diy NO SEW Face Mask – Upcycled T Shirt – 5 Minutes

With the latest recommendation to wear masks when we go out and about, there has been a need to acquire a mask. As you know, most of us just go to the store and purchase one. A few weeks ago I posted the tutorial on how to sew a DIY face mask. However, not everyone knows how to sew or has access to a sewing machine.

I have been getting a lot of requests for “no sew” masks, so I started doing some research and experimenting. I tried folding the bandanna thing and several other ways, but I had a hard time finding a method that was easy to understand and that wasn’t bulky and awkward to wear.

One of my customers, Suzette Gardner, clued me in on a technique she was using to make masks out of upcycled t shirts. Now we’re talking. This is my territory. You all know how I love using upcycled t shirts! So I gave it a whirl and loved how the knit felt on your face and how quick they were to make.

So here you have it, a tutorial on how to make a diy no sew face mask, using an upcycled t shirt that you can make in only 5 minutes. If the shirt is long sleeved, you can make two more masks using the sleeves! I’ll walk you through that at the end of the post.

video tutorial

diy face mask - no sew-upcycled tshirt - 5 minutesMaterials and Items Needed

  • Upcycled T Shirt (the larger the better)
  • If you have a long sleeve shirt, you can make a mask with each sleeve.
  • The t shirt needs to be at least 16 inches wide. Cotton t shirts are the best.
  • Rotary Cutter and Ruler (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Flannel Scrap (for additional filter, optional) Cut to approximately 4 x 6 inches

diy No Sew Face Mask Instructions

Trim off the hem of the shirt.

Cut two, 1 inch strips the width of the shirt

Cut off the seams on both sides

upcycled t shirt sleeve maskTake the strips and pull the fabric to CURL the fabric for the mask ties.

They need to be at least 16 inches long, more if you have the fabric

Measure from the bottom of shirt and cut

  • 8 inches for an ADULT MASK
  • 7 inches for TEEN
  • 6 inches for CHILD

Take one of those pieces and place the wrong side of the fabric facing up.

If you want more layers you can double the fabric.

Place the ties vertically 4 inches from the edge.

Fold the sides over the strap so the tie is against the fold.

They should overlap in the center, making the width of the mask around 8 inches for adult, 7 teen and 6 for child.

Take the ends of the ties and make a knot as close to the end as you can.

This will be the top of the mask.

diy face mask - no sew-upcycled t shirt - 5 minutesTake the mask and place over your nose rim.

Hold it in place while you pull the bottom ties to cinch in the mask.

Keep adjusting and pulling the ties until you get the fit that you like.

Tuck in the fabric that may be sticking out.

Want additional filter capabilities?

Cut a piece of flannel about 4×6 inches and place inside before folding the mask.

Face Mask using the t shirt sleeves

no sew face mask- upcycled t shirt

Cut off sleeve and measure 16 inches.

Follow the same folding instructions as before.

Slightly gather the wider side and tuck into sleeve opening. 

The sleeve version will give more layers and more filter ability.

I love how these masks feel when you have them on! So comfortable! 

BAM! This will only take you 5 minutes or less. 

No excuses now. Get you and your loved ones a mask made.


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Take care of yourselves my friends. Keep smiling and finding the good in your day.

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  • Cheryl SkinnerApril 13, 2020 - 1:44 am

    Brilliant!!! Thank you so much!!ReplyCancel

    • JanApril 14, 2020 - 9:13 am

      You are so welcome!ReplyCancel

    • JeanneApril 27, 2020 - 1:35 pm

      I have tried several different no sew masks. This one is the best! I folded it over 4 layers and used hem tape to hold it together. I have a mask someone made me that is sewn. It doesn’t fit right and I the elastic Bothers my ears. The one is so comfortable. Thank you for taking the time to share.ReplyCancel

      • JanApril 27, 2020 - 3:23 pm

        You are so welcome. Thanks for sharing your tips.ReplyCancel

  • KarenApril 14, 2020 - 11:09 am

    Hi Jan, I was trying to figure out how to send you a message. I Love this.. it’s very clever!! I’m going to try today. I was thinking about alternatives to suit what I need, and wanted to get your thoughts if possibleReplyCancel

  • MindyApril 16, 2020 - 7:31 pm

    Hi Jan,
    I watched your video on the face masks. Love it! What type of sewing machine do you use, if I may ask.ReplyCancel

    • JanApril 18, 2020 - 9:47 am

      I use my old Pfaff and I think the video shows my new Babylock. I have a Juki serger.ReplyCancel

  • Linda BlavApril 19, 2020 - 9:05 am

    I tried and it doesn’t work For me. The strips won’t curl no matter how much I try. My mask fabric is 8” by 17” and when I place the one inch strips 4 inches in the ends won’t even overlap. I tried readjusting and the ties are too big and the mask seems enormous. Perhaps the knit is not right. The shirt I used was a St. John’s Bay tshirt of 100% cotton. Any suggestions. I hate to cut up another shirt! I loved the idea!ReplyCancel

    • JanApril 19, 2020 - 10:21 am

      HI Linda,
      Yes, some t shirts don’t have enought stretch to them. It’s a good idea to pull the shirt to see if it curls like you want before you start cutting. You can tell by the fabric responds when pulling. It will either lay flat or curl. All t shirt fabrics are so different. Sorry that shirt didn’t work for you. Hope this helps.ReplyCancel

  • Teresa L StrausbaughApril 21, 2020 - 10:28 am

    Thank you Thank you Thank you!! Have sewn two different versions of face masks and this is by far the easiest, most comfortable, and best fitting mask I have made! I made one with ear loops as well and they fit just as well!ReplyCancel

    • JanApril 22, 2020 - 10:13 pm

      You are so welcome.ReplyCancel

  • AliceApril 26, 2020 - 8:23 am

    This is the best face mask 😷 I made 5 this morning for my family. They love them & are quite a fussy bunch. I did hand sew the top straps onto the top corners of the mask & stitched the back folds together, found it easier to put on. They are so comfortable & I love that it’s 100% recycled! Thanks from South Africa 🇿🇦ReplyCancel

    • JanApril 26, 2020 - 9:16 am

      Wonderful! I will be posting and videoing a new method this week. Very little sewing. For those who can sew, even like you did, make the mask much more effecient. Good job!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousApril 27, 2020 - 1:09 pm

    Thank you!!… I took it a few extra steps for my son little face and sewed the sides so I wouldn’t have to worry about the flaps and sewed in some pipe cleaner where the nose is! Super fast and did it by hand! Thank you again!ReplyCancel

    • JanApril 27, 2020 - 3:23 pm

      You are so welcome!ReplyCancel

  • SamApril 29, 2020 - 11:05 am

    Thanks so much for this. Tried this today and made 4 masks from one old t-shirt. Your instructions are spot on and the mask is comfortable once you have it on. I am hoping to find someone who may be able to stitch this same version for me though to make them a little more practical for taking on and off if necessary. Thanks again for sharing. It really helped me out today when I needed a mask. Stay safe and healthy!ReplyCancel

    • JanApril 29, 2020 - 3:52 pm

      Hi Sam,
      Do you have a needle and thread? Check out this little video tutorial I just did on hand sewing.
      You can very easily sew down the sides of the mask to form a casing for the ties. That way they won’t come undone every time you take it off.
      I am working on another pattern that will work with t-shirts but with very minimal sewing (hand sewing) that you can do as well.
      Try the hand stitching. It really isn’t to hard. You got this!
      Thanks for commenting, I am sure you are not the only one with this issue.ReplyCancel

  • GwenApril 30, 2020 - 12:33 am

    I know lots of people have already said this but THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS! I made mine today and it was a breeze to make, and it looks good! I was afraid it would end up looking like a craft project but it actually looks fine and no one can tell that it wasn’t sewn. So thank thank thank you for helping us out. Especially now that the masks will be mandatory for who knows how long, it’s great to have extra reusable masks versus the disposable ones. AND I was able to just use a shirt that was sitting in my donation pile. Next up… TIE DYE face mask! 😄ReplyCancel

    • JanApril 30, 2020 - 8:46 am

      Hi Gwen,

      Love the die dye idea!!!!!!! Stay tuned, I am going to be putting up a little tutorial on how you can “minimally” use a few hand stitches to keep the now sew version in place a little longer. Here is the YouTube link.
      Take care and keep smiling.ReplyCancel

  • MARJORIEMay 5, 2020 - 7:29 pm

    Why not just take several inches of the sleeve, without cutting open seams, run elastic through each side to tie behind ears, and voila, double layer mask in about two minutes?ReplyCancel

  • AuroraMay 8, 2020 - 6:53 am

    Just brilliant, although I do sew this was the best no sew video I’ve seen!!ReplyCancel

    • JanMay 8, 2020 - 4:07 pm

      Thanks Aurora, glad it was helpful!ReplyCancel

  • VickiMay 9, 2020 - 1:50 am

    Cute and practical. However, why not leave one side seam intact on 1” strips? That way no knot is necessary for the top of the back. Just a thought.

    Also, one more idea, a fusible tack down to keep the underside of the top together, that way continuous adjustment while you are wearing it become unnecessaryReplyCancel

    • JanMay 9, 2020 - 8:40 pm

      You can leave the side seam on the 1 inch strip, however you’ll need to reinforce the seam ends or they will come undone. Good thinking and thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

    • Trina KramerMay 18, 2020 - 9:50 am

      Love your tutorial ! I sew, but found sewing masks a little tedious. This was so easy. I had hot pink shoelaces to match my old T shirt, so used those ! Tied the shoelace at the bottom.ReplyCancel

      • JanMay 19, 2020 - 9:04 am

        Thank you! Love the shoelace idea! Thanks for sharing and enjoy your day!ReplyCancel

  • […] the same theme, You Make it Simple has a diy NO SEW mask that is an upcycle on a t-shirt but seems to be very durable and can be made in 5 […]ReplyCancel

  • ConnieMay 28, 2020 - 1:31 am

    I really like this idea and for this reason I have yet to see addressed.I have to wear oxygen 24/7 so there is no room around my ears for a standard mask.I have to carry a tank and when I went to Dr. I had to use one hand to hold the tank and the other to hold a mask against my face-continuously fussing with it.This I can make and tie over the hose so thank you-any ounce of freedom I can muster I do.Stay safe.ConnieReplyCancel

    • JanMay 28, 2020 - 8:01 pm

      Thanks for sharing Connie. Glad this works for you. Stay safe my friend,JanReplyCancel

  • SerenaJune 13, 2020 - 2:16 am

    Thank you so much — looked at various no-sew t-shirt methods, this is by far the best and the best looking. Test-drove it this evening, far more comfortable and far less hot than anything else I’ve tried.

    The one thing is that I now regret that earlier this year, I had donated a bunch of knit tops that I wasn’t wearing, which throws a wrench in my idea of having masks in every colour:)ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJuly 2, 2020 - 1:43 pm

    If it wasn’t for the evil people in this world who spread this disease to EVERYONE in this world, we wouldn’t have to wear these idiotic things on our faces to begin with  !!!!!!!ReplyCancel

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