the middle of the mask. Sew around the mask with an edge stitch but when you get to the wire part simple sew around the wire. The idea is to secure it in place by sewing right to the edge of it.
A beautiful face mask that will not be scary or intimidating and can even be cute and playful 🙂 You can make a bunch for lots of kids in different fabrics and you can even add some bows or flowers as an xtra playful detail. I really hope this post helps lots of moms out there! Please reach out to me in case you need further assistance in making these masks.
You can also make the mask a bit more personal by embroidering on it. Check out this guide to embroidery stitches.
Do you need a more fitted mask to wear with glasses?
Check out this step by step tutorial that will show you how to make a fitted face mask to wera with glasses and avoid the glasses get fogging up.
For more fabric face masks, free patterns & templates check out these tutorials:
How to use a fabric face mask?
There are a few things to consider in terms of using a fabric face mask. Here are a few suggestions:
- Make enough fabric masks for everyone in your family.
- Color code them so that the kids know to use a different color every day while the other ones are being washed. this will avoid re using an used mask.
- Make sure that you wear a clean fresh mask every time you go out. When you return wash the fabric mask immediately with hot water and soap. Then wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- If you have kids get them to place their used fabric masks inside a plastic bag and get them to wash their hands immediately. Take the masks to your laundry area and wash them straight away as well.
- When removing the mask be sure to untie the bottom ribbons first, so that the masks doesn’t fall on your chest.
Where to keep the face masks?
the fabric face masks are best kept in a dry drawer. However, I like to keep the weekly stash ready to go on my dresser so that I know that one mask is always ready to go whenever is needed. In my daughter’s room I have started using her hair clip holder to hang the masks from the ribbons. Check it out here. It’s a super fun tutorial!
Making color coded fabric masks for every day of the week
We made four masks for four outings so that we never get confused with wearing a used unwashed mask!
Sewing tips and tricks from real sewing experts!
Check out how these star creative mamas have made a difference to the people around them by sewing fabric face mask for them!
Susan and her daughter
“I have made about 30 masks using your pattern. Most have gone to a friend who coordinates volunteer workers and drivers at a local community shop. They wanted to pay me for them but I persuaded them to donate to another friend’s ‘ gofundme’ site – ‘making for mental health’ the Samaritans. ( I feel it’s important to provide support for the mental anguish that some people have experienced due to the covid lockdown )
SEWING TIP: I have ‘hacked’ the pattern a bit as I made elastic loops to fit around the ears and I covered them with matching fabric. I’m sending pics of my daughter and I wearing them. Loving the blog, Sue”
“I started making masks when carers I know were desperate. I also make for anyone for a small donation of £3.50. All of my masks are 3 layers (2 cotton and 1 inter) they also have the metal strip to give better fit across the nose. I am trying to use funky fabric that make them fun. Eg I live surrounded by farms (and my father sales tractors for a living) so the plad masks were inspired by him and his customers who love a bit of tweed!!
SEWING TIP: My son is wearing the fitted style with elastic rather than the suggested ribbon. I am modeling my peter rabbit pleated (self drafted) one. Regards, Sam
“First of all….Thank you for your easy DIY face masks. I started making the face masks for my family, then my 5 siblings asked for some and then eventually my I started making masks for local small businesses and organizations. I currently am working on making masks for the local Farmers Market vendors. Every Saturday I stop by and purchase from them and give them 10 masks per vendor. It’s my little help to make sure that they continue their business. At first I had trouble finding materials to use because of the mass amount of people making masks. Then Joanns started the curbside services which was wonderful because i just ordered and picked up the material.
SEWING TIP: I cut out the pattern on a piece of cardboard so it was easier to trace and cut. I make 3 sizes…Kids, Youths and Regular Adults. Thanks again! Ana”
” Hi Victoria, thank you for the simple and straightforward tutorial.
SEWING TIP: I made the masks for my girls and used old pj material to make them extra soft. Best wishes , Sophie (from the UK)”
“SEWING TIP: I would have added a “twist tie” inside the hem area by the nose to bend it to shape but I did not think of it beforehand. Great pattern!”
Do you have lots of fabric scraps from sewing face masks? Check out these really cool fun sewing projects that are all made with fabric scraps!