For the last day of our “Back to Basics” virtual camp, I wanted to teach the kids the important life skill of “how to sew on a button”. Of course, just sewing a button onto some scrap fabric wouldn’t be very exciting. Therefore, I came up with another DIY face mask ear saver strap that we can make using just fabric and two buttons. It is a cute alternative to the Rainbow Loom Face Mask Ear Saver that we made last week. You can even make your own (SUPER easy!!!) DIY face mask, and then make this button ear saver strap to match it.
“Back to Basics” Camp for Kids
Wow! Can you believe that it is already week six of our virtual camps? We have done all of the following camp activities already!
- DIY Craft Camp
- Cooking Classes for Kids
- Science Experiments for Kids
- Kids Entrepreneurship
- World Traveler (Kids Geography Camp)
This week’s virtual camp theme is “Back to Basics.” I’m having so much fun teaching our kids important like skills, like how to fold a shirt, letter writing skills, how to make a budget and tons more! Don’t forget to join our Facebook group to see our live classes and follow us on Pinterest, so you won’t miss a thing! You definitely need to follow Hannah at Inspired Sparks too, because she is posting all kinds of awesome videos to teach kids about science, crafts and cooking.
DIY Face Mask Ear Saver Strap – Materials
Here are the materials you will need to make a DIY face mask ear saver strap!
- two buttons (around 3/4″ in diameter)
- wonder clips (You can use straight pins instead, but if you are going to sew with kids, these are a MUST buy!!!)
- soft tailor’s tape measure
- fabric scissors (If you are a new to sewing, get a separate pair of fabric scissors and ONLY use them for fabric! You will thank me!)
- thread to match your fabric
- a needle
- cotton fabric (size calculated above)
How to Make a Face Mask Ear Saver Strap with Buttons
It took Hannah, our eight year old, about two hours to make her DIY face mask ear saver strap. It was her first time sewing on buttons or doing a backstitch though. If you have more experience sewing (or a sewing machine), this project will be super fast.
1. Measure the length for your face mask ear saver strap
Place your mask on your face and stretch back the elastic loops to see how long you want your ear saver strap to be. I had Hannah hold both elastic loops and placed a soft tailor’s tape measure across her head (where the ear saver strap will sit.) Here is a photo of one side of her head.
From the other side, we can see that the total length between the buttons should be around 8.5 inches.
2. Cut your piece of fabric
You want to leave room to sew both sides under, as well as space for the button. Therefore, we added 3 inches to our 8.5 inch measurement and cut out a piece of fabric that was 11.5 inches by 4 inches.
3. Fold your fabric (with the back side facing out)
Take your rectangle and fold it in half so that the back of your fabric is facing out, as shown below.
4. Pin the open seam together
We used wonder clips to pin our open seam together, because I LOVE how easy they are for kids to use (without getting “poked” by straight pins!)
5. Stitch along the open seam
One of the strongest stitches that you can learn to sew by hand is called a backstitch. It is super simple! If you don’t know how to do a backstitch yet, I will teach you how further down in this post! I specifically used black thread to make it easier for you to see how to do the stitch. However, I would suggest using a thread that matches the color of your fabric, so it blends in better. This seam isn’t terribly important though, since it will be facing towards your head ultimately anyway.
6. Turn your fabric “tube” inside out
Once your seam is sewn all the way across and knotted off, turn it inside out (so that the “pretty” side is facing out.)
7. Iron the DIY face mask ear saver strap
As you can see in the above photo, the DIY face mask ear saver strap still looks a bit like a “tube” of fabric. To make it lay flat and look “cleaner,” it is best to iron it flat. Make sure that when you iron it, your seam is in the middle of the back, so that it ends up looking like this.
8. Fold both ends over and pin them down
As you can see in the photo above, fold over the two open ends and pin them down.
9. Test the size of your ear saver strap
Before sewing down both ends, I wanted to test out the length one more time. So, we found two small pins (unicorn pins, of course!) that we placed onto the ear saver strap where the buttons would go. Here is how it looked from one side.
The fit was perfect! Here is a photo from the other side too.
Frankly, you could probably just use the unicorn pins and skip sewing on buttons. However, I would be worried about the pin coming undone and poking them in their scalp… ouch!
If you need to make your ear saver strap longer or shorter, now is the time (before you sew down both open ends!)
10. Sew both open ends down
Use a backstitch to sew along both of the open ends.
11. Sew buttons on to both ends
I will teach you how to sew on buttons (2 hole buttons AND 4 hole buttons) later in this tutorial, in case you do not know how, but I am going to skip over those details for now.
After your buttons are sewed on, you will have an amazing DIY face mask ear saver strap!
Here is what Hannah’s looks like from one side.
We used a 4 hole button on the other side (since I wanted to teach Hannah how to sew on both types of buttons).
Here is what the ear saver strap looks like from the back.
One last photo from the front. It is SO hard to get Hannah to feel comfortable in a mask, because her ears always hurt. She was thrilled with how this turned out. She has a big smile on her face, which you can’t tell due to the mask!
How to Backstitch by Hand
If you don’t know how to backstitch, I promise that it is super easy. My grandma taught me how to do it when I was in 1st grade, and I loved passing the skill on to my kids today! It is a great stitch to learn because it is one of the strongest stitches that you can do by hand.
1. Start with a regular stitch
Sew a regular stitch, as if you were going to do a basic running stitch. Then pull your needle back through to the front (as shown below.)
2. Sew back, to fill in the empty space, rather than forwards
If you were doing a regular running stitch, your next move would be to put the needle back through the fabric, where the needle is pointing to in the photo below.
However, instead of doing that, we are going to move the needle BACK and sew in the empty space to the right (like below.)
3. Pull the needle back through to the front and keep repeating
Now, just pull your needle back through to the front again, as if you were doing a running stitch and keep repeating! Ultimately, you will end up with a row of super close, neat stitches like show below.
Here is what it looks like from the back.
If you aren’t sure how to knot off your stitches at the end, look at the end of this DIY face mask tutorial. It has a great explanation of how to end a stitch (or tie off.)
How to Sew on a Button
Ready for the life skill of the day? Everyone needs to know how to sew on a button! What happens when you have an important business meeting in the morning and notice that a button just fell off your favorite shirt? You whip out your thread, remember what you learned at your “Back to Basics” camp from when you were a kid, and sew that baby back on!
How to Sew on a 2-Hole Button
Let’s start with a two hole button first.
1. Place your button where you want it to be & mark the holes
Hannah used a pencil to mark both holes, but you can use a washable fabric pen, if you are more particular.
2. Sew a stitch between both dots
Make a stitch between both dots, because this will make it very easy to tell where to place your needle from the back of your fabric, in order to sew through both holes.
3. Place your button on top of the stitch & sew another stitch
I will explain the second needle (under the stitch) in the next step!
4. Place a spare needle under the stitch to act as a spacer
You want a little bit of extra space, because later on we will wrap thread under the button to create something called the shank. If you don’t have a spare needle, you may use a toothpick instead!
5. Sew through your button holes 6 times
Make a total of six stitches through your button holes.
6. Remove your “spacer” needle
Take out the needle that is holding the extra space under your thread.
7. Pull your needle through to under the button
Next, pull your needle through the fabric so that it is right underneath your button (as shown below.)
8. Wrap your thread around the button six times, to create the shank
Take your thread and wrap it between the fabric and your button six times. This will create the shank, which makes it easier for you to use the button.
Here is what the shank looks like underneath the button.
Now, just bring your needle through to the back of your fabric, and tie it off! If you aren’t sure how to knot off your stitches at the end, look at the end of this DIY face mask tutorial.
How to Sew on a 4-Hole Button
You do ALMOST the same thing as with a 2-hole button, but there is one difference. Instead of sewing one initial stitch, you sew two stitches!
After you have marked off where your button will go with a pencil or washable fabric pen, you sew two stitches to form the letter “x” as shown below.
Repeat the same steps as you did for a 2-button hole. Place your button on top of the “x” stitch. Put a needle under your button stitches as a “spacer.” Then, sew six stitches through each button hole (in the shape of the letter “x.”)
Wrap the thread between your button and fabric six times, to create the shank.
Pull the thread through to the back and tie it off.
And BAM! You now know how to sew on a button!
DIY Face Mask Ear Saver Strap + How to Sew on a Button
So, how did your DIY face mask ear saver turn out? What color fabric did you make yours? Share a photo of your face masks and / or your ear savers in our Facebook Group! We are always so inspired by all of our amazing members!!!