Sew Simple: DIY Face Mask Project for Elementary School Kids

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Tess DiNapoli is an artist, freelance writer and content strategist. She has a passion for yoga and often writes about health and wellness, but also enjoys covering the fashion industry and the world of fitness.

Are you searching for a fun and crafty hobby to enjoy with your kids? A DIY cloth face mask is a simple and entertaining sewing project. Creative kids will love to add this to their rainy day to-do activity list. Creating face masks may even spark their passion for sewing. 

Kids will love making personal face masks they can relate to. Awesome fabric designs like animals, colorful tie dye, or even their favorite TV show and movie themes are abundant. This DIY face mask project can be hand-sewn or created on a sewing machine. Your kiddo can settle into their comfortable craft zone! 

We’re keeping this DIY project simple for little beginners and their parents.

Benefits of a Cloth Face Mask   

COVID continues to hang around for the unforeseeable future. So, it’s a safe bet your children will need a face mask. They must continue attending school, participating in extracurricular activities, shopping with you, and live every day. You want them to be safe. 

Disposable masks are fine, but they get dirty quickly. Let’s face it, kids will be kids, and you can’t keep them from having fun. And you can’t keep their masks from getting dirty, either. Don’t throw your money down the drain to replace disposable masks week after week. 

Cloth masks are a much better option. Cloth masks can be reused and laundered as frequently as you see fit. You and your kids will also love the amusement of changing out cloth masks to match the seasons and holidays! 

Supplies for DIY Face Masks

Birds-eye view of someone making a DIY face mask out of fabric

Are you ready to dive into this fun DIY mask project with your kids? For someone who is experienced at sewing, this project will take about ten minutes on a sewing machine. But, it’s perfectly okay to take your time and enjoy the process with your child. Crafting is all about having fun and enjoying the moment. 

And when you are done, they will have a finished product they can be proud to wear around and show off to their friends and classmates. 

Here’s what you’re going to need to complete this simple sewing project: 

  • Two pieces of cotton cloth (we suggest using a cotton cloth that has a tight weave, like quilting cotton) 
  • 1/8″ braided and flat elastic (woven elastic is not recommended)
  • A sewing machine or simple sewing needles
  • Thread
  • Cutting mat
  • Rotary cutter
  • Ruler
  • Straight pins
  • Iron and ironing board or pressing mat
  • Scissors

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Face Mask Sizes

Face masks need to be sized differently based on your child’s age and development. You might decide to make some masks for yourself, or your child might even make fantastic masks for their younger siblings. You can show your child how to decide which mask size is appropriate for their age group and face shape. Here is a helpful guideline for the sizes of cotton cloth and elastic strips you will need based on general ages:

  • Small (ages 3-4):

Two pieces of cloth measuring 4.5″ x 6″ and two pieces of elastic measuring 5.5″

  • Medium (ages 5-9): 

Two pieces of cloth measuring 5″ x 7″ and two pieces of elastic measuring 6″

  • Large (ages 10-14): 

Two pieces of cloth measuring 5.5″ x 8″ and two pieces of elastic measuring 6.5″

  • Teen and adult (ages 15 and over): 

Two pieces of cloth measuring 6″ x 9″ and two pieces of elastic measuring 7″

Related: The 34 Best Board Games For The Whole Family

Assembling the Face Mask

Someone sewing a face mask

Step 1

Using your cutting mat, rotary cutter, and ruler, cut your cotton cloth and elastic strips to the correct size. Use the guidelines above. You can create a face mask with the same fabric design on each side.

Or, if you are feeling more adventurous, you can choose two different fabric designs for the front and back and create a reversible face mask. 

Step 2

Place your fabric rectangles on top of each other so that the designs are facing one another. You will want to leave a small opening on one corner. This opening will leave you enough room to flip the mask to the right side when you are done. 

Start with one of the long sides and measure 1 ½” in and ¼” down from the corner. Use a backstitch to secure your starting point. The stitching around the entire mask should be about ¼” away from the edge. Sew across the long side of the mask and turn the first corner. 

Step 3

On the first side of the mask, sew another ½” and stop to add your elastic. You will want to sandwich your elastic loops in between the fabric pieces so they will be on the outside when you flip them right side out. Bring the elastic to the edge of your fabric pieces and securely sew it in place at the ½” mark. Then, continue sewing your edge seam until you are a ½” from the next corner. Securely sew the other end of the same elastic piece here. 

Continue to sew around the edge of the face mask and secure the elastic on the other side too.

Step 4

There should be a 1 ½” gap between the last corner and your initial starting point when you come to the last corner. Use this gap to turn the cloth and elastic pieces inside out so you can see the elastic loops and the design of the fabric. Are the corners sharp, crisp, and completely turned out? If they aren’t, you can use a chopstick, pencil, or similar item to push them out.

Step 5

Next, use your straight pins to make two pleats on each of the sides of the mask. Fold your mask over in an “N” shape to create the two pleats. Pin two straight pins on both short sides of the face mask to secure them in place. Try to fold the fabric to create two pleats that are similar in size. But be careful and don’t fold the fabric over the elastic bands.

Step 6

Now it’s time to sew around the edges again. Try to sew a top stitch about ⅛” around the entire mask. Start at the 1 ½” gap to close that section up. Continue to sew around the first long edge. Turn the corner and stitch down the side edge. 

Now, turn back around and sew over the short edge again to add strength to that side. You can turn the mask around again and sew the side a third time. Sewing over the short edges multiple times will help add life and longevity to your child’s face mask. Kids can be rough with their apparel.

Step 7

Finally, heat your iron and take out your ironing board or pressing mat. Press your face mask to make it look nice and neat. 

Add Personalization 

Two elementary kids wearing a face mask on their face

Another customization you can do is to add embroidery or simple fabric paint to your child’s mask. Consider labeling it with their name. It’s an added detail that will make for a lovely personalized finished product. 

No one will get their face mask confused with your child’s when they are at school. Personalized face masks are also great projects that kids can give as gifts to grandparents and parents for holidays and special occasions.

Short on Time?

Are you short on time? Or do you have a classroom full of students with whom you want to do a DIY face mask project? You can always grab a set of DIY face mask sewing kits. These kits come with precut fabrics in different designs and elastic straps with adjustable sliders to fit any face. DIY face mask sewing kits are a convenient, quick, and easy activity to inspire and entertain all kinds of kids.

As we’ve recently seen, there’s no exception to who can and can’t contract serious illnesses like COVID or even the common flu. A face mask is a smart and safe way to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy in these uncertain times. Wearing a handmade face mask can be a great way to express yourself. Give this simple DIY face mask project a try today and fill your kids with a creative and inspirational hobby.
You might also be interested in: 21 Decoration Ideas For The Kid’s Room [A Perfect DIY Guide]

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