5 Minute Disposable Mask With Ties or Elastic Ear Loops

Introduction: 5 Minute Disposable Mask With Ties or Elastic Ear Loops

This mask is made quickly using SMMS fabric (sometimes called paper). SMMS is the blue fabric widely used in the medical and dental industries. SMMS (spunbond, meltblown, meltblown, spunbond) non-woven fabric is made from 100% polypropylene. You can find it easily online by searching for 'sterile wrap', 'surgical wrap', or 'sterilization wrap'.

There are different types of medical fabric out there, including SMS. I used SMMS, 40g. This is intended for single use masks. I do not recommend washing and re-wearing.

Instructions are included for ties or elastic ear loops.

You can also use this pattern to make disposable filters for your reusable cotton masks, just skip the ties/elastic loops and modify the size as needed.


SMMS Fabric (I used 20" x 20" sheets in 40g weight)
Scissors or Rotary Cutter and Mat
Serger or Sewing Machine
Pins or clips
1/4" or 1/8" elastic (optional)

Step 1: Cut Body of Mask

Take 1 piece of 20" x 20" fabric.

Fold in half and cut down the center to create two 10" x 20" pieces. There is no right or wrong side to this fabric.

Save the second piece for making ties or a second mask body.

Step 2: Fold Body of Mask

Your first 10" x 20" piece is already folded in half from cutting. Firmly crease this fold.

Double fold the ends 1/2" to tuck the raw edges under and pin. (I used a ruler for the demonstration but there is no need to be this precise.)

Do not fold the sides under. You will sew or serge these later.

Step 3: Fold Pleats

Turn the piece over and turn the double folded end towards you. (I move the pins to the front of the fabric at this step).

Start pulling the fabric up towards you to make accordion style folds. They will be ~3/4" - 1" folds. Remember, this is disposable. It just needs to be functional, not a work of art.

Aim for ~4 folds. If the first crease from cutting becomes misshapen during folding just press a new crease at the bottom (functional, not perfect!)

The total height of the mask should be ~3 inches after folding. Adjust any of the folds as necessary to achieve this. The fabric is very forgiving. Just DO NOT iron! Embrace the mistakes. It gives it character.

This is the most laborious step. Once you have mastered this step you will be spitting out masks in no time!

Step 4: Cut Ties

Put the fold body of the mask aside for now.
( Skip to Step 8 for elastic ear loop option)

Use the remaining 10" x 20" piece from cutting the body to make ties. You will have enough for 3+ masks from the remaining piece.

Cut the pieces 3/4" x 20". The fabric it will not fray. There is no need to double fold or create bias tape.

Step 5: Add Ties to Mask

Take your folded mask body and place it in front of you again.

Place two ties on top of the pleats on each side of the mask. (I prefer to use clips because it allows you to slide the ties in without fumbling to re-pin and disturbing the folded pleats.)

Step 6: Sew

Now it's time to sew or serge the edges. I use a 1/3"-1/2" seam on the serger to make sure I get a good edge and contain all of the pleats.

If sewing, I would recommend a 1/2" seam.

Remember to keep the ends of the ties out of the sewing path.

Remove the pins from the center, trim your threads, and you're done!

Step 7: Optional Elastic Ear Loops

Take your folded mask body from Step 3 and place it in front of you again.

Cut two pieces of 1/4" or 1/8" elastic to 7" - 7 1/2". This will take some adjustment. I find that 7 1/4" fits my face the best. The length of your elastic will also be determined by the size of your seam when sewing/serging and how stretchy the elastic is.

Place one loop of elastic on top of the pleats on each side of the mask. Make sure the elastic is not twisted, this becomes uncomfortable during wear. (I prefer to use clips because it allows you to slide the elastic in without fumbling to re-pin and disturbing the folded pleats.)

Sew or serge per instructions in Step 6.

Wear per instructions in Step 7.

Step 8: Wearing

There is no right or wrong side of this mask, though I prefer to keep the ties or elastic in the front and the double folded raw edge on my nose (it's thicker).

Tie the ties around the back of your head or place the elastic ear loops over your ears.

Hold the nose of the mask then pull the accordion pleats below your chin.

I recommend single use. However, if you remove it multiple times during the day (for non-medical use), keep track of the inside and outside of the mask so you're not cross contaminating yourself and those around you.

Stay safe!

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    Elaina M
    Elaina M

    2 years ago

    Great mask pattern. I had never heard of SMMS fabric - thanks for sharing :)