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Learn how to make homemade medical face masks

Learn how to make homemade medical face masks

April 15, 2020

At Xpand, we are aware of the shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment) for medical workers, first-line responders, and all front-line workers who are courageously serving our communities. We believe that in times of crisis, we must stand strong together and unite forces to aid in whichever way we can. We are working with community leaders by donating our elastic laces so that we can continue supporting our healthcare heroes and at-risk-communities in creating face masks to help keep them safe and healthy. 

Due to the shortage and high-demand for professional PPE to keep front-line workers safe, many have stepped up to the challenge of sewing masks at home. The elastic material from our original no-tie lacing system can be perfectly repurposed to create the earloop portion of the face masks, helping it remain in place comfortably and safely. 

       Our community members already using our laces to create homemade masks. 

According to the CDC, fabric masks can be worn to offer some level of protection when N-95 masks have been exhausted. Many hospitals and medical staff have requested homemade surgical masks to be donated as an emergency response to mitigate the shortage of protective equipment. These homemade masks serve as a layer of protection for medical staff members who are serving in areas of the hospitals that are not in direct contact with patients who have tested positive with COVID-19.

Furthermore, citizens are also being asked by health care officials to wear fabric masks when in public to help curve the spread of COVID-19. 

Homemade Mask Instructions

Materials & Tools 

  • 100% tightly woven cotton fabric - (samples: cotton t-shirts, clean pillowcases with a higher thread count, flannel, dish towels). Cut into 2 pieces per mask,  9” X 6” (Adult) or 7.5” X 5” (Child).
  • Elastic rope - Xpand no-tie shoelaces, approx 14’’ per mask - 7” inch for each earloop. 
  • Clips 
  • Scissors 
  • Tape measure 
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread


    Good Housekeeping partnered up with Amanda Perna, fashion designer and project runway alum who is busy creating homemade masks to donate. Amanda created an easy step-by-step guide on how to create homemade masks that she has shared with us below. We also had the privilege of supporting Amanda by donating our laces to be repurposed as ear loop straps in the masks she is currently creating. 

    Here are her easy to follow instructions: 

    1. Print mask patterncreated by Amanda Perna (If you don't have a printer, it's a 9x8-inch rectangle with 1-inch peats) Use pattern to cut 2 cotton fabric pieces

    2. Use pattern to cut 2 interfacing pieces (MUST be nonwoven)

    3. Place cut fabric with front sides together

    4. Place both layers of the interfacing together on top of fabric (on the back side of fabric)

    5. Sew top 9” seam (2.5-3 stitch length is best) with ¼” seam allowance

    6. Flip open with front side of fabric up

    7. Press seam flat to one side

    8. Insert metal piece along seam between the 2 pieces of fabric

    9. Stitch ½” rectangle that is indicated at top of pattern (with wrong sides together) to secure metal piece

    10. Flip back to right sides together, stitch bottom 9” seam

    11. Flip back to right side out and press bottom seam

    12. Use pattern to help mark pleats. Pleat the 3 pleats all in the same direction, put a pin to keep them in place

    13. Cut binding tape at 36” per side

    14. Find the center point of the binding and the center point of the mask and pin the binding on the mask with the mask sandwiched between the binding

    15. Sew binding

    16. Repeat on the other side of the mask

    17. Press pleats

    18. Finally, pat yourself on the back, because you are making a difference!

    Check out the video above to see Amanda's step-by-step instructions in action.

    If you want to learn more about her process and some great tips and tricks for homemade masks you can read the full blog post

    Where you can donate your homemade masks?

    Check out this website to see which communities in your area need your help the most. 

    Here is how to properly wear your mask once it is made!

    It is best to ensure your mask fits tightly to your face to ensure better protection. Make sure to sanitize or thoroughly wash your hands before wearing or removing your mask. Avoid touching the mask while wearing it. It is best to keep a couple of these masks at hand to ensure you are wearing a clean one each day or for each job shift. It is recommended to wash them as often as possible with hot water and laundry detergent for maximum effectiveness. 

    We want to Xpand the love 


    We have seen how small acts of kindness can truly make a difference right now. 

    At Xpand, we care deeply about the well-being of our team, customers and our communities. We believe that we all have a part to play in times of great need. That’s why we’re committed to helping the most vulnerable communities stay safe and healthy during this difficult time. Every little bit helps. Together, we are stronger. To learn more about our social impact initiatives click here.

    On behalf of all our team at Xpand, we would like to give a huge THANK YOU to all healthcare professionals, emergency respondents, pharmacy staff members, food providers, and all the volunteers working around-the-clock to ensure we are safe and taken care of during this global pandemic. 


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