NATIONWIDE — The Centers for Disease Control is now recommending that people wear cloth face masks while out in public. Since N95 masks and surgical masks are in extremely short supply, many people are looking for ways to create or access a makeshift face covering.

Cloth masks are not as effective as N95 respirator masks, but they provide a marginal level of protection. The CDC says cloth masks help keep people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. 

RELATED | CDC Urges Masks as Dramatic Steps to Combat Coronavirus

If you’d rather not make your own, there is a cottage industry of face masks on Etsy.

There are several ways to make simple masks out of items you have around the house, with no sewing required.

Bandana Mask

You can make a face mask using a bandana or other piece of cloth and two hair ties.

Photo of a bandana and two hair ties (Spectrum News)

Fold the bandana and attach the hair ties like in the video below.

If you don’t have any hair ties, you can cut off the top of a sock and create two stretchy bands.

Photo of sock with the top snipped off (Spectrum News)

T-shirt Mask

You can also create a no-sew mask by wrapping a T-shirt around your head and face like in the video below.

Here is another example of a T-shirt mask.


  • The CDC advices that you make sure your cloth mask fits snugly and covers your nose and mouth.
  • The thicker the fabric, the better. Whether you’re using a T-shirt, bandana, or scarf, be sure you’re doubling up so that multiple layers of fabric protect you face.
  • Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth when removing your mask. Wash your hands immediately after removing.
  • The CDC says that you should routinely wash your cloth mask depending on the frequency of use.