Now that the pandemic is waning and COVID mandates are lifting across the country, it’s time to consider what in the world we’ll do with the cloth face masks we’ve collected.
The unknowns of COVID-19 variants suggest that we should keep a few masks around just in case. And if you haven’t been vaccinated, face coverings are still recommended or, in some locations, mandatory.
Then there are continuing practical considerations — like masking bad breath and protecting against pollen and mold and other allergens. You might even want to dig out a mask next winter in the face of a bitter wind or germs that cause colds and flu.
Since we can’t donate our perfectly good masks to thrift stores for resale, and tossing masks into landfills would be bad for the environment, upcycling seems to be in order.
Crowdsourcing provided three dozen ideas in a matter of minutes.
The most frequently mentioned: Fuel for a bonfire.
“Light ’em up,” one contributor said. “It would be therapeutic.”
The second most popular suggestion: Stitch your family’s collection into a quilt. We love that idea, especially since quilters and people who sew used their fabric scraps at the start of the pandemic to make tens of thousands of reusable mask covers for medical personnel.
Here are more ways to upcycle that symbol of social distancing and self-isolation into something new, conversational and even collectible.
Most of these projects require minimum sewing or craft skill and only a few notions. Namely needle, thread, scissors and fabric glue.
FOR INFANTS AND KIDS
Bikinis for bitty babies
Blankets for preemies
Slingshots for giant-slayers
Clothes for Barbie
Parachutes for G.I. Joe
Eyepatches for pirate costumes
Bows for ponytails
FOR PARTY HOSTS
Shoulder pads (yes, they’re back!)
Mouse cat toys
Bow tie collars
Slings for small objects (think bolts, washers and screws)
Backseat snack/phone holders
Credit card holders
Gift card sleeves
Flower pot covers (koozie-style)
Cell phone pouches
Pin cushion cover (with Styrofoam ball center)
Shoe polish cloth
Hanging plant holder