Coronavirus: How to Make Your Own Face Covering

by Sofia Johnson May 21, 2020 3 min read

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For the first time last Monday, the British government affirmed the role of wearing masks in the effort to curb the coronavirus. They also recommended leaving medical masks to medical staff, and instead encouraged people to make cotton masks at home. Are you looking to make a face covering to help protect yourself and others from the coronavirus? Here are three easy ways to make your own mask at home.

Mask from a Bandanna

Mask from a Bandanna

If you are looking for an easy face covering option that requires no cutting or sewing, a face covering from a bandanna or similar sized cloth can be easily fashioned.

  1. Lay the bandanna or cloth out flat on a table.
  2. Fold over the top and bottom towards the center so that their edges meet.
  3. Use two loops made out of protective elastic, rubber bands, or a hair band to loop over the fabric. The loops should be spaced evenly apart – they will secure the mask around your ears.
  4. Fold the fabric in towards the center, making the creases at the location of your elastics.
  5. Fold one end of the fabric into the other to secure.

Mask from a T-Shirt

Mask from a T-Shirt

The British government released a tutorial similar to this, which outlines how to create a mask from an unneeded shirt. They recommend that it is best to use a size Extra Small or Small shirt to get the right fit for the mask

  1. Cut both sides of the t-shirt, left to right, about 20cm up from the bottom of the shirt.
  2. On the upper right corner, measure 2cm down, and cut horizontally across for 15 cm. Repeat on the bottom, 2cm up and 15cm left.
  3. Discard the rectangle that you just cut out, and cut open the 2cm on the top and bottom that are double layered. These will be your ties.
  4. Unfold the fabric and place it over your nose and mouth. Use the ties you just created to tie the mask around your head and neck.

Homemade Sewn Mask

Homemade Sewn Mask

If you’re looking for something a little nicer and have good sewing skills, then this is a great way to make a custom mask that fits well. I recommended using this elastic from Ever Pretty; it’s comfortable and functional. While you can make this entirely by hand, I would recommend using a sewing machine, as it can get a little bit tedious, especially if you are making multiple masks.

  1. Cut two identical 9.5in by 6.5in rectangles from your fabric.
  2. Lay one piece flat, right side up.
  3. Attach elastic with pins to the corners of the fabric, making an elastic loop on each side.
  4. Place the other piece of fabric “right” side down on top of the one you just sewed elastics to; make sure the elastic is tucked inside
  5. Starting at the bottom middle, sew around the perimeter of the fabric, taking care to secure the elastic to both pieces of fabric. (Don’t forget to take the pins out.)
  6. Once you are just over an inch from completing the rectangle perimeter, stop and turn the mask right side out.
  7. Make three horizontal pleats in the mask and pin. Sew around the perimeter of the mask again, just a little away from the edge. Repeat and sew around again in an evenly spaced line to complete the mask.

Mask Tips

  • Wear your mask anytime you go out- even if you think you can maintain a six-foot distance from other people.
  • Wash your cloth mask frequently. For this reason, you may want to make a few masks so you always have one on hand if the others need to be washed.
  • If your ears get sore from elastic, try one of the styles that ties around your head and neck instead.
  • One of the best options for fabric for a homemade face covering is a regular cotton kitchen towel. This is because it is very tightly woven, leaving less space for particles to get through.
  • Looking for more filtering? You can add in a coffee filter to any of these designs for extra filtration. Change the coffee filter frequently.
  • Make sure your mask is securely covering your nose and mouth. Wearing the mask to the side, or pulled down under your chin defeats its purpose!

Why is It Important to Wear a Mask?

It can feel inconvenient and frustrating to have to wear a mask, but it’s important to remember that wearing a mask not only helps prevent you from getting sick, but it lessens the chances that you could get others sick by spreading the virus without knowing you have it. Cloth masks, though not perfect, are important in impeding the spread of corona virus.

Sofia Johnson
Sofia Johnson


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