6 easy, no-sew ways to make a face mask – and where to buy them

We'll teach you how to make a face mask in minutes and using simple household items – socks, an old t-shirt, bandanas and more

how to make a face mask
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Learn how to make a face mask in minutes, with these easy, sew-free solutions that make use of everyday items you'll likely already have hanging around the house – think socks, old t-shirts, bandanas and more. 

When we say these face masks are easy to make, we're not joking. In fact, most of these easy DIYs take less than a minute to complete. Plus, they're reusable – just make sure you wash your face mask between uses – and much more affordable than many of options we've seen on sale. Discover how below.

If you'd rather buy – perhaps even to donate to the needy – we have also included a section on where to buy face masks at the end of this article. But please remember – think of others when you buy. Please don't stockpile.

  • Head over to our health and beauty hub page for the latest on staying healthy at this time

How to make a face mask

As we mentioned above, there are a variety of options available to you if you want to learn how to make a face mask. Discover our favourites below – including how to make a face mask from a sock.

1. How to make a face mask with a sock

Below we'll teach you how to make a face mask with a sock in under a minute, which we think is pretty ideal if you're looking for an affordable alternative to buying a face mask. All you'll need is a single sock (preferably clean) and a pair of scissors.

When it comes to making a face mask, this method is without doubt one of the most straightforward (and one of our favourites). After all, most of us have an odd sock lurking at the back of our drawer, its partner mysteriously nowhere to be seen.

To successfully make a face mask using a sock, follow the steps below:

1. Take a clean sock and make a cut along with width of the sock, a few inches below the heel. 

2. Cut along the length of the sock, on the side opposite the heel.

3. Fold your sock lengthways, so that the top of your sock meets where you made the first cut. 

4. Make a small cut down the fold line – this should only be a couple of centimetres in length. You should find that you've created two small slits at either side of your face mask – these will loop around your ears.

5. Try on your face mask for size, using the heel of your sock over your nose.

Top tip: for an extra layer of protection, we've seen many people place some folded over kitchen towel inside their face mask.

2. How to make a face mask with an old t-shirt

Aside from how easy it is to make, we also love the fact that you could simply pop your t-shirt in the wash after a trip outside to ensure it's effectively disinfected. This would reduce the risk of face masks carrying the infection.

3. How to make a face mask with a bandana

This DIY no-sew face mask video tutorial might be the easiest we've seen. Not only is it easy, but it's quick, meaning you can put your mask together in a minute or two if you find yourself in a pinch. 

All it requires is a scarf (a handkerchief or large tea towel folded over itself diagonally would probably work too) and a pair of hair ties. 

4. How to make a face mask with an infinity scarf

Infinity scarves are an option worth considering if you're DIY-ing a face mask, as they are made up of lots of layers of thin fabric that you can wrap tightly to your face without it becoming uncomfortable. 

Make sure you opt for a cotton scarf as germs tend to have a shorter life span on natural materials than they do manmade ones. Amazon (opens in new tab) and H&M (opens in new tab) have plenty in stock in loads of different colours a prints – a very easy option if you're looking for a simple solution that doesn't have to cost a fortune.

Manumar Loop Scarf | £12.95 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
Made from 70% polyester, 30% viscose, this neutral scarf offers plenty of fabric layers and could we worn across the face to protect the nose and mouth while out and about.

Liberty of London Handmade Silk Crepe Infinity Scarf | £35 at Etsy (opens in new tab)
Made from a gorgeous silk fabric, this infinity scarf might be an option for those with particularly sensitive skin

Toddler Infinity Scarves | £6.89 at Etsy (opens in new tab)
Designed to be smaller in size, these toddler infinity scarves are a much more appealing option if you're looking for easy ways to protect a little one. Not to mention that they're super sweet.

Infinity Scarf Vita Loop Scarf with Hidden Zipper Pocket | £8.49 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
Another great option for those seeking an infinity scarf, this option can be folded over to achieve the multiple layers of fabric we're all encouraged to look for when creating a DIY face mask. Plus, it also has a hidden pocket for storing essentials.

Infinity scarves | From £2.09 on Amazon (opens in new tab)

Choose from a huge range of colours and prints – with lots of stock available ASAP – on Amazon. Check the materials with a closer knit to offer better protection.

5. How to make a face mask with a buff

While, unfortunately, none of us will be going skiing anytime soon, instead we could consider using a buff as a face mask. In fact, we think they might be one of the best options if you're opting to use a scarf as a make-shift face mask.

They are tight, meaning you won't have to worry about them falling down, but do not restrict your breathing as they are really lightweight. Plus, you can roll them up to create multiple layers, which is similar to the approach we've seen used to achieve many of the no-sew options above.

You can also wash them on a really hot wash and they won't loose their shape. Plus they come in loads of colours and prints, which may also be more appealing to children who are intimidated by the idea of wearing a face mask.

Buff Coolnet UV+® Buff | From £9.99 on Wiggle (opens in new tab)

This Buff scarf can be worn as a headband, hairband, scarf, bandana or in this case, a face mask. The material is lightweight and breathable, so perfect for the warmer weather. Plus, it has UV protection so great for sun protection, too.

Plain Infinity Multifunctional Neck Warmer Snood | £6.99 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
Available in a variety of colours, this neck warmer snood pulls over the face with ease to provide a layer of protection.

Buff Camino de Santiago Coolnet UV+® Buff | £12.74 - £13.46 at Wiggle (opens in new tab)
Another option for those looking for a breathable fabric buff that can also double as a protective face mask, this is super lightweight, protects against UV and can be folded over to achieve plenty of protective layers.

6. How to make a face mask and headband combo

Finally, this DIY no-sew face mask doubles as a headband for, say, if you were walking to the store on an uncrowded street and only wanted to wear your mask once inside.

Should you wear a face mask to prevent Coronavirus?

As part of their briefing on Sunday, which detailed phased plans to reduce lockdown measures which had been enforced in response to coronavirus, the government suggested that more of us should be wearing face masks to reduce the spread of the virus.

This was further detailed in a document released by the government which outlined that members of the public should 'wear a face covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible and they come into contact with others that they do not normally meet, for example on public transport or in some shops.'

Given this new advice, we anticipate seeing a surge in the sales of face masks, which may also lead to higher prices and longer delivery times. So, when we discovered this 45 second video tutorial teaching you how to make a face mask, we thought it is definitely worth sharing for those who can't get hold of a proper face mask (and those leaving them for frontline staff).

Where to buy face masks

Fashion site Newchic has a whole section of protective gear (opens in new tab) to ship to the UK and US, including a range of hats and visors with built-in face shields. Commonly worn for UV protection, we should point out that these face shields are technically sun visors – however they will still act as a barrier between you and direct spray from someone coughing or sneezing nearby. For those who are concerned this is not enough, there are also layered and filtered medical face masks available. 

Scroll down to see a selection of face masks on offer at Newchic, all available for dispatch in the next week.

Removable sun visor fisherman hat | Only £13.13/$15.99 on Newchic (opens in new tab)

This fisherman hat will not only keep you shielded from the sun but includes an anti-droplet sun visor to shield your face. It comes in black, khaki, yellow, pink and orange.

Women's summer sun hat with removeable anti-UV visor | Only £12.31/$14.99 on Newchic (opens in new tab)

You can remove the anti-UV visor on this and use it as a normal sun hat when this is over. It comes in navy, black, pink, rose, yellow, and blue.

20 disposable 3-layer face masks | Only £17.49/$21.29 on Newchic (opens in new tab)

Block viruses, dirt, dust and pollen with these three-layer face masks. They are breathable and designed to sit more comfortably on the face.

Disposable child's face mask | Only £4.92/$5.99 on Newchic (opens in new tab)

This disposable face mask is designed for children. It is more comfortable for them to wear than adult sizes but still offers optimum protection.

10PCS Disposable Dustproof Breathable Face Mouth Cover for Paint, Garden, Blue A73 | £8.88 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
This best seller from Amazon is a pretty straight forward example of a face mask, but it gets the job done.

Procedure Medical Surgical Protection Face Masks, 3-Ply, Earloop, Sealed in a Bag of (10 Pieces) | £8.79 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
These simple face masks are single use and offer free delivery. They boast 95% filtration efficiency and comply with European standards.

O'lemon Full Face Protective Shield Visor | £2.49 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
If you know someone working on the front line who doesn't have suitable protective equipment, it may be worth picking up a protective face mask in a bid to help them stay safe until PPE stocks are distributed to all who need it.

Kids and Adult Cotton Face Mask | £6.00 at Etsy (opens in new tab)
Suitable for adults and children, these patterned face masks are reusable – simply wash between uses – and boast some super adorable patterns that we simply can't get enough of.

Organic Cotton Face Masks | £8.95 at Etsy (opens in new tab)
A great option for those with sensitive skin, or who are concerned about the environmental impact of single-use face masks, these organic cotton face masks can be washed between uses and boast beautiful patterned finishes.

Please note: we totally understand that single use masks are essential for many at this time and whole-heartedly support the use of disposable face masks for those who need to protect themselves, we're simply seeking to offer a more sustainable alternative to those who want it and for whom it's a suitable solution. 

Reusable Cotton Face Masks & Filters | from £4.49 at Wowcher (opens in new tab)
These reusable face masks come with replaceable cotton filters which can be exchanged after a single use.

20 disposable 3-layer face masks | Only £17.49/$21.29 on Newchic (opens in new tab)

Block viruses, dirt, dust and pollen with these three-layer face masks. They are breathable and designed to sit more comfortably on the face.

Disposable child's face mask | Only £4.92/$5.99 on Newchic (opens in new tab)

This disposable face mask is designed for children. It is more comfortable for them to wear than adult sizes but still offers optimum protection.

Emily first (temporarily) joined the Real Homes team while interning on her summer break from university. After graduating, she worked on several publications before joining Real Homes as Staff Writer full time in mid-2018. She left the brand in 2020 to join the police force but continues to love a second-hand bargain and sourcing unique finds to make her rented flat reflect her personality.