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How to Make a Face Mask with Just a T-Shirt and Scissors NOTHING else required

More and more jurisdictions are requiring everyone to wear a face covering while out in public.1 At the same time, it seems that acquiring a proper face-mask is proving to be roughly as challenging as acquiring Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket. Fortunately, the CDC has provided advice on how to fashion our own face coverings to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We’re breaking it down for you in the simplest of terms. But first, please note:

  • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance.
  • When removing the face covering, avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after.
  • The CDC advises washing homemade masks daily (or with each use).
  • The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. The CDC has asked that these be reserved for healthcare workers and medical first responders.

How to make your own face covering2

The CDC recommends tightly woven cotton, which includes quilting fabric, cotton sheets, and bandanas. However, if you have none of that available, a t-shirt can be substituted. In fact, the easiest way to make a face-covering involves nothing but a t-shirt and scissors. There are three steps, and it will take you under five minutes to complete:

  • Measure 7 inches from the bottom hem of a t-shirt you no longer wear, and cut horizontally across the entire length of t-shirt.

    TIP: an average adult hand is just over 7 inches.
  • Cut a rectangle out of one side of the 7-inch strip of fabric, leaving at least an inch of margin at the top and bottom.

    NOTE: this is how you create your ties.
  • Cut through the loops of both ties.

Et voila, you have a face mask, which you can trim down to fit over your nose and mouth, if necessary.

The CDC offers two other methods, but one requires sewing, and the other requires rubber bands. As you can see, we’re perfectly fine with the no-sew, no-rubber-bands t-shirt version. For more useful information in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, check out the Exela Blog.


  1. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/04/16/coronavirus-face-masks-where-are-coverings-required/5144193002/
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html