Repurposing Ideas for Face Masks

Repurposing Ideas for Face Masks

While we’re not there yet, my hope is that in the near-ish future, we won’t need to wear face masks constantly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to wear them until we’re at comfortably safe place! But, if you’re anything like me, you’ll ultimately be left with a pile of masks and unsure what to do with them. So, I thought it might be fun to come up with a few repurposing ideas for a fabric face mask (which is the kind of I’ve been wearing for the past year).

Besides, I can’t imagine that thrift stores will want ANY cloth face masks in your upcoming donations, and throwing them out seems wasteful.

But for me, personally? I already have a few where the elastic has gotten stretched out and/or I bought ones that were too uncomfortable to wear.

cotton face masks

So, I wondered- what could I do with old face masks? Could they be repurposed somehow?

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What To Do With All Those Face Masks

Sometime last year, I purchased a pair of festive embroidered face masks that I thought were just SO pretty. But, as luck would have it, they were HORRIBLY uncomfortable.

So, I set them aside and never, ever wore them.

They were pretty enough to keep, though, so I decided to turn one into a coin purse! All I needed were some basic sewing supplies and a 2” frog closure.

repurposing a cotton face mask

First, I removed the elastic ear bands. I pulled the elastic taut and used my seam ripper to cut the stitches that held it in place.

removing elastic from a cotton mask

Since that left a bit of an opening in the corners of my fabric face mask, I proceeded to whip-stitch them closed.

upcycling project for a reusable face mask

After that, I folded the face mask in half and pinned the frog closure over the top. I kept it closed/looped so that I knew exactly where to place it.

how to attach a frog closure

From Fabric Face Mask to DIY Change Purse

Next, I carefully stitched each half of the frog closure onto the face mask.

making a coin purse from a reusable face mask

Once again, I folded the mask in half, hooked the closure, and pinned it together near the top opening.

upcycling project for a DIY face mask

I strategically placed each straight pin ½” from the top to indicate where my stitching should stop. Going all the way to the top would have resulted in a very tiny opening in my coin purse.

Lastly, I stitched the sides of my DIY coin purse on my machine. I tried to go over the existing stitches…

But perfectly straight lines in sewing projects is NOT something I’m good at!

diy coin purse from a face mask

And just like that, I had repurposed one of my COVID face masks into a change purse in just a few minutes. It was so easy!

what to do with COVID face masks

Business Card Holder or Gift Card Sleeve from a Fabric Mask

For this repurposing idea, I used a pleated face mask that I had sewn last year. The elastic wasn’t quite shot, but it had gotten stretched out and the mask constantly slipped off my nose.

Once again, I began by snipping off the elastic bands right at the edge of the mask. Pulling them as I snipped help hide any frayed edges.

upcycling a pleated face mask

Then, I ironed the pleats until they were crisp and proceeded to stitch the pleats down with contrasting thread.

recycling ideas for face masks

This resulted in a relatively flat surface and would prevent the pleats from getting snagged while in my purse.

Lastly, I folded the cotton face mask in half and pressed it with my iron. Then, I simply used my sewing machine to stitch down the sides and bottom to create a (relatively) flat card sleeve.

making a reusable gift card sleeve

Now I can use it to hold business cards or a gift card!

card wallet from a cloth face mask

And yes, that’s a Halloween cat (Swami cat!) fabric on the inside. I wore a Halloween mask all year in 2020 and I got a LOT of compliments on it.

Cloth Face Mask as a Decorative Patch

For my third face mask recycle, I decided to turn one into a decorative patch. I already had a plain canvas makeup bag to use it on, which worked out wonderfully.

how to recycle face masks

First, I used my seam ripper to undo the side pleats from the cotton face mask.

how to reuse a cute face mask

Then, I trimmed off all the excess fabric (and elastic bands, of course), leaving me just the embroidered panel which I’d use as a patch.

turning a cloth face mask into a patch

Next, I stitched the raw edges of my mask into some ¼” bias tape to give my patch a clean and finished look.

using bias tape on raw edges

All I needed to do then was attach my face mask patch to the canvas bag! How easy was that?

repurposing a cloth face mask

I stuck a rectangle of aluminum foil inside the makeup bag before using fabric glue to attach the patch. As added insurance, I also added a few stitches at each of the four corners, once the glue dried.

When all was said and done, my repurposed face masks were as cute as could be. And none of them took more than 30 minutes or so to complete.

upcycling projects for COVID face masks

Repurposing Ideas for Face Masks

I just LOVE how each of my repurposed face mask projects turned out! They’re all very easy upcycling ideas that any level of crafter could do.

repurposing ideas for face masks

However, I think the patch on my makeup bag is my favorite of the three. It looks like a bag I’d pick up at a boutique. And then probably put back because I’m a cheapskate and wouldn’t want to pay that much for it!

repurposing ideas for a cotton face mask

Do you think you’ll be upcycling any of your COVID face masks once we don’t need to wear them anymore?

I’ll definitely save a few for future use- flu season, airplanes, etc. But throwing out my other masks seems wasteful (and maybe careless, since many of mine were handmade).

recycling projects for COVID masks

And while all cloth masks are different in terms of construction and appearance, it’s fun to think of ways to recycle them for future use!

ways to recycle face masks after COVID

*****

Speaking of which, I’ve teamed up with my friend, The Refashionista, on this mask-repurposing adventure. Check out what she did with this mask on her blog!

recycled face mask by the refashionista

*****

And for even more simple sewing projects, make sure you check out my book, “Crafting with Flannel”. For both sewists and non-sewists, it’s full of ideas for cozy crafting for all year long.

Craft book on flannel fabric

Craft on!

S

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ways to repurpose your cloth face masks

upcycling ideas for COVID face masks

Comments

  1. Good morning. I love all of your ideas for up-cycling your face masks. I, too, love the one where you put it as a patch on an already-owned canvas makeup bag. My question is, “How did you attach it to the bag? Did you hand sew it? Thanks in advance for your reply to my question.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      I realize now that I didn’t specify that- my apologies for that oversight! I’ve since added it to the tutorial, but I used some fabric glue to adhere it (with tin foil inside so that the glue couldn’t seep through), and then a few stitches at the corners. Thank you again for inquiring!

  2. On the makeup bag, did you sew the mask on? Or glue it? These are all great ideas! I found you through Jillian, I read her blog all the time! Thanks!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you SO MUCH, Melanie, for alerting me that I didn’t specify. I’ve since added it to the tutorial, but I used some fabric glue to adhere it (with tin foil inside so that the glue couldn’t seep through), and then a few stitches at the corners. I’m so glad you popped by- Jillian and I have thrift store blogging buddies for years, but rarely collaborate like this. I think we need to do it more often!

  3. WOW a great repurpose. I definitely Pinned this. I’m sure that many people would just discard their masks but when they see what you have done they will want to do what you did. Love it.

  4. Diane M Reid says

    Great way to repurpose. I make masks. Any I have left (plus fabric) will be cut up for
    a pandemic quilt. All my masks are made with 100% cotton. I have only a few that I
    machine embroidered and they will be cut apart and the embroidery used elswhere.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Love that, Diane! I think a pandemic quilt will be quite the story teller decades from now, just like the flour sack quilts of decades ago.

  5. I wish I had never had a face mask! Your post today gives me hope for the near future. Thanks for that! Smiles to all!

    I’m happy with your book! I had pre-ordered and will use your great ideas for sure!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      I’m sure all of us wish we never had to go through what we did last year- just memorably horrific!

  6. I love the embroidered patch on your makeup bag best, too! My favorite purchased mask says, “Christmas shopping is my cardio.” It is quite shaped, tho; it would make a great patch; I Christmas shop all year long. Some might make great doll bonnets with a back seam and a bit of lace trim??? Love the idea of a quilt!

  7. You are very clever,also thinking ahead. I agree that thrift stores would not accept old masks. Your s are really pretty. Someone mentioned making a quilt out of them .Great ideas .Have a blessed day and prayers for our times to get better.

  8. Repurposed Face Masks? Fabulous ideas Sarah! I love all of them!
    gail

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you so much! I hope it encourages a few folks to be less wasteful with them whenever that “no more masks” day comes.

  9. Sadie, I’m a newspaper editor who loves your coin purse tutorial. Could we share it with our readers?

Trackbacks

  1. […] You should also head over to my buddy Sara’s blog, Sadie Seasongoods, and check out the clever ways she’s repurposed these cloth masks: […]

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