How to make a face covering

You can easily make a face covering, also called handcrafted mask, with materials found in your home.

If possible, use a tightly woven fabric like cotton that lets air pass through as you breathe. Use at least two thicknesses of cloth and make sure that your face covering is both comfortable and fits well on your face.

You should be able to launder and machine dry the face covering with no damage or warping.

There are numerous types of cloth face covering. Here are three easy-to-make models:

Commercial models

Some models of handcrafted masks or face coverings are available commercially. The Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail has produced a notice for manufacturers and distributors of handcrafted masks This hyperlink will open in a new window. (in French only) and an appendix on the properties of various materials This hyperlink will open in a new window. (in French only).

No sew model


  • Bandana or square of cotton cloth approximately 50 x 50 cm
  • Rubber bands or hair ties
  • Scissors, if needed


1. Put the bandana on a table in front of you. Fold the bandana in half. Fold the top corners down and the bottom corners up. You now have a rectangle with two layers of fabric.

2. Fold the top corners toward the middle of the rectangle. Fold the bottom corners toward the middle of the rectangle. You now have a rectangle with four layers of fabric.

3. Place a rubber band around a quarter of the way in on the left. Place a rubber band around a quarter of the way in on the right.

4. Fold both corners on the left toward the middle of the rectangle. Fold both corners on the right toward the middle of the rectangle.

5. Lift the face covering with the rubber bands and put it over your nose and mouth. Secure the face covering by putting the rubber bands behind your ears.

6. Adjust the face covering so that it covers your nose and mouth completely.

Sewn model


  • Two 25 x 15 cm rectangles of cotton cloth
  • Two 15 cm elastics or pieces of string
  • Needle and bobby pin
  • Thread
  • Scissors


1. Cut two 25 x 15 cm rectangles of your cloth. Place one over the other and sew them together.

2. Fold a 0.5 cm width on the long side and sew a hem. Now, sew a 1 cm hem along each of the short sides.

3. Thread the 15 cm x 0.3 cm elastic through the hems on each side of the face covering. These will be the ear loops. Use a big needle or bobby pin for this and tie the ends of each loop tightly. If you don’t have elastics, use string to make the ties longer and attach them behind your head.

4. Gently pull on the elastic so that the knots are tucked into the hems. Gather the sides onto the elastic or string and adjust the face covering to your face. Now stitch the elastic or string in place to keep it from slipping.

Window model


  • Two 32 x 17 cm rectangles of plain cotton fabric in a neutral colour to facilitate concentrating on lip reading
  • Four 50 cm ribbons or shoe laces
  • Sewing needle
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Protective transparent flexible vinyl heat-resistant window
  • Cut-out printable pattern This hyperlink will open in a new window.


1. Print the cut-out pattern to the desired size. Cut out two 32 x 17 cm cotton rectangles and place one on top of the other.

2. Pin the pattern to the cloth. Cut the cloth to the shape of the pattern, leaving a 1 cm edge for the sewn flaps. Then cut out the window shape in the middle, also leaving a 1 cm edge.

3. Using the scissors, make a dart at each corner of the window, starting from the edge of the cloth and ending at the edge of the pattern.

4. Remove the pattern and reposition the pins 1 cm from the edge of the mask. Put the fabric face to face.

5. Place the four ribbons (or shoelaces) horizontally between the two layers of fabric, from the extremity of the face covering to the centre, threading the excess length through the opening of the window.

6. Sew the perimeter of the shape.

7. Fold the fabric at the centre of the window and sew the edges of the window, one thickness at a time, with a needle and thread.

8. Flip the face covering over by pulling on the ribbons or shoelaces.

9. Cut out an 8.5 x 17 cm rectangle (7 x 14 cm for the child model) out of a piece of transparent vinyl.

10. Insert the vinyl rectangle in the opening of the mask and pin it in place.

11. Machine-sew the edges of the central opening.

12. Position the face covering nose-height and attach the upper ribbons behind your head and above your ears. Now attach the lower ribbons behind your head at the base of the neck. Adjust the face covering to your face.

Tips and instructions

  • Respect the steps and hygiene measures when making the handcrafted mask or face covering.
  • The plastic can also be washed at 60°C if you test beforehand how the base material reacts to high temperatures.
  • Sterilize your face covering every day or after 4 hours of intensive use (for example, if you've talked a lot).
  • Wash it for 30 minutes at 60°C.
  • Store the washed and dry face covering in a resealable plastic bag.
  • To avoid the vinyl fogging up, wipe on some liquid detergent or swimming goggle spray the inside of the vinyl window and let dry.

Last update: May 28, 2021


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