Looking for the elusive and sold out elastic band for DIY face masks? Look around your home, your garage, your trunk, your craft stash and you will find substitutions for the elastic bands being used to make ear loops for homemade face masks. In under an hour of searching I came up with 17 Elastic Hacks to use when making homemade face masks.
I started a keen surveillance of the house – looking at the house with a different eye – an eye toward what could be could be used to substitute for the sold out elastic band or cord used for the DIY face masks. I was surprised at the number of items already in my house that could be used to make earl loops for homemade face masks or ties for the DIY face mask.
This is elastic I found in a very old sewing box. Look at the price! This elastic is probably 40 years old.
After I finished looking in every niche, cranny, craft box, wrapping paper box, kitchen drawers I headed to the garage and then to the car and then to the trunk and items starting leaping out that could be DIY’ed into use to secure a homemade face mask. Groups have been forming to supply hospitals, shelters, outreach workers with DIY masks. Two weeks ago it was a thought and the hospitals in my area were not accepting homemade masks; that has changed since the end of March.
The DIY face mask is NOT a medical grade mask also known as a surgical mask. The efficiency of the DIY home mask is and has been debated. The CDC as of today, April 2, 2020 has not issued a recommendation. The WHO (World Health Organization) offers these tips and best practice if you are using any type of face mask. April 3, 2020 Update: CDC recommends cloth face coverings.
After completing my tour of the house and every drawer, shelf, closet and craft stash I found my favorite 17 Elastic Hacks to substitute for elastic band when making your DIY face mask. The elastic hacks can be used to make ear loops or ties for the face masks.
17 Elastic Hacks For Homemade Face Masks
1. Bottom Bed Sheet
Yes! The bottom sheet from your bed is a fabulous source of elastic band. The bands are usually thick and can be cut lengthwise to make into elastic bands for face mask.
2. Thick Elastic Cord
For reasons unknown I found a roll of thick elastic band in the craft closet. This band can be also be cut apart lengthwise into thirds to make 1/4 inch elastic bands.
3. Fleece Scraps
Anti pill or regular fleece can make very flexible and sturdy ties for the masks. You want to find the stretchy ‘grain’ of the fleece. Hold the fleece in each hand and pull to the side – does it stretch? If yes, you have found the correct side.
If no, flip the fleece vertically, holding one side of the fabric in each hand and pull to the side – does it stretch? If yes, that is the side to cut the fleece strips from to make ties. After the ties have been cut, 1/4 inch in width is a good size, again with one end of each tie in each hand, pull the fleece strip and the fleece will become stronger and longer for a solid tie.
4. Cotton Material
Cotton material works very well. Any scraps will do or cut apart cotton clothes or sheets. Material can be cut 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch wide and then folded and sewn into ties.
The cord used for crafting (think dollar store if they are open) make great ear loops! Very sturdy, not as flexible as elastic but the cord will work!
6. Ponytail Holders
Start searching the bathroom for the ponytail holders or the hair scrunchies. Ponytail holders can be tweaked to make ear loops for the DIY face masks.
7. Satin Ribbon
Satin ribbon from the craft stash is another sturdy ribbon that does not unravel or fray. Satin ribbon makes very nice face mask ties.
8. Wire Ribbon
I also found old pieces of wire ribbon which again can be DIY ed into ties and the wire adds a flexibility and strength.
9. Eye Mask
I found an old eye mask to block out the light when sleeping and … perfect elastic band to use for the DIY mask!
10. Gift Bag Rope
Look in your stash of gift bags and shopping bags! I found many of the larger sturdier bags had stretchy rope for the handles. Cut the rope from the bag to use for mask ties if long enough or can be sewn into the mask as an ear loop.
As I was cruising through the hold anything kitchen drawer I found two pairs of shoelaces! One pair was flexible elastic shoelaces which made perfect ear loops for a mask. The regular shoelaces make great sturdy ties.
12. Nylons or Pantyhose
I did not know I even had any nylons, but lo and behold a pair of knee high nylons was hiding in the closet. The nylons can be cut to be used for ties and if you are a sewer, the end of each nylon tie can be sewn across to secure.
13. Dog Leash
Yes, the dog leash! If you have a flexi leash then you will notice the fleece is actually elastic! This is a more firm elastic which a sewer can easily cover in fabric if desired. I cut apart the leash and used the elastic as is for ties.
14. Floral Tape
Floral tape is amazingly strong and stretchy! The tape can be used as ties or mask ear loops. I found the tape worked better as ties and depending upon the width of the tape, the tape can be cut in half for a very sturdy tie.
15. Racquet Overgrip
Any tennis players, pickleball players in your house? Check out the overgrip tape frequently used by anyone who plays a racquet sport. Some of the tapes can be tacky on the outside and can be covered with material to make ear loop ties. Overgrip tape is not as stretchy as elastic, but has enough give and strength to make a tie.
16. Tie From Paintbrush Storage Bag
More flexible rope! Looking through the DIY bin I found the paintbrush holder which had the stretchy rope like a gift bag.
17. Bungee Cord
What is in the middle of a bungee cord? Elastic! Who knew. I cut apart an old bungee cord that was hanging on the garage wall. I found a wealth of very thin elastic which can easily be covered with material to make ties or loops.
Donating Homemade Face Masks
Please! Please! Check with the organization first before deciding upon a pattern for the masks.
The requirements vary and also change – sometimes daily as the hospitals, volunteers, non profits and outreach groups adapt to this ever changing environment.
I will include a few of my favorite very easy tutorials at the end of this post. I also look toward what can be made easily by the DIY’er, not the accomplished sewer. The masks are easy to make, this is not a time for fashion but for functionality.