Healthcare facilities are  currently facing a serious PPE shortage. The worst part is that many healthcare workers have to work without basic protective supplies. As a result, many hospitals and medical facilities are using sewn masks along with their PPE. We’ve put together this informative page that breaks down step by step instructions so that anyone with the tools, skills and time to create masks can reference.

Please keep in mind that each facility has individual needs and guidelines. Make sure to contact them to inquire before you start making any masks. 

Follow along as designer, Barbara Kavchok, breaks down step by step instructions on how to make your own mask. 


Cut fabric, ideally 2 different prints (this is done so that medical staff can recognize which side is the front and which is the back so that they don’t put it on the wrong way after using). The sizes should be: 
Length: 9 1/2 in.
Width: 7 in.


Place both pieces of fabric on top of each other wrong side to wrong side (you will turn it inside out later).


Sew a stitch along the sides of the entire perimeter – a quarter of an inch from the end, leaving a small gap in order to be able to turn the fabric inside out later. 


From that opening, turn the fabric inside out so that you see the front of each piece on the outside. 

Pro Tip: When making a lot of masks, do everything in sections. For example: stitch all of the fabric first, turn all pieces of fabric inside out next, etc. This way, you get through more masks at a faster rate.


Go over and make a top stitch very close to the edges of the fabric, making sure to sew the opening that was previously left open. Only stitch the top and bottom of the fabric (the longer sides). This top stitch is very important because it will reinforce the mask, especially since it will be rewashed multiple times.


Pleat the fabric – this can either be done with pins or if you’re a more advanced sewer, you can measure by looking at it. There should be 3 pleats total. Stitch one way then, without cutting the thread, go back and stitch over it the other way. Feel free to repeat this step 2-3 times. 


Repeat Step 6 on the other side, making sure to take the same amount of fabric per pleat. Also, at this time, cut all extra thread, but be careful not to cut the fabric while doing this. Important: make sure the fabric is pleated in the same direction! 


Cut the straps. If you’re using shoelaces, ribbon or any other type of non-elastic fabric, each strap should be 20 inches long. If you’re using elastic, each piece should be 7 inches long. You will need 4 straps of you’re using ribbon or shoelaces and 2 if you’re using elastic. For this step, you could use either option, it depends on what you have available. 


Select which side will be the inside and place your straps there, making sure to turn in the edge so that there are no ‘raw edges’. Top stitch over the straps a few times to make sure that it is securely fastened. Each side should have 2 straps, one on each corner. Cut your extra threads. 

And that's it.

We’d love to know whether this tutorial was helpful, especially if you think you’d like to make them to help our cause.

Contact us via Instagram or on our contact form to be part of the Hands On Masks team.

These healthcare HEROES need all the help we can give them. 


All content found on, including: text, images, audio or other formats were created for informational purposes only. Content on this site is NOT intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding PPE and the appropriate protection during this pandemic.

The aim of this website is to connect medical staff in need of personal protective equipment (PPE) with the general public or anyone who can provide these items. We do not stock nor do we have access to any PPE of any kind. We do not sell masks or accept money in exchange for them.

Hands On Masks started from the need of helping medical and healthcare workers on the front lines have access to basic personal protective equipment, specifically handmade non-surgical masks. It was started by a group of people that felt the obligation as humans to help the healthcare workers and those on the front lines. We will continue to make masks until this pandemic is under control.

Please note that according to the CDC, it is recommended that all social distancing precautions are still in place even when wearing a mask.