Transform Our Adjustable Headband Style Face Mask Into an Ear Loop Style Mask

I designed our original reversible face mask to be an adjustable mask with a nose wire and easier to use filter pocket. This mask is made with an adjustable band that wraps around the back of your head: it doesn’t use ear loops. But what if you prefer ear loops? We have a hack for that! Here is how you can transform this behind the head style face mask into an ear loop style face mask.

How we altered a face mask with an adjustable headband into a face mask with adjustable ear loops, using scrap cotton knit fabric

LEFT: The adjustable head band on this face mask style is great if you wear hearing aids or eyeglasses, but some people prefer ear loops.  RIGHT: same face mask altered to use ear loops

Supplies You Need

  • Ear loop material
  • Safety pin
  • Pony bead (this is to use as a slider and is optional)

Ear loop material What can you use for an ear loop? We like ¼” elastic, fold over elastic, and cotton knit or cotton/Lycra knit (you can use an old t-shirt). If you use a t-shirt you can cut a strip from the sleeve or the bottom, I recommend cutting a ½” wide strip that goes in the direction around the body or sleeve. Cut two that are at least 12” long. Cut the strips then pull them, the knit will stretch and curl.

Safety Pin – This tool is to thread the ear loop through the casings and I suggest it because you probably have one. The pin I used is 1-1/2” long and was the perfect size. Tweezers are also a good tool for this job. If you have loop turner from your sewing tool kit they are my favorite tool to use.

Pony Bead – This is to create a sliding adjustment and you don’t need them, but it’s a clever way to make the mask adjustable. You need one bead for each side. I used 9mm pony beads.

OK, this is easy to do!

Get your new ear loop material ready first. If you’re planning to use a t-shirt, cut the strips and trim the tips to sharp points, which will make it easier to thread into the bead.

Pull the original headband out and thread each ear loop into the casings. If you haven’t done this before, what you do is use a safety pin, or pull it through with tweezers.

Stack the ear loop material so the ends are even and thread them through the bead at the same time. Trimming the ends of the t-shirt fabric makes this so much easier. If you use ¼” elastic then forcing it into a roll, like how some people can roll their tongue, makes this easier.


Here is more detail on the finished ear loops made of cut cotton/Lycra fabric. You can also use a 100% cotton knit. We prefer thin and stretchy fabrics.

Tie a knot so the adjusting bead doesn’t pull off, this is why you want the loops to be at least 12” long.

I really like using the t-shirt fabric or cotton/Lycra knit for face mask headbands and ear loops. I think the stretch is good, and the fabric is comfortable. It never feels bulky to me and it has been comfortable and reliable to use.


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