Recent studies found that a large portion of individuals with coronavirus are asymptomatic, meaning even those who eventually develop symptoms can transmit the virus before showing symptoms. It's hard to know how to truly protect yourself and others so the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends individuals use cloth face coverings if you have to go out in public.
Of course cloth face coverings are not surgical or N-95 masks by any stretch, but in an effort to reserve them for health care workers and other first responders, it's a great idea to create your own.
According to CDC experts, "cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure."
There are so many DIY mask options, whether you have a sewing machine around or just a pillowcase—there's something for you, regardless of your skill.
Keep in mind that cloth face coverings should not be placed on children under age two, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. It's also worth noting that creating your own mask does not replace the necessity of maintaining social distancing guidelines. It's also equally important to limit trips outside your home and wash your hands often.
Here are step-by-step instructions for how to make fabric face masks with a sewing machine, a needle and thread or materials you have around your home:
How to make a face mask with a sewing machine:
If you're a pro at adding buttons, zippers and piping then you're well-suited for this advanced sewing project. Plug in your Singer and go!
What you'll need:
- PDF of adult mask pattern from JOANN Fabrics and Crafts
- Cotton fabric 12 x 9 inches
- Elastic band
- Sewing machine
- Cut material and interfacing to 12 x 9 inches
- Iron interfacing to material (adhesive side to back of material)
- Once ironed, fold fabric in half with interfacing on the outside
- Cut two pieces of elastic—each 7 inches long
- Pin and sew 1/4 inch from edge leaving a 2 inch gap in the center
- Put elastic band on each corner, inside the material and pin to keep in place, making sure the elastic is not twisted. Pinning in center as well
- Using the pattern, mark locations of pleat lines and add pins on both sides
- Fold three pleats. Sew around the entire perimeter of the mask, this holds the pleats in place, and closes the 2 inch gap
Mask from JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores.
How to make a face mask without a sewing machine:
If you can't sew, don't stress, mama. Try this DIY mask from the CDC that can be created with pillowcases, scarves, hand towels, and even old t-shirts you have laying around the house.
All you need is fabric and two rubber bands.
What you'll need:
- An old scarf or bandana
- 2 rubber bands or hair ties
- Place the scarf or handkerchief facedown on a flat surface.
- Fold the top half down to the midline of the scarf, then fold the bottom half up to the midline.
- Flip it over so that the seam faces down.
- Fold the new top half down to the midline, and the bottom half up.
- Flip it over again so that the seam faces up.
- Loop a hair tie over each end of the folded rectangle.
- Fold the free sides of the rectangle in toward the middle, layering one side over the other.
- Flip it over and loop the elastics over each ear to wear, making sure the mask covers your mouth and nose.
Mask from CDC.
Learn how to make our easy no-sew face mask:
How to make a face mask with needle + thread:
Maybe you don't own a sewing machine, but you aren't afraid of a needle and thread. If so, this step-by-step guide from The New York Times is perfect for you.
What you'll need:
- Basic sewing tools (needle and thread, etc.)
- Pins or clips
- 20 x 20 inch fabric
- 4 strips (cotton shoe laces are great!) for ties
- Create your mask by folding your fabric of choice in half. It should measure about 10 inches x 7 inches.
- For your ties, cut four strips 18 inches in length and ¾ inches in width.
- Fold your ties in half lengthwise, and sew to reinforce and neaten edges.
- Pin your ties down at the corners of what will be the outside of your mask.
- Rest the excess tie material inside of the rectangle.
- Place the other layer of mask material on top of the first mask layer. You will be sandwiching together all of your ties.
- Sew around the perimeter of the mask, leaving a small ½ inch gap at the top. Make sure you sew the ties down and reinforce with several stitches.
- Use the 1/2 inch gap to turn the mask inside out.
- To help the mask fit your face better, fold pleats in the top layer. Pin them down, and sew in place around the perimeter.
Mask from The New York Times.