Make a no-sew face mask in 5 minutes with UAB Arts in Medicine

To make your own mask, you will need a T-shirt, sharp scissors, pen or marker, and a ruler.

Editor's Note: The information published in this story is accurate at the time of publication. Always refer to for UAB's current guidelines and recommendations relating to COVID-19.

Make your own face mask with no sewing necessary using a T-shirt and sharp scissors in just five minutes.

A T-shirt mask tutorial from Lillis Taylor, artist-in-residence with the Institute for Arts in Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, shows how to make a mask that properly covers the nose and mouth, including the chin. The tutorial includes a demonstration of best practices for removing the mask after use and for washing and drying it. The video is posted on the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center’s YouTube page, along with other activities and lessons.

Masks or face coverings are required in all public places in Birmingham effective May 1. The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday morning unanimously approved the ordinance requiring face coverings for all age 2 and older.

To make your own, start with a T-shirt at least 18 inches long folded in half or 36 inches long unfolded, sharp scissors, pen or marker, and a ruler. The demonstration includes pointers on how to remove your mask properly and wash in between uses. Hand-wash your T-shirt mask in hot, soapy water by hand, and line-dry until completely dry before using. Alternating between two masks is encouraged.

You can have fun making your mask, Taylor says.

“If you have a T-shirt with an awesome image that you would like to be on your mask, you can make one the way the video demonstrates and then use it as a template for other masks,” Taylor said.

Tips on how best to wear a face mask to effectively reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus have been provided by Rachael Lee, M.D., UAB Division of Infectious Diseases. Read more.

“The best way to get through wearing the mask is to remind yourself that the reason we are wearing masks is to protect our loved ones and to protect ourselves from potentially the spread of infection,” Lee said.

Taylor also has a video tutorial for a hand-sewn face mask using T-shirt ties, with a new, time-saving hack: Leave the pleat step out and finish the mask as the video suggests. When you slide the T-shirt strings in, put a knot in each tie where it hangs out of the bottom so that it catches and will not move through the mask. When you tie the top ties together, it will create a natural gather with the same effect as the pleat.