What Type of Elastic is Used for Surgical Masks? [w/ Infographic]

What Type of Elastic is Used for Surgical Masks

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In this article, we will talk about what type of elastic to use for surgical masks. Due to the current pandemic, the general public is advised to wear face masks. Surgical masks are short on supply, and people are advised to wear cloth face masks. If you plan to make DIY surgical masks, you need to learn about the elastic used for making this type of mask.

What type of elastic is used for surgical masks? The round elastic band is used in making surgical masks. The elastic is a kind of rubber band that is braided of polyester and spandex threads. You can purchase the elastic on the market.

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.

What is round elastic band for surgical masks? Are there are any alternative elastics that you can use? These are some of the questions that we will answer in this article. When making any face mask, you need to make sure that you are using the right elastic. Check out the rest of this article for more information.

What type of elastic is used for surgical masks

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Why is Round Elastic Band Used for Making Surgical Masks?

Round elastic bands are soft, durable, and stretchy, making it a comfortable and practical choice for surgical masks.  It is a kind of rubber band that is made from spandex and polyester threads. It is a usual mask material used for both surgical masks and food masks. The premium materials give the elastic band amazing stretch and flexibility. It will not lose its elasticity or shape even with repeated use and return to its original length and shape after stretching. They are available in various widths, colors, and sizes.


Elastic bands are made of high-quality, long-lasting materials. Some are made of rubber-free materials, making it lighter than other elastic bands made of other materials. They come in various durability, so you can always choose an elastic band according to the face mask you will make.


Round elastic bands have amazing elasticity. In the range of allowable tensile elastic deformation, it can easily restore to its original length. They are made of elastic rubber that is coated with fabric, which makes it not only stretchy but also durable. This means that it will not break under pressure while stretching.

Easy to Work With

You can easily work with round elastic. They are easy to cut and attach to the mask. You can attach the elastic band by sewing, inserting it inside a casing, or even glue. It is flexible, so you can easily shape it to the mask that you are making.

What Width of Round Elastic Band is used for Surgical Masks?

There are different sizes of the round elastic bands available on the market. A lot of people suggest using 1/8 to ¼ size elastic for the surgical masks. The size is narrow enough to feel soft and comfortable on the skin but wide enough not to break easily after many uses. You can choose whatever your preferences might be. Usually, the narrower the elastic band, the more comfortable it will feel to wear most, especially right behind the ears.

Wider elastic bands can be uncomfortable because it can create friction against the skin that can lead to blisters most, especially after wearing the mask for many hours. Choose the best widths that is wide enough not to easily break even after many uses while soft narrow enough that it will feel comfortable against the skin, especially behind the ears. We have also written this article about the best width of elastics for face masks. You can check out the article for more tips and information.

What is the Best Length of Round Elastic for Surgical Masks?

There is no standard length of elastic required for making face masks. Many people suggest using 7 inches for ear loops and 23 inches for over the head strap. You can adjust the length according to your preferences and the pattern you are following. The best way to measure the length would be to try on the mask making sure that the elastic will secure the mask on your face giving it a snug fit. You can read this article about how long should the elastic be on a face mask to earn more about the topic.

✅ Video – Sewing Narrow Round Elastic for Face Masks

Deepwatermadshark shared the video below on YouTube on how to sew narrow round elastic for face masks. According to her, when she switched from braided flat to narrow round elastic for the ear loops, it took a while to learn how to sew the elastic without jamming the thread in the machine. She provided some tips on how to avoid that. Check out the video below for the visual demonstration.

What Other Types of Elastic Can You Use?

If round elastic bands are unavailable, you can use other types of elastics like braided elastic, woven elastic, and knitted elastic. These three are the common types of elastic used in face masks. You can use them when making homemade masks. They are readily available, and you can easily purchase them in your local craft store or online. Check out the features of the elastics below.

Braided Elastic

This type of elastic has parallel ribs that run its length. Braided elastic becomes narrower when stretched and also loses stretch when sewn or pierced with pins and needles. Because of this, it is ideally used in casings and not directly sewn into the fabric of the mask. Braided elastic is the most affordable and most popular type of elastic.

Woven Elastic

Wove elastic is also called no roll and is considered as the strongest garment elastic. Its vertical and horizontal ribs identify this type of elastic. It does not become narrower when stretched and does not lose resiliency when sewn directly into the fabric. This type of elastic is ideally used for heavyweight fabrics.

Knit Elastic

This type of elastic has a smooth appearance and is also soft and comfortable against the skin. It does not become narrow when stretched and is fine for sewing. You can pierce the elastic with a needle without weakening or damaging it. Knot elastic can be used for many purposes and is ideally used for lightweight to medium-weight fabrics. You can also check out this article that discussed the types of elastics used for face masks for more information.

***✅  INFOGRAPHIC ✅ *** – 9 Different Types of Elastics for Face Masks

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Types of Elastics for Face Masks

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Related Questions

How do I Sew a Homemade Surgical Face Mask?

There are many patterns and tutorials that you can follow to sew homemade face masks. Depending on your preferences, you can create a sewn or no-sew face mask. To easily adjust the length of elastic so that it can fit snugly on the face, you can insert the elastic on a casing and thie it in a knot rather than sewing it on the fabric of the mask.

Sweet Red PoppyOpens in a new tab. shared a tutorial on her website. Using step-by-step instructions, she demonstrates how to sew a homemade surgical mask that you can use when going out in public. Check out the materials needed and instructions on how to make the mask by clicking the link above.

What are Surgical Masks Made Of?

Medical grade surgical masks are made with a non-woven melt-blow polypropylene layer and come in various levels of protection. These masks are meant for single use so they cannot be washed and reused. On the other hand, you can make your own surgical mask using tightly-woven fabrics. You can be as creative as you want when making the mask. You can also add more layers and filters for added protection against air particles. These masks are washable and can be reused.

How do I Choose a Surgical Mask?

When purchasing surgical masks, make sure that it has three layers. These layers are an outer hydrophobic non-woven layer, a middle melt-blown layer, and an inner soft, absorbent non-woven layer. Each layer of the mask has its specific functions. The outer layer should repel water, blood, and fluids. The middle layer is designed as the filter and will stop air particles from entering or exiting the mask. The inner layer is intended to absorb, spit, water, and sweat. Note that there are many kinds of fashion masks available on the market that are not as effective as surgical masks. Before placing an order, make sure that you consider the features of the mask.


You have reached the end of this article discussing the type of elastic used in surgical masks. Surgical masks are usually made of a round elastic band that is lightweight and durable. This type of elastics comes in various sizes and materials. On the other hand, you can use other elastic when making homemade face masks. If you are interested in purchasing elastics for face masks, click the link at the top of this article for a wide array of choices. Thank you for reading!

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