How to Create Your Own DIY Face Mask
This years’ main fashion accessory is both a statement and a necessity: the face mask. Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, face masks have become mandatory in many countries and regions of the world. In wearing one, you are also stating the fact that, unlike many others, you are taking safety measures seriously and are therefore doing everything possible to look out for your own well-being and that of others.
There has been a debate regarding who should be wearing face masks and why. While people working on the frontline – anyone from shop clerks to cleaners, public transport drivers etc. – should be fully protected with gloves, face masks and, if available, self-drying disinfectant, some governments are still unclear on whether it is necessary for the general public to wear them too. So, while in Slovenia – which still exhibits some of the lowest numbers of infections and death rates in Europe – it is mandatory to wear a mask, and people can get a fine of up to €700 for not wearing one, other countries are far more flexible. In Spain, for example, wearing a face mask on your grocery or pharmacy trips is still optional.
This is because people believe that only those exhibiting symptoms or those who are infected should be wearing a face mask to protect others, seemingly forgetting that many are asymptomatic. However, with restrictions being eased in countries like Germany, the Netherlands and the USA, health officials are insisting on people wearing face masks in public areas, especially when commuting via public transport or engaging in activities that might require closer contact. This is not just a means of personal protection, but a show of respect to all those working on the frontline. Ask any shop clerk or taxi driver about the amount of instances they’ve been approached by citizens not wearing a face mask at close proximity, and you will start to understand that wearing one shows as much self-care as it does concern for others.
While medically approved PPE is rightly reserved for medical staff, frontline workers and those directly affected by the Coronavirus, disposable and washable face masks are available to the public from various institutions and organisations. Unfortunately, disposable face masks and gloves have now contributed to a problem we have been trying to fight for years: environmental pollution. In a bid to stay safe, healthy, and environmentally friendly, we’d like to encourage you to make your own face masks – for yourself, your family and community members who do not have access to their own.
Which Fabrics are Best for Homemade Face Masks?
Making your own face masks is not only responsible, it’s also fun and offers a great way to upcycle any clothes or fabric scraps you have laying around at home. The most important thing to consider before you get started on making your mask, is the fabric you’re going to be working with. No, you won’t need medical grade fabric for your own masks, but you do need material that is thick enough not to let any harmful particles through as that is the whole point – protection against any saliva or other particles that could be carrying the virus.
The best way to ensure the fabric you are using is up for the task, is by undergoing the light test. “Hold it up to the light. If you can see light through the fabric, that’s probably not as good as something that you can’t see light through,” Dr. Benjamin LaBrot told Healthline. “So, this is one where your intuitive approach is going to be effective. The thicker it is, the denser it is, the more likely it’s going to filter better.”
Some of the best materials to work with include flannel pajamas, double-folded 600 thread count pillowcases (which can provide up to 60% filtration), and quality cotton. These are thick enough for protection, whilst still being breathable and comfortable to wear. So, raid through your closet and fabric scrap bin and collect all the appropriate materials to get you started.
No-Sew DIY Face Mask Tutorial
There are currently many DIY face mask tutorials online – ranging from extremely simple and basic to elaborate with complicated sewing stitches. What many do not consider, however, is that not everyone has access to a sewing machine. Therefore, we picked a great tutorial for you that requires minimal tools and no sewing machine.
To get started on this no-sew DIY face mask, wash and dry your fabric. Lay your fabric out on a flat surface and use plates to measure out the correct size for adults, teens and children. Adult face masks should be around 25-28cm, teens 23 cm and children 20 cm. The best way to gauge the size is to use plates – a dinner plate will give you roughly the size for an adult whereas a dessert plate will make for a child-sized mask.
Once you’ve chosen the right-sized plate, lay it on top of the fabric and trace the circle around it using a pen or chalk. Cut the circle out and then fold it double, so you are left with a half-moon shape, then fold it once more into a pie-shape. Cut down the sides of the pie shape so you are left with four single pie-shaped fabric pieces. Hand sew the straight edges of two of the pie shapes together, then repeat the process with the other two pieces. You are now left with two sharp, tear-shaped pieces of fabrics.
Arrange both tear-shaped fabric pieces on top of each other, with the printed fabric side looking down. Sew the top and bottom halves together using a simple cross stitch; leave a small opening on either side of the corner. Once you’ve finished sewing, use the small opening to turn the fabric inside out; iron it for easier handling. Fold a small side of each corner over, leaving enough room to insert an elastic band through it; measurements for elastic bands are as follows: adults 20cm, teens 18cm, children 15cm. Fasten the folded-over corners with a few simple stitches and pull the elastic band through it. Secure the elastic band with an easy knot and your face mask is ready to go.