Skip to main content

Washable and Reusable DIY Face Mask Tutorials

Sam enjoys crocheting, sculpting, DIY crafts, reading, writing, and traveling with her family.

My DIY face mask with air filter made from an upcycled shirt that had been ripped.

My DIY face mask with air filter made from an upcycled shirt that had been ripped.

Face masks have become essential items during the COVID-19 pandemic. Medical professionals use face masks to prevent catching the virus, while the public has been asked to wear masks to prevent the spread.

A huge factor in effectiveness of a face mask is dependent on whether or not the user wears the mask properly. Another determining factor is the material used to make the mask, and the fit of the mask over the nose, mouth, and chin.

Here I share resources I have found on the use of face masks, information on the best materials to use, several DIY patterns, and share my own experience creating masks for my family.

When to Use a Mask

Information & Guidelines on DIY Face Masks

Olson Mask with Filter Pocket

Olson Mask Pattern & Information

  • Olson Mask Pattern PDF
    Printable pattern and step-by-step information on how to construct Olson Mask
  • Sewing Olson Fabric Surgical Masks
    A new modular mask, The Olson, named after 1930's legendary maker nurse Lyla Mae Olson, was quickly developed by clinicians from UnityPoint Health and is being shared across the globe in the fight against COVID19.

Sewn DIY Face Mask with Air Filter Made from T-Shirt

My sons modeling their DIY face masks made from upcycled cotton shirts they have outgrown.

My sons modeling their DIY face masks made from upcycled cotton shirts they have outgrown.

I went with the Olson mask design for my family's face masks. The first one I made was for my husband, because he has been the one running errands for the rest of us. I followed the pattern almost exactly, but made some alterations based on the material I was using (cotton t-shirts) and what worked better for us:

  • The velcro straps were too cumbersome for us, so we just stitched the flaps closed.
  • I used the bottom of the shirt and sleeves for the filter pocket pieces to save time, since they were already nicely finished.
  • The elastic hurt my husband's ears, so instead I cut a strip from a t-shirt and stretched it to create a cord to tie the mask more comfortably (photo examples below).

Deaconess Hospital Simplified Face Mask Tutorial

Deaconess DIY Face Mask Resources

Simple Pleated Face Mask Tutorial

Additional Tutorials & Resources

How to Make Face Mask WITHOUT Elastic

Face Masks for Sale

As the pandemic pushes on, many companies are now offering affordable, reusable face masks. So I've decided to include a few that I personally like.

  • Mertailor Washable Face Mask
    Washable Face Mask manufactured by Mertailor Mermaid Tails to help with personal protection of your face from the sun, air pollution, dirty air, dust, etc. These masks come in mermaid and ocean inspired patterns .
  • GIR Reusable Face Mask
    These reusable silicone face masks must be worn with filters, but may be easily washed in the sink or dishwasher. You also have the option to buy in bulk or donate a kit with every kit you buy.

DIY No Sew Face Mask from a T-Shirt

Use & Care of Reusable Masks

  • Wear mask if you are coughing, sneezing, or have symptoms of illness.
  • Wash/sanitize your hands before putting on a mask.
  • Make sure mask covers your nose and mouth and that there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
  • Wash/sanitize your hands if you touch the mask while wearing it.
  • Replace mask as soon as it is damp. Do not reuse until it has been washed and dried on hot settings. Discard after first use if it is not reusable.
  • If using a filter with your mask, discard filter after every use and replace with a clean filter.
  • Remove mask from behind. Do not touch front of the mask. Wash hands immediately after removal.
  • Keep clean masks and used masks in separate containers to avoid cross contamination.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.