How to Make a No-Sew Face Mask 1
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How to Make a No-Sew Face Mask

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As I’m sure you probably know, the CDC is now requesting that we wear cloth face coverings when we have to go out in public.

Some of you know how to sew and have undoubtedly already made face masks for yourselves, your family, and organizations that have expressed a need for them.

But for those of you who don’t sew, there’s another option. And the best thing about this no-sew face mask is that it uses items you probably already have laying around your home (no need to make an extra trip when we should all be staying home)!

Here’s how to make an easy DIY cloth face mask in less than 5 minutes (No sewing required).

Step 1: Gather your materials.

You’ll need a piece of square fabric and two hair ties or rubber bands.

I used a vintage cloth napkin, but you could also use a handkerchief or any other similarly-sized square of (preferably cotton) fabric.

If you don’t have any hair ties or elastic, just cut some of the elastic from the top of an old sock!

cloth napkin and two hair ties for diy face mask
I’m out of fun captions today, folks. :/

Step 2: Fold the top and bottom of your fabric square to the center.

step 2 folding diy fabric face mask
Keep the patterned exterior face down like you see here as that’ll be the outside of your mask.

Step 3: Flip it over.

step 3 flip over folded fabric for diy face mask
This will end up being the front of your mask.

Step 4: Fold the top and bottom towards the center (much like Step 2!)

step 4 folding diy face mask
See?

Step 5: Flip it over again!

step 5 flip it over diy face mask
Almost done, folks!

Step 6: Thread the ends of your fabric square through the hair ties/elastic

threading hair ties through cloth napkin for diy face mask
Just like this.

Step 7: Fold the sides inward, and tuck them into each other.

This would also be when you’d add a filter if you have one.

step 7 folding diy face mask
That’s the final step!

And that’s it! When you flip it over, you’ll see you have your very own pleated face mask!

completed No-Sew Face Mask
Hopefully in a cheery pattern for these dark times.

You can see how the pleating allows it to fit snugly across your face.

DIY No-Sew Pleated Face Mask
From the front!
DIY No-Sew Pleated Face Mask side view
From the side!

PLEASE keep in mind that none of these fabric masks are medical grade and please don’t think you’re safe because you’re wearing one. Everything I’ve read or heard in the news says these are “better than nothing” to hopefully keep our own particles from spreading somewhat.

This was a really hard post for me to write. I never thought I’d be sharing a tutorial like this and it feels surreal as I’m writing it. Please share this tutorial with anyone you think might find it useful.

I hope you’re all staying safe at home as much as possible, and that you’re keeping busy with creative projects and refashions you’ll get to enjoy when this is all over.

Much love to you, friends.

Yield: 1 Face Mask

How to Make a No-Sew Face Mask

DIY No-Sew Pleated Face Mask side view

Make a no-sew face mask using items you probably already have laying around your home (no need to make an extra trip when we should all be staying home)!

Prep Time 2 minutes
Active Time 2 minutes
Total Time 4 minutes
Difficulty Easy

Materials

  • 1 Cloth Napkin, Bandana, or Similarly-Sized Fabric Square
  • 2 Hair Ties (Stretched-out ones will be more comfortable)

Instructions

  1. Gather your Materials.
  2. Fold the top and bottom of your fabric square to the center.
  3. Flip it over.
  4. Fold the top and bottom towards the center (much like Step 2!).
  5. Flip it over again!
  6. Thread the ends of your fabric square through the hair ties/elastic.
  7. Fold the sides inward, and tuck them into each other.
Easy DIY No Sew Face Mask

39 Comments

  • annie

    These are certainly easy! Slight drawbacks for me…by the time you do all the folds, there are 8 layers of fabric, and the elastic won’t stay behind my ears! I’ve tried different sizes
    but am going to hand stitch ribbon ties on.

  • Marzee myers

    I did that too until I heard that vacuum bags are made with glass which may get in your lungs…now I use coffee filters.

  • Annie

    On the CDC website, they showed a similar no-sew method with the addition of a piece of paper coffee filter in the middle layer. I didn’t have filters, so I used a paper towel. Take care, everyone!

  • Nancy Findley

    Thank you so much for the great idea!! Your blog puts many a smiles on my face. I have been sewing for many years and am amazed at all the great ideas that you come up with. It will bring thrift store shopping to another level since I am retired now and looking for lots of DIY projects.

  • Jill Steinberg

    I love this idea!! I made one from a hair buff!! I am such a germaphobe that I added a folded paper towel to the inside to keep any nasty germ out.

  • Jes

    Thank you for taking the time to create your blog. Ive been seeking both asylum and inspiration within it’s pages in the wee hours when my family sleeps. Flipping through these pages of refashions gave me some confidence in sewing again, I even made a nurse friend if mine a surgical scrub cap the other day! Stay healthy!

  • jenny_o

    This is an excellent, easy-to-understand, and much needed how-to for those who don’t sew. Thank you so much for posting it.

  • Melanie Miles

    Much love to you too. Thank you for posting this despite how you may be feeling – if just one mask stops one person passing the virus on, then what a difference you’ve made.

  • Elise

    Thank you for posting this!!! Much appreciated
    I read that you can insert a coffee filter in these for extra protection.

  • Ann Refford

    As luck would have it, I have a bunch of 12×12 fabric/ upholstery samples I had forever that were in the donation pile; never got around to repurposing them. Just opened your email, grabbed one, found some small drawstring in the junk drawer, and voila! Just made one for my hubby (who found the samples and mentioned I could see some masks out of the about an hour before your email Repurposing at it’s best! Thank you so much, stay safe ☺
    I’d post a photo of I could figure out how to do it in the comments

  • pinksnoopydancer

    Thanks for posting this link. I just watched it. This really is a level headed 1st hand explanation from someone who is not out for sensationalizing the situation. Love it! Thanks again.

  • Elizabeth Aulsebrook

    Your good cheer, fortitude and resolve are an especially welcome part of everyonesʻ day during this disaster. Thank you.

  • Carol

    Jillian. Thank you for this handy post. I am sewing masks right now for the truckers. It will have a HEPA filter in it too, supplied by the owner. My pattern was one from someone’s blog.
    Love having you back!

  • redbam

    Love the no sew masks. I whipped a few of my own this weekend on my sewing machine and mailed them out to family and friends. It felt great to be doing something special for others. Thanks for sharing and be safe.

  • pinksnoopydancer

    I made one yesterday! The Palm Sunday COVID19 Mask. This was really in jest for FB, not intended to be used. I didnt do the pleat in the front because I wanted the palm and writing to show. Sadly, today is a new situation, so I will have to redo mine. I have tons of scarves, but an not venturing out though. But I will make a new mask everyday! Stay healthy!

  • Murielle

    Love hearing from you! Seriously, the posts you’re making are helping all of us to get through this tough time. Bless you!

  • Holly

    Thank you for the great photos!! I had seen a print out copy but no photos – this makes is SO much easier to understand what I’m doing! Really Appreciate that you took the time to do this.

  • debstarrett

    I love your blogs. They are very inspiring. The mask is great! I’m home, not by choice (my job is still working). I broke my ankle on Feb. 9th so even though I’m stuck at home I can’t even sew. We just moved to our new home Jan. 14th and my sewing room is still packed up. Reading your blogs have kept me entertained and I look forward to trying some refashions myself. Stay safe and sew on!

  • carol

    Absolutely love it! I’m working in a school with essential workers children and this is something we could make with them. No sew is great.Thanks

  • Jen in Ottawa

    Choosing a vintage Vera scarf to make this with was really fabulous! It looks totally 70’s chic (even though it’s for a terrible reason). We can be chic and safe at the same time I really appreciate you sharing this!

  • Jennifer Andersen

    Thanks for posting! You are one of the highlights of this crisis! I look forward to reading your posts and they make me smile. Stay safe. Better times are ahead.

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