What Can I Use Instead of Elastic for a Mask?

What Can I Use Instead of Elastic for a Mask

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Welcome to this comprehensive guide about what to use instead of elastic for a mask. Most face mask patterns use elastic to secure the fabric to the wearer’s face. But if there are no elastics on hand, what can you replace it with? Well, you do not have to worry because there are many alternatives that you can use. More and more people are making their masks, which leads to a shortage of elastics. To remedy this problem, we have shared different materials that you can use as alternatives to elastic.

What can I use instead of elastic for a mask? You can substitute hair ties or elastic headbands for regular elastic. Another alternative would be yarn, cord, ribbons, and other stretchy materials. You can also make use of bias tape, cloth strips, rubber bands, or a string would also do. Moreover, you can use a rickrack or shoestring. You can use anything that you can tie on the mask’s fabric, which is durable and safe on your skin.

This article does not contain any product recommendations. If you are interested in purchasing elastics for face masks, here’s our buying guide with products.

This article will discuss four of the materials that you can use for face mask instead of elastic. We will also share some tutorials on how to use the material in making face masks. Stick around check out the rest of the article for helpful tips and information you can use to make homemade masks.

What can I use instead of elastic for a mask

Image by Manfred RichterOpens in a new tab. from PixabayOpens in a new tab.

Bias Tape

It is an excellent alternative to elastic. Bias tape, or bias binding, is a narrow strip of fabric cut on the bias. The fabric strips are cut along the 45-degree angle to the length of the strip. It makes it stretchable, more fluid, and more drapeable than the strip cut on the grain. Bias tape can be purchased or made with remnant fabric pieces.

How to Make Bias Tape without a Tool

  • Fold the fabric in half and press.
  • Open the seam, fold one edge to the middle line, and press. Repeat on the other side.
  • With both edges folded in, fold in half and press again.

How to Make Bias Tape Using a Bias Tape Maker

  • Cut your strips four times the size you want.
  • The bias tape maker will fold the two edges to the middle.
  • You’ll take this and fold it in half again, then press.
  • To finish the ends, fold in the edge for a clean finish.
  • Stitch along the open edge to finish the tie.

✅ Video – How to Make a Bias Tape With or Without a Bias Maker

Treasurie shared the video below that shows how to make bias tape with or without a bias maker. The step-by-step instructions from cutting the fabric into strips to folding stitching the fabrics together and folding them to make the bias tape is shown. It is an easy project that you can use a few materials and is also an ideal substitute if you do not have it elastic. Check out the video below for the demonstration.


Another option that you can use as an alternative to elastic is ribbons. They are easy to work with, and you can also choose from a wide array of available options. It is a ready-to-use option that only needs to be cut to a size that you prefer then sew into the fabric. You can sew the ribbon into the corner of the mask or sew it through a channel on the side of the mask.

However, there are a few things that you need to consider when using ribbon, such as the material. Make sure that it is tough and will not easily fray or unravel after many washes. You can also check out this article titled, what can you use in place of elastic? We have shared more alternative materials that you can use when making face masks.

How do You Put a Ribbon on a Face Mask

After making a face mask, you can proceed to sew the ribbons in place. To do this, sew the ribbon in one big long strip across the top and bottom of the mask for an over the head face mask strap. It looks nicer but will use a lot of material. Another option would be to sew the ribbon into each corner of the mask for an earloop strap, using less material. Choose the option that you are most comfortable wearing.

✅ Video – How to Sew a Face Mask Using Ribbon

Authentically Amber shared the video below on YouTube. She demonstrates how to sew a face mask using ribbons. She is using 6″ by 9″ of the ribbons for the mask. Four pieces of ribbons are required for each mask. The step-by-step instructions from cutting the fabric for the mask, assembling, sewing, and attaching the ribbon are demonstrated in the video.

Fabric Ties

If elastics are hard to find, you can also use fabric ties as an alternative. You can use knit fabric because they do not fray at the edges. They stretch well and can be made in various sizes. Moreover, knit fabrics hold up better after washing and drying. On the other hand, if you do not have knit fabrics, you can make the ties from any fabrics you have at home. We have also written this article titled, what can I substitute for elastic? You can check out the different materials that you can use when elastic is unavailable.

How to Make Fabric Ties for Face Masks

You can cut strips of fabric that measure 1-1/2 inches by 18-20 inches to make the fabric ties. Fold one short end ¼ inches in and sew. The next step would be to fold the fabric strip with long edges to meet in the center. Then fold in half lengthwise again. Sew the open edge to secure. Place the tie with the raw edge next to the corners of the mask and see that you do not sew over the loose end of the tie as you sew around the mask.

✅ Video –  Sew a Face Mask with Ties & Filter Pocket

DarlingAdventures shared the video below on how to sew a face mask with ties and filter pockets. This tutorial is ideal for sewers of all levels. The materials that you will need in making the mask includes 14″ by 10″ cotton fabric and four pieces of 1″ by 18″ of cotton fabric. Check out the video below to demonstrate how to make the fabric ties and how to attach it to the mask.

Hair Ties

Another alternative that you can use for elastic is hair ties. Hair ties are stretchable, which makes them an ideal material for ear loops. If you want a no-sew DIY face mask, your best choice would be to use hair ties. If you have an old t-shirt, bandana, or a piece of fabric at home, you can make a fast and easy face mask. We have also written this article about how to make a face mask without elastic. You can check it out for more information about the various materials you can use to substitute for elastics.

How to Make Face Mask Using Hair Ties

MBG HealthOpens in a new tab. shared a tutorial on how to make a face mask using hair ties. It is a fast and easy no-sew tutorial that you can do. Hair ties are an ideal solution for those who run out of masks to use and do not have the time or skills to sew a DIY mask. Check out the materials needed as well as the step-by-step tutorial by clicking the link above.

✅ Video – Bandana Face Mask with Hair Ties

Vidah shared the video below on her YouTube channel. She demonstrates how to make a face mask using a bandana and hair ties. The size of the hair tie can be changed according to an individual’s preference. The bandana used for the video measures 21″ by 21″. Check out the video below for a visual demonstration.

Related Questions

What Type of Ribbon Should I Use?

Choose a ribbon made from high-quality materials. It should be durable and will not unravel after many washes and drying. One of the best choices would be the grosgrain ribbon because it is thick and sturdy. It is available in various widths and sizes. You can also check out this article about what is the best width of elastic for face masks. We have discussed the different widths available for elastics that you can use when making face masks.

Can I Use Any Fabric for Making Fabric Ties?

You can use any fabric that you have available. On the other hand, it is ideal to use a knit fabric because it does not fray on the edges, and they are also stretchable.

Where Can I Purchase Bias Tape?

You can purchase bias tape in any craft store or online. If you do not have the time to visit your local craft store, you can also buy online for a wide array of choices available.


You have reached the end of this article about the materials you can use instead of elastic for a face mask. The four materials above are easy to find, and you can also make them using fabrics. They are an ideal alternative for sewn and no-sew face masks. Thank you for reading!

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