How to Make Cloth Face Coverings

CDC on Homemade Cloth Face Coverings

  • Who should NOT use cloth face coverings: children under age 2, or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • Cloth face coverings are NOT surgical masks or N95 respirators. Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.

CDC recommends that you wear cloth face coverings in public settings when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

Cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings.

Simple cloth face coverings can be made at home and may help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Sew and No Sew Instructions

Sewn Cloth Face Covering

Supplies needed to create a cloth face covering are displayed.

Materials

  • 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)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine

Tutorial

1. Cut out two 10-by-6-inch rectangles of cotton fabric. Use tightly woven cotton, such as quilting fabric or cotton sheets. T-shirt fabric will work in a pinch. Stack the two rectangles; you will sew the mask as if it was a single piece of fabric.

A close up of the two rectangular pieces of cloth needed to make a cloth face covering is shown. These pieces of cloth have been cut using a pair of scissors. Each piece of cloth measures ten inches in width and six inches in length.

2. Fold over the long sides ¼ inch and hem. Then fold the double layer of fabric over ½ inch along the short sides and stitch down.

The top diagram shows the two rectangle cloth pieces stacked on top of each other, aligning on all sides. The rectangle, lying flat, is positioned so that the two ten inch sides are the top and the bottom of the rectangle, while the two six inch sides are the left and right side of the rectangle. The top diagram shows the two long edges of the cloth rectangle are folded over and stitched into place to create a one-fourth inch hem along the entire width of the top and bottom of the rectangle. The bottom diagram shows the two short edges of the cloth rectangle are folded over and stitched into place to create a one-half inch hem along the entire length of the right and left sides of the face covering.

3. Run a 6-inch length of 1/8-inch wide elastic through the wider hem on each side of the mask. These will be the ear loops. Use a large needle or a bobby pin to thread it through. Tie the ends tight.
Don’t have elastic? Use hair ties or elastic head bands. If you only have string, you can make the ties longer and tie the mask behind your head.

Two six inch pieces of elastic or string are threaded through the open hems on the left and right side of the rectangle, then tied together.

4. 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.

a completed face covering, with knots of the elastic strings tucked inside the left and right hems of the mask and no longer visible.

Non-sewn Face Covering

Materials

  • Bandana, old t-shirt, or square cotton cloth (cut approximately 20”x20”)
  • Rubber bands (or hair ties)
  • Scissors (if you are cutting your own cloth)

Tutorial

A single bandana is shown lying flat, with the curved edge at the top. Cut bandana in half with a horizontal line.

The square bandana is shown lying flat. The bandana is then folded in half, bringing the top edge of the bandana to meet the bottom edge of the bandana.

The top half of the bandana, with the curved edge at the top, is placed in the center of the folded bandana. Then, fold filter in center of folded bandana. Fold top down. Fold bottom up, to cover the filter entirely.

Insert the folded bandana, with the filter inside, through the center of two rubber bands or hair ties. Place rubber bands or hair ties about 6 inches apart.

Take the left side and the right side of the bandana and fold each side to the middle and tuck the sides into each other.

The bandana should now be a continuous, cloth loop since the left and right sides have been tucked into each other.

Make sure your cloth face covering:

  • fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • completely covers the nose and mouth
  • is secured with ties or ear loops
  • includes multiple layers of fabric
  • allows for breathing without restriction
  • can be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

See more about how to wear and wash your cloth face covering.

How to Make Your Own Face Covering