Most face mask patterns require elastic to secure the fabric into the face. However, if you cannot find elastic, what can you use in place of it? Fortunately, there are many alternatives that you can use. In this article, we will tackle the different materials that you can use in place of elastics for face masks.
What can you use in place of elastic? The materials that you can use include rubber bands, hair ties, bias tape, ribbons, and fabric. You might be surprised by the materials that you can find at home, which is ideal for making face masks.
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.
An essential feature of the face mask is elastic. It is a component that makes the mask wearable. If you cannot find elastic at home or do not have the time to wait for your order to arrive, there are materials that you can use as an alternative. An excellent material to use should be stretchy and comfortable to wear.
One alternative that you can use if elastics are unavailable is to use elastic headbands. The material is stretchable and is also comfortable to wear. They are also available in different colors, which will improve the aesthetics of your face mask. Elastic hairbands are flexible, which makes them ideal for face masks. You can conveniently purchase them online.
DIY Face Mask without Elastics
Homemade Ginger shared the tutorial below on how to make the face mask. It is an easy DIY project that you can do at home. Check out the materials and steps below.
- Fabric – 2 rectangles per mask
- Elastic Headbands
- Sewing Pins
- Rotary Cutter or Scissors
- Thread Ruler
- Cut two rectangles the size that you need for your mask.
- Next, cut the elastic headband into two pieces to the length that you need.
- Put the fabric, right sides together—Sandwich the elastic along the shorter edges.
- Don’t put the elastic to the corner. It makes it more challenging to sew later. Make it reach about 1/2 inch from the edge and pin
- Bring the other side of the elastic up to the opposite corner and pin. So your elastic should be sandwiched in between the two pieces of fabric.
- Repeat this step on the other side.
- Pin the rest of the fabric together.
- Sew around the rectangle, leaving a two-inch opening along with one of the long sides. You can make your seam as big or small as you want.
- Go over the elastic a few times with the sewing machine to ensure that the seam is strong enough to hold it.
- Turn the mask right side out.
- Stitch together the opening.
- Make two pleats along the shorter ends of the mask.
- Then, make two small pleats along the top and bottom of the mask.
- Topstitch two times around the sides of the mask.
- Cut off any remaining threads.
✅ Video – Make A Face Mask At Home with Elastic Hair Bands
Hanna Watkins Glam Designs shared the video below on YouTube. She tackles how to make a face mask with elastic hair bands. In the video, she demonstrates how to trace the patterns, cut, and sew the face mask. She has also shared a template that you can download. Check out the video tutorial below.
You can also use rubber bands in place of elastics. Rubber bands are easy to find, and they are also affordable. Chances are you already have them at home. Rubber bands are ideal for no-sew face masks. You can easily tuck them at both ends of the fabric or cloth to keep them in place. The rubber bands are also reusable, and you can disinfect them with alcohol or soaking them in water with detergent.
No-Sew Face Mask with Bandana and Rubber Bands
Real Simple shared the tutorial below on their website. It tackles how to make a face mask using a bandana and rubber bands. This no-sew face mask is easy to make and takes only a few minutes. If you do not have a bandana at home, you can also use a t-shirt or handkerchief.
- Bandana or cotton fabric, approximately 20-by-20 inches
- Coffee filter (or piece of HEPA vacuum filter)
- Two rubber bands
- Fold the bandana in half widthwise.
- Cut a piece of coffee filter (approximately 3-by-6 inches) and place it in the center of the folded bandana.
- Next, fold the top third of the bandana down, then fold the bottom third of the bandana up.
- Slide the rubber bands onto either side of the folded fabric, so they are about 6 inches apart.
- Fold the ends in towards the center, tucking them in if you want.
- To put on the mask, loop the rubber bands over your ears. Adjust the mask to make sure it covers your nose and mouth completely.
You can also check out this article that tackles how to make a face mask with rubber bands. We have shared tutorials and patterns, as well as the different materials that you can use when making a face mask with rubber bands for ear loops.
✅ Video – Easy No-Sew Face Mask
Emely Toledo shared the video below on her YouTube channel. She demonstrates how to make a no-sew face mask easily. You will need a bandana and two rubber bands to make this face mask. The steps are similar to the steps above but with no coffee filter insert. It is an easy face mask that you can do in just a matter of minutes. Watch the video tutorial below.
If you do not have elastics or rubber bands at home, what are other alternatives that you can use? What is your best option if you do not know how to sew fabric to make ties for face masks? A good option would be to use hair ties. If you have hair ties at home, you can use it as an alternative to rubber bands. Not only are they flexible, but they are also comfortable to wear.
We have also written this article that tackles the best face mask extenders (straps). It is a functional tool that will relieve your ears from the pain due to wearing face masks for a long time. Check out the list of products that we have shared.
Homemade Pleated Face Mask with Handkerchief and Hair Ties
Japanese Creations shared the tutorial below on their website. It tackles how to make a pleated face mask with handkerchief and hair ties. It is no doubt one of the easiest face masks that you can create using two materials. Check out the steps on how to make the mask below.
- Handkerchief (I use A regular cotton handkerchief of 18″ x 18″ in this tutorial.)
- Two hair ties
- Place the handkerchief face down.
- Fold the top to the center.
- Next, fold the bottom to the center.
- Flip over the handkerchief.
- Fold the top to the center.
- Then, fold the bottom to the center.
- Flip over.
- Thread the ends of the handkerchief through the hair ties.
- Fold the sides of the handkerchief.
- Flip over. You have a pleated face mask!
You can also check out this article that tackles how to make a face mask with hair ties. You can learn about the different methods that you can do to make an easy face mask using hair ties.
✅ Video – Reusable No-Sew Face Mask
Japanese Creations also shared the video below on their YouTube channel. It demonstrates how to make a face mask with a handkerchief and hair ties following the steps that they have provided on their website. If you want a visual demonstration, you can check out the video below.
If you know how to sew, then you can make earloops for face masks with the use of fabrics. You can use any kind of fabric that you like. Just make sure that it is sewn securely on the face mask, and you have the proper length to secure the mask on your face.
How to Sew a Fabric Tie
The Sew Can She website shared the tutorial below on how to sew a fabric tie. It is ideal to use a sewing machine to make the fabric ties. On the other hand, if you are skilled at hand stitching, you can also stitch the ties by hand. Check out the tutorial below.
- A strip of fabric 1’’ x 44’’ long (1’’ x the width of the fabric)
- 1/2’’ bias tape tool (optional but helpful)
- Use a pin to help you feed the strip of fabric through the large end of the bias tape tool so that when it comes out the small end, the sides folded to the center.
- Move the strip through the tool, pressing it as it comes out to set the folds.
- Fold the strip in half again, so it is approximately 1/4’’ wide and press.
- Sew down the length of the tie to secure it. (The user will put the loop over their head and then tie the ties near the back and top of the head, adjusting them to fit.)
We have also written this article that tackles antiviral/surgical face masks. Check out the article for information about the different kinds of masks and how effective they are when it comes to protecting the wearer against the virus.
✅ Video – How to Sew a Fabric Mask with Fabric Ties
Erica Arndt posted the video below on her YouTube channel. It tackles how to sew a face mask with fabric ties. She also shared alternate sizes for kids and adult face masks. It is an excellent DIY project that you can try if you know how to sew. Watch the video below for the tutorial.
You can also use bias tape as an alternative for elastics. There is a wide array of bias tape that you can choose. You can be as creative as you like in choosing the design, color, and size of the bias tape. Purchase it at your local craft store, or you can also order online.
How to Sew a Face Mask with Ties
Create to Donate shared the tutorial below on how to make a face mask with bias tape as ties. It is best to choose a 100% cotton fabric for the primary material of the face mask. ½ inches bias tape is an ideal size for the ties. Check out the materials needed and the steps on how to make the mask below.
- 100% cotton fabric
- Cotton solid fabric 100%
- 1/2″ bias tape (store-bought or make your own). You will need two pieces that are 36″ each
- Fabric Marker
- Cut two 9 x 7.5″ pieces of fabric.
- Place the right sides together and clip. Sew top and bottom edge using 1/4″ seam allowance.
- Turn the fabric right sides out.
- Topstitch the top and bottom edges with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
- Pinch and clip pleats, then baste with a 1/4″ seam allowance. The finished body ends up around 4″ high.
- Prepare the 36″ pieces of bias tape and sew both pieces onto the mask.
- You’ll want to tie a knot at each end of the tape to keep minimal fraying. To be very specific, that’s a total of four knots (two for each tie).
- When you sew the bias tape, make sure to start at the very end of the piece to sew the fold closed.
- The length that will tie the mask behind the head ends up being 16 inches from each corner when the height of the mask is four inches.
We have also written this article that tackles how to make a face mask with ties. We have shared various materials that you can use when making ties or earloops for face masks.
✅ Video – How to Sew a Bias Tape Surgical Face Mask with Flexible Nose
Sweet Red Poppy shared the video below on her YouTube channel. She tackled how to make a face mask with a flexible nose and bias tape for ties. Watch the video below for the step-by-step tutorial.
Are Fabric Ties for Face Masks Easy to Make?
Yes, fabric ties for face masks are easy to make. All that you need is some strips of fabric. Make sure that you measure the length of the fabric before cutting so that you can make the right adjustment for the face mask to perfectly fit on your face.
We have also written this article that tackles how to make a face mask without elastic. Check out the article to find out the alternatives that you can use for elastics when making face masks.
Can You Cut Wide Elastic in Half?
Yes, you can cut a wide elastic in half. Make sure that you follow along the rib of the elastic so that the cut is clean and straight.
How Long Should Fabric Ties be on Face Masks?
16 inches is a proper length for a fabric tie on face masks. On the other hand, you can always measure the head size of the wearer to estimate the length of the ties.
There are many materials that you can use as an alternative for elastic. The fun thing about making a face mask is that you can be as creative as you want and make use of various materials. No matter what kind of material you use, see to it that that the ties or ear loops of the face mask is stretchable and comfortable to wear. Above all, it should properly secure the mask on your face. Thank you for reading!