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Young woman shows self-made face mask to protect against virus and bacteria

How To Make Your Own Face Mask

protect you and your little ones

The CDC now recommends every American (except infants) wear cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing is difficult—such as grocery stores and pharmacies—as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

A proper mask should have multiple layers of snug-fitting fabric and be machine washable.

Whether you’re a superb seamstress or need a little guidance, you can make a face mask to keep you and your family healthy. 

If you haven’t been able to get a hold of a premade mask, you can make your own with a few household materials and a little time. Here’s how: 

For a sewn option: 

What You’ll Need:
2 10”x6” rectangles of cotton fabric
2 6” pieces of elastic (or rubber bands, string, cloth strips or hair ties)
Needle and thread (or bobby pin)
Sewing machine

What You’ll Do:

  1. Cut out two 10-by-6-inch rectangles of cotton fabric (the CDC recommends tightly woven cotton, such as quilting fabric or cotton sheets). T-shirt fabric will work in a pinch. Stack the two rectangles and sew the masks as it was a single piece of fabric. 
  2. Fold over the long sides ¼ inch and hem. Then fold the double layer of fabric over ½ inch along the short sides and stitch down. 
  3. Run a 6-inch length of 1/8-inch wide elastic through the wider hem of each side of the mask (these will be the ear loop). Use a large needle or a bobby pin to thread it through. Tie the ends tight. (If you only have string, you can make the ties longer and tie the mask behind your head.) 
  4. Gently pull on the elastic so that the knots are tucked inside the hem. Gather the sides of the mask on the elastic and adjust to fit your (or your kids) face. Securely stitch the elastic in place.

Click here to see the CDC’s visuals.

Quick Cut T-shirt Face Covering (no sew method): 

What You’ll Need:

What You’ll Do:

  1. Cut 7–8 inches vertically from the bottom of an old T-shirt. 
  2. From the 7–8-inch fabric, cut out a 6–7-inch piece lengthwise, about 1 inch from the top and bottom of the cut fabric. 
  3. Cut tie strings, and tie strings around neck and over the top of the head. 

Click here to see the CDC’s visuals.

Bandana Face Covering (no sew method): 

What You’ll Need:
Coffee filter
Rubber bands (or hair ties)
Scissors (if you’re cutting your own cloth) 

What You’ll Do:

  1. Cut coffee filter to fit the length of the mouth. 
  2. Fold the bandana in half. 
  3. Place the cut coffee filter in the center of the folded bandana. Fold the top down over the coffee filter. Fold the bottom up. 
  4. Place rubber bands or hair ties about 6 inches apart. 
  5. Fold the sides to the middle and tuck. 
  6. Adjust the bandana for comfort. 

(The United States Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, has a quick clip demonstrating the bandana technique. Watch here.) 

Image courtesy of iStock.