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DIY Ear-Saver Headbands for Masks


Specializes in NICU, PICU.

In case any of you hadn't seen, just wanted to pass along this neat idea:


For those who are now required to wear a surgical mask throughout your shift, these can be really helpful to keep your ears from getting sore.

If you've got some time to spare, it's a super-simple craft to DIY. I hadn't touched a needle or thread in over 2 decades (since I was a kid), but I was able to buy all of the supplies and churn out 10 of them in a day.

Most of the supplies can be found in the same places where you are already running your essential errands (grocery store, drugstore, Target, Walmart). You can also do curbside pickup from craft stores like Michael's, Joanne's, Hobby Lobby, etc.


*5-pack of cloth headbands ~$5 at Target, Walmart, the drugstore, the grocery store, etc. (I found the cutest assortment of colors at Target, but you might want to check the store availability online before you go, since many places are sold out.)


*Needle/thread ~$3, either with an all-inclusive sewing kit at Walmart, Target, the drugstore/grocery store, or separate thread/needles at Walmart or a craft store.

*Buttons ~$3-$10 at Walmart or curbside delivery at a craft store. At Walmart, I was able to find a jar of 100+ matching buttons for $10.


Once you have the supplies, literally all you have to do is sew the buttons onto the headband. Most designs have a single button, but I actually added two--one right in front of my ear, and another back behind my ear. That way, you've got more options to customize the fit of the mask, which can be especially helpful if your hospital is providing alternate, cheaper products that don't fit very close to your face. Mine took about 30 minutes each because of the extra buttons, but with just two single button you could probably do the whole project in about 15 mins.


Don't get too hung up on the button placement; even if they're a bit too far forward or too far back, it won't make much of a difference. The easiest way to figure out placement is to put the headband on and use a pen make dots on the headband itself to show where the buttons should go. Think about where the straps would naturally be positioned when you're wearing a surgical mask. Once you make one, you can use it as a guide for button placement on the others. I'd try to put the buttons closer to the bottom of the headband, instead of in the middle, so that the elastic doesn't need to stretch quite as far.

You can buy these headbands pre-made online, but I'd highly encourage people to try making their own. I spent $25 total on my 10 headbands, which comes to $2.50 a piece. These retail on Etsy at about $10-$13 each, so 10 headbands would cost $100+. I like having several to choose from so that I can wash them between wears. If I paid $13 and only had one, I'd have to reuse it between shifts.

People keep talking about wanting to sew masks for hospital workers to use, but I think this would be so much more helpful (since many hospitals don't allow cloth masks). I wish there was a way to tell those sewing groups that this is the type of craft healthcare workers really want!

Does anybody else have any quarantine nursing crafts they've been working on?


Specializes in Psych, HIV/AIDS.

Thank you so much for sharing!! You are the best!

One of our retired lab techs is making these for the nurses (in oncology you tend to form close relationships with the lab folk) and they are awesome.

adventure_rn, BSN

Specializes in NICU, PICU.

Thanks, everyone!

I forgot to add--if you're not used to wearing these headbands they can start to feel a bit tight after wearing them for several hours. If you want them to make them looser, you can stretch them out a little bit by putting them around something slightly larger than your head for a couple of days (a stack of books, a lamp base, a small waste basket). If you don't have anything that size, you can wrap it twice around something smaller like a jar. You can still stretch it out even after you've already added the buttons.