Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Post-COVID, what will become of all of those cloth masks? Upcycling starts here

Post-COVID, what will become of all of those cloth masks? Upcycling starts here


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.


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






Potpourri sachets

Christmas ornaments


Patchwork totes

Drawstring wristlets

Coin purses

Shoulder pads (yes, they’re back!)

Sleeping masks



Mouse cat toys

Bow tie collars

Hamster hammocks

Doggie booties

Treat pouches


Knee protectors

Slings for small objects (think bolts, washers and screws)

Fire starters

Backseat snack/phone holders

Credit card holders

Gift card sleeves

Flower pot covers (koozie-style)

Cell phone pouches

Quilt squares

Pin cushion cover (with Styrofoam ball center)

Shoe polish cloth

Hanging plant holder

Omaha World-Herald: Inspired Living

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Features/Special Sections Editor

Chris is features and special sections editor for The World-Herald. She also is editor of the WH's magazines and books. She writes on lifestyle topics and invites story ideas. Instagram @chrischristen;Twitter @cchristenOWH. Phone: 402-444-1094.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.



Breaking News

Huskers Breaking News

News Alert