Cloth Masks

Charlotte essential workers urgently need cloth face masks!

(credit: Lonna Levine)

The city needs hundreds of masks as soon as possible for police officers, fire fighters, public transit employees, and sanitation workers.  We’re working hard to create protective gear for medical workers and essential city employees. And you can help!

Step 1. Make some masks!

Below are several approved mask designs. Use the one that works with the materials you have at hand, and check here often for updates. 

(Photo Source: US Department of Defense)

Instructions for Making Masks that use Ties

Instructions for Making Masks that use Elastic

Instructions for Making a Laser-Cut* Mask (Either elastic or ties)

  • Laser-Cut mask (This link includes files for laser cutting, but you can also cut out the patterns using scissors)

Step 2. Disinfect the Masks

It’s critical for makers to carefully disinfect masks before packaging. 

Put 100% cotton masks in a 160°F oven for 30 minutes to disinfect them.
If you used a poly-blend fabric, this will still probably work, but test one mask first to assure there’s no melting.
Alternately, you can wash the masks in hot water with (preferably mild, unscented) detergent, then air dry.
Wear gloves or use sanitized wipes or tongs any time you are handling the masks after disinfecting them.

Step 3. Package the Masks

Use gloves, sanitized wipes, or sanitized tongs to place the masks in a plastic bag. If making both youth and adult size masks, place youth masks in one bag and adult masks in another. Clear bags are preferred, but use what you have!
Write the following on the bag, or on a piece of tape attached to the bag: Your first name, last initial; the date; the number of masks in the bag; and if the masks are for adult or youth sized. 

Step 4. Drop-Off the Masks

Please take your masks to one of the Charlotte MEDI drop off locations.


Q. What if I don’t have materials to start sewing?
A. If you need materials to start sewing, please sign up with our partners at Carolina Masks. It may take Charlotte MEDI some time to get fabric donations, so please sign up with Carolina Masks as well, since they have an established network for getting materials to sewers. 

Q. What if I don’t have bias tape/elastic?
A. There are several different mask styles, so choose the one that fits the materials you have around the house. (There’s also a nice video tutorial for making your own bias tape.)
Q. Is it okay to use a different design I’m already sewing?A. Probably, but sign up on the form and send us a link to the design, just in case. 

Q. Can I share these designs with friends who don’t want to sign up?
A. Yes! Just ask them to bookmark and check the Charlotte MEDI website before starting a new batch for important updates.

Q. Where do I take the masks when they’re done?
A. After making five or more masks, take them to one of the Charlotte MEDI drop-off locations.  

Q. Can technology make this faster?
A. Very likely! Charlotte MEDI is testing a laser cut mask design created by Craft Passion. More news on this soon!

Q. Can people outside of the Charlotte Metro area also make masks?
A. YES! But your friend’s own town/city probably needs masks locally as well.  If you live far outside of Charlotte, but are still in North or South Carolina, please sign up at Carolina Masks which is serving wider areas in both those states. If you’re outside of the Carolinas, please check to find out how you can best help your own region.