How to make CDC-approved face masks at home

Face mask materials | Photo by the CHStoday team

While the city is slowly beginning to reopen, people are beginning to emerge from quarantine.

Now more than ever, it’s important that certain safety measures are taken when going out and about – including wearing masks, per the CDC’s recommendations

Right now, though, masks can be a little tricky to find in stores since they are in high demand. And, most of us don’t have handy dandy sewing machines around to craft our own.

Never fear – I’m here to show you how to make your own no-sew, CDC-approved masks at home, which involve only one-two materials a piece (which you can probably find around your home).

Option 1: T-shirt mask

Materials: T-shirt + scissors

Steps 1 + 2:

T-shirt masks steps 1 + 2 | Photo by the CHStoday team

Draw a 6-8 inch rectangle from one side of the shirt.
Measure 7-8 inches from the bottom of a t-shirt and cut straight across.

Steps 3 + 4:

T-shirt masks steps 3 + 4 | Photo by the CHStoday team

Cut the ends off of the two long strips so that you are left with four individual ones. Make sure you leave enough room to tie around your head.
You’re all done! To wear, cover your mouth and nose with the mask, and tie the top straps above your ears and the bottom straps below. 

Option 2: Bandana mask

Materials: Bandana + two rubber bands.

Steps 1 + 2:

Bandana mask steps 1 + 2 | Photo by the CHStoday team

Lay a bandana on a flat surface.
Fold it in half.

Step 3:

Bandana mask step 3 | Photo by the CHStoday team

Fold ⅓ of the top down, and ⅓ of the bottom up – like you’re folding a letter to stick in an envelope.

Steps 4 + 5:

Bandana mask steps 4 + 5 | Photo by the CHStoday team

Slide rubber bands on either side of the bandana. Pro tip: I used hair ties because they’re what I had lying around, but they are good if you don’t want rubber bands rubbing your skin.
Fold the two ends into each other, slipping one inside the other.

Final product:

Bandana mask | Photo by the CHStoday team

Now, all you have to do is slip the bands over your ears and you’re all set.


Want to help healthcare heroes + frontline workers in need of masks? Sew.Some.Good. is a community group that has partnered with Thrive Charleston Mask Task Force for people to come together to create homemade masks to donate.

If you are in need of masks, you can submit a request here.