8 Steps to Make a DIY Cloth Mask

Non-medical face masks are a popular accessory for those looking to reduce transmission during the pandemic. I try to avoid disposable products when possible mainly for the environmental impact, but I was also drawn to cloth face masks for their customizable fit and use of upcycled materials. A less critical, but still noteworthy element of DIY masks is the ability to have some fun with your colors and aesthetic — because let’s be honest, people are more likely to wear something they like! 


Our Makerspace team has been working hard behind the scenes training and learning all about the new equipment that will be coming to the new Stanley A. Milner Library Makerspace, including some big expansions to our textile tools. We're proud to host a set of basic Husqvarna Viking E20 sewing machines for small classes and workshop environments. For patrons who want to learn and create in our space on a drop-in basis, there will be a pair of Brother computerized machines for on the floor use.

After an introduction to the machine basics and safety, we participated in videoconference workshop sessions where we created our own DIY masks using materials from around the house! We followed some simplified plans that were adapted from an excellent resource on CraftPassion

Before sewing, make sure to choose an ideal fabric for a DIY mask. Look for something with a balance of breathability and filtration. Good choices around the house would be an old T-shirt or pillowcase. They can be upgraded with a non-woven polypropylene liner (found in many re-usable bags). Ear loops can be made with elastic cord or, as shown in this example, an old shoe or hoodie string for straps that eliminate tugging on the ears.

Here are 8 easy steps to make your own cloth mask:

1. Cut patterns from template

2. Sew halves along front edge

3. Insert liner in outer layer

4. Sew along the top and bottom edges

5. Flip inside out and stitch the top/bottom

6. Fold ends closed for strap

7. Insert strap as shown

8. Enjoy your new cloth mask and don’t be afraid to get creative

Try adding filter pockets, nose wires and fun designs or color combinations!