Sustainable CSR Projects. Corporate & Event Gifting. Circular Economy & Ethical Sourcing.

Upcycle Your Own Face Mask Tutorial

Making your own face mask from an old dress or shirt is environonmentally friendly and fun too! I designed this mask so that you can conveniently make one at home without the need of a sewing machine. All you need is a needle and thread.

I always have old buttons laying around, so this is a clever way to reuse them. Also, I find that my reusable masks always break at the ear loop where the elastic unattaches from the mask. By using my button method for attaching your ear loop, your mask will last longer because it is tied on and not sewn on so you can easily reattach it or replace it.  

Follow these easy steps below -

Materials -

Fabric scissors (or sharp scissors), ruler, cotton thread, sewing needle, sewing pins, 4 old buttons repurposed from an existing shirt, ribbon or elastic, an old or unwanted dress/shirt in cotton or breathable fabric.

Instructions -

1. Lay out your unwanted dress/shirt flat on a table to prepare for cutting it into the shape required for your mask. I like to use the bottom part of the seam so that I don't need to re-sew this section, and the middle seam where the front of the dress is sewn connect to the back of the dress (this will be your nose bridge). If you're not sure, any part of the dress is fine as long as it's big enough to cut out the fabric pattern outlined in step 2.

upcycle dress

2. Cut out a square size 22cm x 22cm. This size is suitable for a small adult face (myself) or a kid's size. You can add 4 cm for men and go down 2-4 cm for smaller children. The square doesn't have to be perfectly aligned, as long as you have a square that is somewhat 22cm x 22cm because you will be sewing it in the next step.

upcycle dress

upcycle dress

3. Fold the square in half to make a rectangle. As previously mentioned, I like to use the existing centre seam of my dress, so that this centre seam becomes the nose bridge centre part of my mask. Not essential.

4. Sew around the rectangle outter rim. I like to double fold it so that the fabric doesn't fray. I also use pins to hold the hem in place while I sew around the rectangle.

upcycle mask

5. Once you have sewn around the entire rectangle, place buttons on each corner edge on the front of your mask. This will be used to attach your elastic or ribbon for your ear loop.

make your own mask

6. Pinch the centre of the rectangle between the buttons on each end so that this becomes the bridge for your nose. Sew this in place. This sounds harder than it is. If you place the mask over your nose and mouth, you will see that you need to fold it half way with a little pinch to close the gap around your cheek and counture the mask around your nose. I use a pin to hold it into place. This step doesn't need to be precise, it's usually half way down the sides.

make your own mask

7. Tie your ribbon/elastic around the buttons to loop to your ears.

make your own mask


Your mask is complete! Follow the steps in my video here