How to Make Homemade Face Masks: DIY

Now that you’re -hopefully- in the right mindset, I’d love to share with you some tried and tested crafts and ideas that will undoubtedly come in handy. Learning how to make face masks, which we will get into right away, will not only be of use to you but may also save other people’s lives.

If you’re currently experiencing a pandemic in your country or simply want to protect yourself as best as you can from bacteria and airborne irritants, as well as those around you, 

Do Face Masks Work?

You may be wondering if face masks really do work and how. Let’s be honest here; a face mask is not the best way to protect yourself from a virus, germs or airborne irritants (there are certain other hygiene factors to take into account) but they can minimize the risk of bacteria and viruses getting into your respiratory system or spreading to others – in fact, the primary reason for covering your nose and mouth is to protect others. In the case of viruses such as COVID-19, face masks are not intended for protecting the wearer, but rather the passerby. If you have contracted the virus, the best way to protect those around you from getting it themselves is by wearing a face mask. Face masks also function as a reminder to not touch your face when outdoors.

But what kind of mask should you wear? And which materials are the best to use? The efficacy of a face mask depends on a) the fabric it is made of, and b) the way it is used.  

The best masks in terms of quality and effectiveness are N95 respirators. However, these are normally used by medical practitioners who tend to be in great need of them (these have been in short supply during the COVID-19 outbreak and anyone owning such masks have been advised to donate them to hospitals). Next in line are the usually blue-colored surgical masks, which are thinner than N95 respirators and less effective, but can still create a decent barrier between bacteria. Then we have the fabric variety, which range from homemade masks to…designer options!  

No matter what kind of face mask you opt for, it would be a waste if you did not know how to use it. Putting a mask on your face might be a no-brainer, but taking it off requires a specific procedure, by which you should touch no other part of the mask other than the elastics, then discard it in a hygienic way. Moreover, a face mask should, ideally, not be worn over a long period of time. A surgical mask, for instance, should be discarded in a concealed bin immediately. A reusable mask, on the other hand, should be washed thoroughly with detergent straight after use. 

Face Mask Tutorials

Wearing a face mask may be a necessity if you are dealing with a pandemic, are in quarantine or want to keep your respiratory system safe from irritants such as allergens and pollution. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the USA’s CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) recommended that citizens wear a face mask if venturing outside the house.

The following face mask tutorials might come in handy if you have no other face masks at home or means of purchasing some:

Face Mask #1: The Kitchen Towel Mask

Don’t be discouraged by the title. This is the simplest face mask to make as all materials can be found in your kitchen. Yes, it is made of paper. No, paper is not the best shield against viruses and bacteria. But it is a great option if you are on a budget and plan to use it for a few minutes (do not rely on it for heavy-duty protection, though, or if you are asthmatic or have a compromised immune system).

Materials you will need:

  • 1 or more pieces of kitchen towel paper, depending on their thickness
  • 2 elastic bands
  • staples

How to make it:

  1. Take the kitchen towel paper pieces and stack them together.
  2. Fold the pieces horizontally into a fan-like design.
  3. Take the ends of the paper fan you just created and loop an elastic band on each side. If you hold the paper up, the bands should hang over the sides. 
  4. Fold the sides over the elastic bands. 
  5. Staple the side-folds to keep the bands in place. Your face mask is ready for use!

Face Mask #2: The CDC-Approved Cloth Face Mask

We’ve all got old clothes, cloths, bandanas and fabric lying around the house. The CDC suggests to make use of such fabric (particularly that which is 100% cotton) and turn it into a nifty face mask! 

Materials you will need:

  • Cotton material (t-shirt, cloth, bandana, scarf, etc). The fabric should be big enough to cover your nose and mouth.
  •  2 elastic bands or hair ties

How to make it:

  1. Lay the material out in front of you and fold the top and bottom sides of it to the middle of the piece.
  2. Repeat step 1 if the fabric is rather large.
  3. Loop an elastic band or hair tie around the left and right ends of the fabric.
  4. Fold the fabric sides over the bands, with each side meeting in the middle (this provides an additional layer to the mask.
  5. Your mask is ready! Simply place a band over each ear to hold the material in place. 

Face Mask #3: The Bandana and Coffee Filter Face Mask

If you have an old bandana lying around the house, make use of it by revamping it onto a protective face mask! This tutorial features an additional layer in the form of a…coffee filter for extra safety and hygiene.

Materials you will need:

  • a bandana (or another square-shaped cotton fabric)
  • 1 cone coffee filter
  • 2 elastic bands or hair ties

How to make it:

  1. Fold the bandana square in half.
  2. Cut the coffee filter horizontally across the middle and place it in the center of the folder bandana.
  3. Fold the bottom part of the bandana to the middle, and do the same with the top part.
  4. Loop the elastic bands or hair ties around each extending end.
  5. Fold the sides of the bandana so that they meet in the middle of the fabric.
  6. Loop a band over each ear but make sure the mask is snug enough against your face so that the bands or fabric do not fall out of place. You’re face mask is good to go!

Optional: Turn your bandana mask into an Aromatherapeutic face mask by adding one drop of eucalyptus, peppermint or lavender essential oil to the coffee filter you will be inserting into the fabric. The addition of essential oils is great for those suffering from a cold, virus or other respiratory conditions.

Face Mask #4: The DIY Sewn Face Mask

If you’re up for a project that requires a certain degree of craftsmanship and have a sewing machine, then a sewn face mask will be a pleasant, fuss-free project.

Materials you will need:

  • 2 10-inch x 6-inch pieces of cotton fabric (alternatively, you can cut out an old t-shirt)
  • 2 6-inch pieces of elastic bands (or hair ties)
  • a sewing machine
  • [optional] DIY enthusiasts should consider getting the best cricut machines for beginners as you can make just about anything with them.
  • needle
  • thread

How to make it:

  1. Put the two pieces of fabric together, one on top of the other.
  2. Fold the longer sides down and sew along that edge.
  3. Fold the shorter sides over and sew along that edge, too. Make sure you leave a small opening for the elastic band to loop into.
  4. Thread the elastic band through the opening and sew the ends together.
  5. Stich the elastic bands into place on both sides. Your mask is ready to wear!


Homemade DIY face masks can provide some protection against bacteria, viruses, allergens and pollutants. However, they must not be considered as a cure or absolute treatment option. If you are suffering from any kind of physical symptoms, you must consult a health advisor.