How to make your own face mask at home — even if you don’t know how to sew

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a cloth face covering while in public to help combat the spread of COVID-19, especially in settings like grocery stores and pharmacies where social distancing measures can be difficult to maintain.

Whether or not you know how to sew, you can make one using just a few materials — some of which you may already have at home. The CDC offers step-by-step instructions on how to make face coverings using a T-shirt, a bandana and one that requires stitching.

Simple cloth face coverings can help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus and help prevent people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others, according to the CDC.

They should not be placed on young children under age 2, nor anyone who has trouble breathing.

It’s also important to note that the recommended face coverings are not surgical masks nor N-95 respirators, which are critical supplies that must be reserved for health care workers.

Additionally, cloth face coverings should not be a substitute for social distancing and are an additional, voluntary public measure. The CDC says that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains critical to slowing the spread of the virus.

How to make a cloth face covering using a T-shirt (no sew method):


(Photo credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Materials you’ll need: 



First, measure about 7 to 8 inches from the bottom of a T-shirt and cut off the bottom section.

Next, measure 6 to 7 inches in from the edge of each side and cut out tie strings.

How to make a cloth face covering using a bandana (no sew method):


(Photo credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

First, fold the banana in half — then fold top down and fold the bottom up. 

Next, place rubber bands or hair ties about 6 inches apart. 

Last, fold each side to the middle and tuck the material inward. 

The CDC offers a video tutorial on how to do so here.

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How to make a sewn cloth face covering:


(Photo credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Materials you’ll need: 

-Two 10”x6” rectangles of cotton fabric
-Two 6” pieces of elastic (or rubber bands, string, cloth strips or hair ties)
-Needle and thread (or bobby pin)
-Sewing machine


First, cut out two 10-by-6-inch rectangles of cotton fabric. The CDC advises using tightly woven cotton, such as quilting fabric or cotton sheets. Stack the two rectangles on top of each other (you will sew the mask as if it was a single piece of fabric).

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Next, fold over the long sides 1/4 inch and hem. Then fold the double layer of fabric over 1/2 inch along the short sides and stitch down.

Afterward, run a 6-inch length of 1/8-inch wide elastic through the wider hem on each side of the mask to make the ear loops. The CDC advises using a large needle or a bobby pin to thread it through, then tie the ends tight.

If you don’t have elastic handy, you can also use hair ties or use string and tie the mask behind your head. 

Last, gently pull on the elastic so that the knots are tucked inside the hem. Gather the sides of the mask on the elastic and adjust so the mask fits your face. Then securely stitch the elastic in place to keep it from slipping.

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