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4 BEST Toddler & Child Face Mask Patterns + Measurements

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Today I’m sharing the best toddler and child face mask patterns. These are all FREE printables.

I’ll talk about 1 popular mask style to AVOID for kids.

And I’ll share children’s measurements for different mask styles, elastic, and nose wires.

To summarise, the best face mask pattern for kids is:

  • A mask with a gap in front of the mouth. This makes breathing and talking easier. They won’t have a mouthful of fabric when they open their mouth.
  • “Olson” and “3d masks” often have this space.
  • Elastic around the head or something adjustable. 
  • Something fun. Young boys were excited to wear batman and superman masks in Cindi Rang’s experience.
  • Older kids are more self-conscious about wearing a mask. Some prefer neck gaiters instead.

Avoid:

  • Elastic around the ears. These are hard to fit, hard to adjust, and pull kids’ ears forward.
  • Pleated and rectangular masks. These are too close to the mouth and make talking harder.
  • Using ear savers. These get caught in long hair. They also pull the mask tightly over the mouth. It’s uncomfortable and makes talking harder. 
  • Making masks for children under 2.

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I’m getting a lot of my information from Cindi Rang. She was a nurse practitioner for 20 years and now runs a quilt shop called The Fabric Patch.

She and her team have made and donated over 167,000 masks!

During this process, they have tested multiple mask designs and measured many people.

I’m going to summarise what Cindi shared about making kids masks.

Bookmark this post for later by pinning it 🙂

best mask patterns for toddlers and children

Before we start, I want to highlight something the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has said:

Who should NOT use cloth face coverings: children under age 2, or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.”

CDC. Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wear-cloth-face-coverings.html [updated: 6 July 2020]

Contents list:

Related post: 41 free face mask patterns approved by hospitals.

Related post: 20 DIY Face Mask FILTER Materials Tested & Compared (Study: April 2020)

Related post: Which Face Mask Fabrics Do Hospitals Approve & Disapprove Of?


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Best face mask patterns for children & toddlers

  1. The Jesse mask
  2. Olson masks
  3. 3d face masks
  4. Neck gaiters

I recommend sewing each option and letting your child test wear them. They’ll be able to compare and pick their personal favorite.

1. The Jesse face mask

The Jesse mask with a “beak” for lots of breathing room.

This was the most recommended pattern by Cindi.

It’s a fitted face mask with a “beak” at the front. This gives the child a 1” gap in front of their mouth. 

Easier to talk and breathe

Thanks to the 1” gap, the child’s mouth won’t touch the mask. This space makes talking and breathing easier. 

Less shifting

The mask isn’t touching the mouth. So when the mouth moves when talking, the mask won’t shift down. 

This reduces the need for your child to touch and adjust the mask throughout the day.

Good fit

The Jesse mask has few gaps around the top, sides and chin.

The chin coverage is long and curved for a snug fit.

The top of the mask curves further away from the eyes. This stops the mask from riding up into the eyes.

If you insert a nose wire, the gap at the top will be reduced.

Cons

The sizing for the Jesse mask is different to most patterns. You pick your size based on your nose-to-ear measurement and chin measurement.

If you’re making masks for a child you can’t measure, it’s going to be tricky picking the right size.

If you want a mask with 1 elastic head strap (like in the photo below), you’ll need to make the sides of the mask shorter yourself.

black jesse mask worn by child
Jesse mask with 1 elastic head strap.

Here’s how to make the adjustment (it’s explained in this video at 27:55):

printable jesse face mask pattern for kids
The hand-drawn black line shows the new cutting line. The hand-drawn dotted line above it is the new stitch line.

Sewing tutorial

The sewing starts at 23:18.

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2. Olson mask by Craft Passion

olson face mask by Craft Passion made in Star Wars fabric
3 olson face masks for kids using Craft Passion template

Cindi and her team made thousands of masks using the Olson pattern by Craft Passion.

This pattern is extremely popular. It has been used by thousands of people and recommended by 11+ hospitals.

Lots of options

The Craft Passion pattern includes 2 sizes for children and a teen size.

It comes with lots of design options. You can include filter pockets, nose wires, elastic, and ties.

Fitted design

This is a fitted design, so it has fewer gaps.

You’ll need to insert a nose wire to close the gap at the top.

Cindi liked the rounded shape. It doesn’t provide as much breathing space as the Jesse mask, however, which has a curved “beak”.

Cons

Cindi’s feedback on this mask is:

  • She didn’t like the elastic ear hooks. These are hard to fit correctly. If the elastic is too big, the mask keeps falling down. If it’s too tight, it’s sore around the ears.
  • She and her team thought the curve at the top of the mask needed to be deeper. Some had issues with the mask riding up into their eyes.
  • She and her team wanted the mask to cover the chin more.

Sewing tutorial

3. 3d face mask pattern

3d face mask worn by child and mother
3d mask pattern by Sweet Red Poppy

This mask pops away from the face so the child has more breathing room.

I don’t think it creates as much space as the Jesse mask, however, which has a “beak”.

The interesting folds also look great. They’re trickier to sew than other masks, however.

Sewing tutorials

A quick tutorial for sewists with experience:

A beginner-friendly tutorial:

4. Neck gaiter

colorful neck gaiter worn by child
Neck gaiter pattern by Sweet Red Poppy
3 colorful neck gaiters

This is a tube of stretchy fabric. You wear it around your neck and pull it over your mouth when needed.

Cindi found that boys over 10 preferred this over masks. They look more “cool”.

Pros

  • They’re comfy to wear thanks to the soft, stretchy fabric they’re made from.
  • They’re easy to put on.

Cons

  • They’re tight across the face by design (that’s how they stay up). Your child might prefer something with more breathing space.
  • They’re normally a single layer of fabric. For those looking for more protection, like 2 layers, you could fold the neck gaiter so it’s doubled.

Sewing tutorial


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The worst pattern for kids: pleated / rectangular masks

navy rectangle face mask with gathers
Simple rectangle face mask with gathered sides instead of pleats.

According to Cindi, the worst design for kids is the pleated, rectangular mask.

These flat masks don’t pop away from the face.

There’s not much space between the fabric and mouth. Your child might get a mouthful of fabric when they talk. This makes talking and breathing harder.

If you need to use an ear saver, this will make the problem worse. The mask will be pulled tightly over the mouth.


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Mask measurements for children:

Rectangular mask with pleats:

Height
(top of nose
to under chin)
Width
(ear to ear)
Recommended by…
5″ or 13cm7.5″ or 19cmAtlantic Health System (source)
5″ or 13cm7.5″ or 19cmCayuga Health System (source)
5″ or 13cm8″ or 20cmThe Turban Project (source)
6″ or 15cm for toddlers

7″ or 18cm for 5-8 years

7.5″ or 19cm for 9-13 years

8″ or 20cm for 14-adult
7″ or 18cm for toddlers

8″ or 20cm for 5-8 years

8.5″ or 22cm for 9-13 years

9″ or 23cm for 14-adult
Popular sewing blogger Made Everyday (source)

Olson / fitted mask measurements:

childs mask measurements
olson face mask fabric cut out

These measurements are from the popular Craft Passion mask.

3 – 6 year olds

What to measureMeasurement (cm)Measurement (inch)
(A) Top of nose to underneath chin (outward curved line)12.4cm4 7/8″
(B) Top of nose to side of face, just before the ear (inward curved line)8.9cm3 1/2″
(C) Side of face, from top of ear to jawline (straight line)7.3cm2 7/8″

7 – 12 year olds

What to measureMeasurement (cm)Measurement (inch)
(A) Top of nose to underneath chin (outward curved line)13.7cm5 3/8″
(B) Top of nose to side of face, just before the ear (inward curved line)10cm4″
(C) Side of face, from top of ear to jawline (straight line)7.9cm3 1/8″

Teens

What to measureMeasurement (cm)Measurement (inch)
(A) Top of nose to underneath chin (outward curved line)15.4cm6 1/8″
(B) Top of nose to side of face, just before the ear (inward curved line)11.2cm4 3/8″
(C) Side of face, from top of ear to jawline (straight line)8.4cm3 3/8″

Measurements for elastic:

Cindi said this is hard to suggest a general measurement for.

Kids ears and head circumferences differ a lot.

Here are some starting points:

Type of elasticMeasurement (cm)Measurement (inch)
Elastic around ears18 to 20cm7″ to 8″ per ear*
Elastic around head (from ear to ear only)46cm so the child can cut it down or tie it later.Cindi said this ranged from 7 ½” to 13”. 18″ is a good length for elastic so the child can cut it down or tie it later.

*I recommend making the ear elastic longer and doing this hack to make adjustable ear hooks. You’ll need a few pony beads.

Measurements for nose wire:

Cindi recommends a 3 ½” long nose piece for kids. That’s about 9cm.

This is an inch shorter than the adult size.

How to take your own measurements (best fit):

child's face mask measurements

(A) Measure from the top of the nose to underneath the chin. This measurement will be the height of your mask.

(B) Measure from the top of the nose to the side of the face, stopping just before the ear. Double this measurement to get the width of your mask.

(C) Measure the side of the face, from the top of the ear (where it connects to the head) to the jawline. This will tell you how long the sides of your mask should be.

Don’t forget to add seam allowances to these measurements.


How to fix common mask fitting problems

ProblemSolution
The mask seems too big and loose. It keeps falling down.Your elastic ear hooks are probably too big. Make them smaller.
The sides of the mask gape.Make the sides of the mask a shorter length.
The mask doesn’t cover the chin.Lengthen the height of the mask (from top of nose to underneath chin). 1/2″ is a good starting point.
Your glasses fog up when wearing the mask.Place your glasses on top of the mask. This closes the gap there, making it harder for your warm breath to escape and fog up your glasses.

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Mask design tips for kids

Which fabric to use?

Tightly woven cotton

Tightly woven cotton is the most recommended material.

Data shows that it isn’t the best at filtration, but it will capture some droplets and it’s breathable.

Are you not sure if your fabric is tightly woven?

Hold up your fabric to light. If you can see lots of gaps and light coming through, it’s loosely woven.

If it blocks a lot of light and you can’t see gaps between the threads, it’s tightly woven.

WHO’s recommendation

If you want to go the extra mile, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a water repellent outer layer, and absorbent inner layers to absorb droplets better.

Make the right and wrong sides obvious

Use different fabrics for the front and back of the mask. This will remind the child which way to wear the mask.

2 or 3 layers of fabric?

WHO recommends 3 layers of fabric. However, this might be too hot and hard to breathe through for a child.

If you want to try 3 layers, you can make a 1 layer mask with a 1 layer filter pocket (total = 2 layers). Then you can add the third layer inside the filter pocket, and if it’s too uncomfortable for the child, remove it.

Should you use elastic?

Elastic around the ears

Cindi doesn’t recommend elastic around the ears:

  • Elastic ear hooks that are too big will make the mask loose. It will keep falling down the face.
  • Elastic ear hooks that are tight will give the child sore ears.
  • They aren’t adjustable.

I agree with her for the most part.

However, many people like how easy elastic ear hooks are to put on. It’s much easier than ties.

I also found a way to make ear hooks adjustable…

How to make adjustable ear hooks (cool hack!)

Here’s a simple way to make ear hooks adjustable! You just need pony beads.

Elastic around the head

Elastic around the head is a comfy option.

  • It avoids the problem of sore ears.
  • It’s easy to put on and take off.
  • If you make it big, the child can easily tie a knot to make it fit better.
  • It might slip on long hair, however.

Cindi prefers buttonhole elastic that goes around the head.

  • This is comfortable for the child.
  • It’s also adjustable. As the child grows, they can make the elastic bigger very easily. They just insert the button into a new hole (see photo below).
face mask with elastic around head worn by child
Here buttonhole elastic is used to make an adjustable mask.

What type of elastic is best?

If you want elastic ear hooks:

  • Skinnier elastics will go around the ear easier.
  • I would avoid anything wider than 2/8″.
  • Round elastic might be harder to sew. If you’re just inserting elastic into a casing, this won’t be a problem.

No elastic? Try this

  1. Cut up knit fabric (this is stretchy fabric) in 1” strips.
  2. Pull the strip so that the edges curl in.

You can use this instead of elastic ear hooks or elastic around the head. It’s a much softer alternative, so it’s great for kids.

You don’t need to finish the edges because knit fabrics don’t fray.

If you don’t have knit fabric on hand, cut up old t-shirts instead. These are made from knit fabric.

Should you use ties?

Ties that go around the head will also avoid the sore ears problem.

However, the ties might slip on long hair.

And young kids might struggle to tie and untie it by themselves.

You can make ties using bias binding, ribbon, or a strip of fabric.

Include a nose wire? (great for glasses)

A nose wire creates a better seal at the top of the mask. This will reduce breath escaping through the gap there.

If your child wears glasses, this will reduce fogging.

The University of Florida Health recommends using a 16-gauge craft wire. If unavailable, use 20-gauge.

They recommend cutting and bending the ends of the wire with jewelry pliers (that have tapered round ends) and a cutter.

Pad the nose wire

Having a hard wire on the nose might feel uncomfortable.

To avoid this, you can encase it in felt or terry toweling. This will pad the wire with something soft.


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