Upcycling Ideas: How to Reuse Fabric Face Masks

10 Materials
$5
30 Minutes
Easy

Like me, you’ve probably accumulated quite a few masks by now and may be looking to get rid of a few, especially now that mandates have eased in most places.


Hopefully, you haven’t tossed them out yet, because, in this tutorial, I’ll show you a few upcycling ideas you can use.


Of course, not all cloth masks are made equally, so you may have to do some workarounds with what you have. I’ll be using fitted and pleated styles, and this tutorial only applies to washable cloth face masks. Let’s jump right in.

Tools and materials:

  • Pleated face masks
  • Fitted face masks
  • Hand sewing materials
  • Cord
  • Ribbon
  • Grosgrain ribbon
  • T-shirt
  • Grommets
  • Scissors
  • Leather scrap
Knee/elbow patch

1. Knee/elbow patch

Masks can be reused in the same way as elbow or knee patches for jeans to mend holes or for reinforcement.


In my case, it’s purely decorative. Any style mask could work for this, but I went with the fitted style.

Knee/elbow patch

You can sew them on hand by using a simple running stitch. I also sewed the base of the curve to give the patch added structure.

Bow applique

2. Bow applique

I didn’t have enough masks to complete this project, but here’s another super easy way to reuse your masks. You’ll need three or more masks to do this.

Bow applique

Simply fold the center of the mask to create a bow. Then, sew the back to secure it.

Bow applique

Lay them out however you want on a shirt or even a dress before sewing them on.

Bow applique

Here’s another layout idea. Let me know in the comments which one you prefer.

Bralette DIY: Fitted version

3. Bralette DIY: Fitted version

For this upcycle, I did two versions for each style mask. For the fitted version, you need two fitted masks to create the bralette overlay. 

Bralette DIY: Fitted version

Pin the masks over the bust area, overlapping them in the center front.

Bralette DIY: Fitted version

Thread some cord through the mask where the ear loops used to be, making sure both sides are both the same length and hand-sew them at the shoulders.

Bralette DIY: Fitted version

To finish it off, tie the ends into a bow and trim any excess cord.


You could wear this DIY bralette under loose clothing.

Bralette DIY: Pleated version

4. Bralette DIY: Pleated version 

For the pleated version, you’ll need two pleated masks with one ear loop still attached and an old t-shirt.

Bralette DIY: Pleated version

Start by cutting three strips: one five inches wide for the bra band and two an inch wide for the straps. 

Bralette DIY: Pleated version

To make easy, no-sew spaghetti straps, hold the strips from both ends and pull them taut.

Bralette DIY: Pleated version

Cut open the bra band. As for the bra band, cut it open at the center front.

Bralette DIY: Pleated version

Tuck the masks into the band. Fold the bra band in half, wrong sides together, then tuck the two masks inside around the middle of the band, along with the seam allowance.

Bralette DIY: Pleated version

Attach the straps and ribbon. To keep the mask lying flat, I had to do a little workaround and came up with this double strap design.


In the back, I added a couple of grommets on each side and finished it off with a piece of matching ribbon.


Again, you could wear this DIY bralette under loose clothing.

Bralette DIY: Pleated version and drawstring bag

5. Drawstring bucket bag

For this upcycle, I used four pleated masks, a circle cut from leather scrap for the base, a grosgrain ribbon, grommets, and cording.

Drawstring bucket bag

First, sew all of the masks together and cut out your base from leather fabric.


To get the size base that you need, divide the width of the mask by pi (3.14), then round off the total to the nearest whole number.

Drawstring bucket bag

Attach the masks to the base with the right sides facing. I used heavy-duty thread and leather needles when sewing and went very slow.

Drawstring bucket bag

Sew on the shoulder straps. Wrap the ends of the cord in grosgrain ribbon to prevent it from unraveling and then sew each side in place.

Drawstring bucket bag

Calculate and mark the spacing for each grommet along the top of the bag, then cut away the marked holes before installing the grommets.

Drawstring bucket bag

To finish it off, cut another piece of cord for the drawstring and feed it through the grommets. Knot the ends.


Upcycling ideas: How to reuse fabric face masks

There you have it! That’s 4-5 ways you can upcycle your old face masks into something fashionable. Let me know down below which project you would attempt.

Suggested materials:
  • Pleated face masks
  • Fitted face masks
  • Hand sewing materials
See all materials

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Comments
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2 of 20 comments
  • Heather Heather on Jan 03, 2023

    Pamela I agree with you. Too many lives lost and this is not beaten yet. I still use mine too. Each to their own but better safe than sorry.

  • Gloria Gloria on Jan 03, 2023

    The only one of these ideas I would possibly consider is the drawstring bucket bag. The others don't interest me at all.

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