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9 Ways to Make Your Own Face Mask Even If You Can’t Sew

Woman wearing a cloth mask while shopping in a store.

Just because you can’t sew doesn’t mean you can’t make a DIY cloth mask at home to protect yourself from coronavirus exposure. Here are nine great tutorial videos—no sewing machine required!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently recommended that everyone now wear a mask in public. Some states, like New York, have also issued executive orders that require everyone to wear a face mask when outside their homes and social distancing isn’t possible.

Since the start of the outbreak, it’s been a little difficult to purchase a mask for personal use. Many shops are sold out of them or making them in real-time to meet the demand. This means shipments could be delayed for a few weeks.

So, what are you supposed to do if you’re waiting for a mask to arrive, or you simply can’t afford one right now? You can easily make your own at home using items you probably already have lying around. And no, you don’t have to know how to sew to make your own face mask. It’s easier than you think!

While you check out the tutorials below on how to make your own cloth face mask, keep a few things in mind. First, homemade masks don’t offer the same protection as more advanced masks with melt-blown fibers or filter cartridges.

Second, wearing a mask is not a replacement for abiding by social distancing rules. Finally, whether you purchase a cloth mask from a store or make one yourself, you still need to remove it carefully and wash it. Of course, you’ll also need to wash your hands after you remove your mask at home.

T-Shirt Sleeve Tutorial

This super simple tutorial requires a T-shirt (just grab that old cotton one you used to sleep in) and a pair of scissors—and that’s it! You cut off the sleeves, which is actually nice because you can still wear it as a tank. Then, just snip a few holes to create space for the “elastic” part.

This should only take about five minutes, it doesn’t require a lot of effort, and the resulting mask is comfortable. Just be sure to use cotton since it’s a more breathable material, and you want to be able to, you know, breathe.

Bandana and Rubber Bands Tutorial

If you have a spare bandana lying around, you can fashion it into a very cool-looking face mask. Add two hair ties, and you’ve got an adjustable, comfortable face mask that will keep you a little safer. You can also use rubber bands if you don’t have hair ties.

The bandana mask is a bit bulkier than others, but it gets the job done, which is all that matters.

Fabric No Sew or Stitch Tutorial

This tutorial is a little more in-depth. Your mask will have multiple layers to really keep you protected, and a filter pocket so you can breathe comfortably. This doesn’t require sewing or stitching, just a lot of folding, cutting, measuring, and ironing.

You can use any type of fabric for this tutorial, whether it’s something from an old craft project or, again, an old T-shirt. Cotton is a great choice because it’s breathable and captures particles.

60 Second Tutorial


This tutorial is supposed to be super-fast and promises to help you make a mask in 60 seconds. You can use a bandana, a light scarf, a small bandeau top . . . basically any old fabric you have lying around.

The only thing you have to do here is some folding, with the addition of hair ties or rubber bands. As the YouTuber notes, it’s not that comfortable to breathe in, but it’s okay to wear for a short time.

Old T-Shirt Tutorial


This is another old T-shirt tutorial, except you use more of the shirt than just the sleeves. This one also features multiple layers, which is what the CDC recommends. You also use the T-shirt fabric to make straps.

Using Coffee Filters

Don’t have any fabric lying around? Don’t worry! You can still make an effective face mask. This tutorial uses coffee filters instead of a T-shirt or bandana, which is kind of genius. You’ll also need rubber bands, a hole punch, and an eye mask if you prefer to add one.

While coffee filters make great makeshift masks, they also have their drawbacks. You can’t throw them in the washing machine, so you really shouldn’t reuse them. The material might also feel a bit abrasive.

Sock Tutorial

You know that old sock you never wear because you lost the other one in the endless pit that is dirty laundry? Grab it, and use it to make a quick, easy, no-sew face mask. You don’t even need rubber bands to use as straps.

Cotton Pillowcase Tutorial

If you have an old cotton pillowcase you never use, you can easily fold it up and turn it into a face mask. They’re a little bulky, but they work well, and you can make them really fast.

This video also gives another tutorial on how to make a face mask with a coffee filter that’s a little different from the one above.

Paper Towel Tutorial

Another simple face mask you can make in a pinch is made of a paper towel. Like the coffee filters, this one obviously can’t be washed, so it’s only meant to be a temporary, disposable option. While this is great for a last-minute option, it’s definitely not going to be as comfortable as a cotton mask.

Bonus: How to Make Masks More Comfortable

Wearing a mask for longer than a few minutes can be a little uncomfortable. This video gives you a few tips on how to make it fit better. A headband prevents sore ears and adding a coffee filter between fabrics gives you a safe mask that won’t feel scratchy against your skin.

While they don’t offer the same protection as a custom-fitted N95 mask, of course, these DIY options are definitely better than wearing nothing at all. Plus, they all require very little effort to make.

Jessica Booth Jessica Booth
Jessica Booth is a freelance writer for LifeSavvy. She has been working in the editorial world as a freelance writer for over two years and previously worked as an editor for over eight years.  Jessica writes about travel, beauty, wellness, health, food, home decor, and parenting, and has reviewed and tested out products for all of those verticals over the course of her career. Read Full Bio »
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