When making DIY masks, one of the questions commonly asked is about the width of the elastic used. There are many widths of elastic that are available. There are narrow elastics, and there are also elastic straps that are much wider. You can find narrow elastics usually used when making surgical masks, and there are also wide elastics commonly used for making cloth face masks.
What is the best width of elastic for face masks? There is no standard width requirement for elastics when making face masks. A lot of people recommend using 1/8 to 1/4 inches wide elastics because the size is not that narrow wherein it can easily break and not that wide wherein it can be uncomfortable on the ears. You can choose any width that you would prefer. After all, when it comes to making a face mask, you need to consider your preferences.
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.
In this article, we will discuss the different widths of elastics that you can choose from. Is it okay to cut elastic to make it thinner? What size is the best for face masks? These are some of the questions that we will answer. If you are wondering about the different widths of elastics that are available, you can check out the rest of this article for more tips and information.
How Wide Should Elastic be for Masks?
A lot of people consider 1/8 to 1/4 inches as an ideal width of elastics for face masks. The reason for this is that the width is not too narrow that it will easily break and also not too wide, which makes the elastic uncomfortable to wear. Moreover, the width of the elastic makes it easier to sew into the fabric of the mask. You can find a wide array of 1/8 and 1/4 inches of elastic that you can use for making face masks.
How to Make Face Mask with ¼ Inch Elastic
The dartmouth-hitchcock.org shared the tutorial below on how to make a mask with the use of ¼ inch elastic. You can use the elastic for making different sizes of face masks. You can use cotton fabrics that you have at home. As much as possible, do not use metallic fabrics. Check out the materials needed in making the mask, as well as the step-by-step tutorial below.
- 100% unused cotton fabric (front)
- 100% unused cotton or cotton flannel (back)
- ¼ flat elastic
- Cut two rectangles of fabric, one for the inside, one for the outside.
- Cut elastic or ties. All ties can be ¼” x 15”. You will need 4 for each mask (one for each corner).
- Put the right sides of cotton mask fabric together.
- Starting at the center of the bottom (long) edge, sew to the first corner, stop. Sew a piece of elastic or a fabric tie into the corner.
- Sew to the next corner, stop, and bring the other end of that same elastic to the edge and sew a few stitches forward and back. If you are using fabric ties, add a new tie.
- Now sew across that top of the mask to the next corner. Again put a 7” length of elastic in the corner (or a new tie).
- Sew to the next corner and sew in the other end of the same elastic (or a new tie).
- Sew across the bottom, leaving about 1.5” to 2” open. Turn mask right-side out.
- Pin 3 tucks on each side of the mask. Make sure the tucks are in the same direction. There must be three tucks to ensure a tight fit on the face.
- Sew around the edge of the mask twice.
✅ Video – Inserting ¼ Elastic for Face Mask
SewInGenius shared the video below on YouTube. It shows how to insert ¼ elastic into the face mask. She demonstrates how to put the elastic in before sewing the casing. You need to overlap the ends of the elastic and sew them together. She also shared a cool trick on how to hold the ends of the elastics in place while you sew them. Check out the video below for the tutorial.
Can I Cut Elastic to Make it Thinner?
You can cut some elastics lengthwise to make it thinner, and it would still be usable. One way to check is to pull the elastic and look through it. If you can see regular squarish little dots of light through the stretched elastic, then you can be able to cut it safely. Be sure that you follow along the rib of the elastic so that you will avoid fraying and lose its integrity. If you have questions about the length of elastic that you will use, you can check out this article that discusses how long should elastic be on a face mask. We have provided different options that you can consider when making your mask.
How to Cut Elastic to Make it Thinner
If you think that the available elastic that you have at home is too wide for the face mask that you will make, you can try cutting it up to make it thinner. On the other hand, you need to be careful because some elastic fray when cut in half, and the thread starts to unravel. When this happens, the elastic will lose its integrity, and it will quickly get damaged. Below is a video that shows how to cut elastic without unraveling effectively. You can also check out this article that talks about how to attach an elastic cord to a face mask. We have shared different methods and tutorials that you can follow.
✅ Video – How to Cut Elastic without Unraveling
Newbies Creation shared the video on YouTube that shows how to cut 1-inch elastic lengthwise into four ¼ inches without unraveling. You can do this simple sewing hack by stitching the elastic after cutting them. Using a zigzag stitch prevents unraveling, and the elastic will still be stretchable. You can watch the video below for the visual demonstration.
What Size of Elastic is Best for Face Masks?
There is no standard size requirement for elastics when making face masks. Some people use ¼ inch elastic because the size is ideal for making ear loops. On the other hand, some opt for wider 3/8 inch elastic because they are easy to sew, and they are also suitable for making over the head ties. You can always choose a size according to your preferences and the type of face mask that you would like to make. You can also check out this article about how to make face mask with elastic. We have shared different patterns and tutorials that you can consider for your homemade face mask.
How to Make Face Mask Using 3/8 Inch Elastic
Mmhealth.org shared the tutorial below on how to make a face mask with 3/8 inch elastic ear loops. The face mask comes with pleats and filter pockets for an additional layer of protection. You will need some sewing expertise in making this mask. Follow the steps below for detailed instruction.
- Medium weight, tightly woven 100% cotton
- Twist ties
- 3/8” wide flat braided elastic
- Cut two pieces of fabric – 7” x 9” each
- Sew together along the BOTTOM side, leaving 1/4” to 3/8” salvage (Mask needs to be open on top for filter insertion.)
- Insert wire tie and sew into place on the SOLID (inner side) top hem of fabric per diagram
- Then, insert each end of one elastic earpiece into the face mask per diagram.
- You can make ties if elastic isn’t available – 4 ties per mask are needed and should be 16” long.
- Sew the side seam of the face mask, through all layers (fabric, elastic, pleats)
- Attach other elastic piece and sew into place on the other side in the same manner
- Sew a reinforcing seam across both sides of the face mask
✅ Video – Face Mask with 3/8 Inch Elastic Ear Loops
Emma Russell shared the video below on YouTube. It is a reusable and washable face mask that you can easily wash and reuse. If you want to make your mask, you can watch the video below. Click the play button for a visual demonstration.
What are The Different Widths of Elastics?
Elastics are available in various widths from 1/8 inch to 3 inches and up. The commonly used width for making face masks is between 1/8 inches to 3/8 inches. The pattern that you will use when making face masks will usually specify the width of elastic that you will use. The good thing is that you can also cut the elastic lengthwise if you want a thinner width. We have also written this article titled, what can I use instead of elastic for face mask? We have discussed the different materials that you can use as an alternative to elastic.
Can Elastic be Cut Lengthwise?
Yes, some elastic can be cut lengthwise. It is an ideal sewing hack that you can do if you have wide elastic at home, but you would prefer thinner elastic for your face masks. Simply cut the elastic lengthwise, and you can stitch it under a sewing machine to make sure that it does not unravel and lose its elasticity.
What Color Options Do I Have for Elastics?
There is a wide array of colorful elastic that you can purchase on the market. From pastel colors to a vivid shade of the rainbow, you can choose the one that you want for the mask that you are making. For more information about colorful elastics, you can check out this post about the best colored elastic for face masks. We have shared elastics in different colors that you can check out and purchase.
Is it Ideal to Purchase Elastic Online?
Yes, it is ideal to purchase elastic online for the simple reason that you can have a wide array of choices. You can click one online seller to another and check out the elastics that they are selling. Moreover, you can shop at any time of the day and have your order delivered right at your doorsteps.
You have reached the end of this post about the best width of elastic for face masks. We hope that the information that we have shared helped you decide about the right elastic that you will use for your DIY face mask. If you search online, you can find a wide array of elastics in different widths that you can choose from. Always consider your preferences and the mask pattern that you are making when choosing the width of the elastic. Thank you for reading!