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Homemade Face Mask

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How to make a face mask

The best way to make a face mast is to follow these CDC guidelines. With new recommendations from the CDC, you might be wondering how to make a homemade face mask. These masks aren’t N95, or surgical, grade fabrics but  can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to other people. The recommendations changed after recent studies showed the active infection curve comparing South Korea’s active infected population with that of Italy. South Korea is recommending their civilians wear face masks in public places whereas Italy did not.

COVID-19 Infection Curve Comparison of Masked Countries vs Non-masked

  It is now recommended to wear a face mask in public spaces if you need to go out for any reason. These recommendations recently changed with the rise in COVID-19 cases around the United States. Let’s explore some different ways to make a homemade face mask.

Cloth Face Covering

Here’s how you can make your own face covering in a few easy steps, with items you can find around the house. Video is directly from Surgeon General Jerome Adams and the CDC.

 

 

Step1: Find and old scarf, bandana or hand towel, or t-shirt

Step2: Fold the fabric from the bottom to the middle

Step3: Fold the fabric from the top to the middle

Step4: Fold the fabric again from the bottom to the middle and the top to the middle.

Step5: Take two rubber bands and place them on both sides of the folded cloth

Step6: Fold the edges over the rubber bands and you now have a cloth face mask. See video for visual instructions from the CDC.

For more ways to make effective homemade face masks and questions regarding face masks, go to this CDC web page.

Bandanna Face Mask with Filter

Materials

  • Bandanna (or a 20”x20” cloth)
  • Coffee Filter
  • Rubber Bands or Hair Ties
  • Scissors (if you are cutting your own cloth)

 Bandanna Face Mask

A mask is not a substitute for social distancing

A mask is never a substitute for social distancing. Please adhere to the CDC guidelines and social distance yourself from people and public places. It is up to all of us to do our part and stay home to protect loved ones and those we have never met before.

Sewn Cloth Face Covering

Supplies needed to create a cloth face covering are displayed. The supplies pictured include: one sewing machine, one twelve-inch ruler, one pencil, two six inch pieces of elastic string, two rectangle pieces of cotton cloth, 1 sewing needle, 1 bobby pin, 1 spool of thread, and 1 pair of scissors.

Materials

  • Two 10”x6” rectangles of cotton fabric
  • Two 6” pieces of elastic (or rubber bands, string, cloth strips, or hair ties)
  • Needle and thread (or bobby pin)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine

Tutorial

1. Cut out two 10-by-6-inch rectangles of cotton fabric. Use tightly woven cotton, such as quilting fabric or cotton sheets. T-shirt fabric will work in a pinch. Stack the two rectangles; you will sew the mask as if it was a single piece of fabric.

A close up of the two rectangular pieces of cloth needed to make a cloth face covering is shown. These pieces of cloth have been cut using a pair of scissors. Each piece of cloth measures ten inches in width and six inches in length.

 

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.

The top diagram shows the two rectangle cloth pieces stacked on top of each other, aligning on all sides. The rectangle, lying flat, is positioned so that the two ten inch sides are the top and the bottom of the rectangle, while the two six inch sides are the left and right side of the rectangle. The top diagram shows the two long edges of the cloth rectangle are folded over and stitched into place to create a one-fourth inch hem along the entire width of the top and bottom of the rectangle. The bottom diagram shows the two short edges of the cloth rectangle are folded over and stitched into place to create a one-half inch hem along the entire length of the right and left sides of the face covering.

 

3. Run a 6-inch length of 1/8-inch wide elastic through the wider hem on each side of the mask. These will be the ear loops. Use a large needle or a bobby pin to thread it through. Tie the ends tight.
Don’t have elastic? Use hair ties or elastic head bands. If you only have string, you can make the ties longer and tie the mask behind your head.

Two six inch pieces of elastic or string are threaded through the open one-half inch hems created on the left and right side of the rectangle. Then, the two ends of the elastic or string are tied together into a knot.

 

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 so the mask fits your face. Then securely stitch the elastic in place to keep it from slipping.

The diagram displays a completed face covering, in which the knots of the elastic strings are tucked inside the left and right hems of the mask and are no longer visible. The cloth is slightly gathered on its left and right sides, and additional stitching is added to the four corners of the gathered cloth rectangle, at the points where the cloth and the elastic or string overlap in these corners.

 

Effectiveness of materials

Some materials are going to be more effective than others due to the number of particles that can pass through the fabric and their breath-ability. Below is a chart from Stanford Medicine showing the effectiveness of household materials being used for face masks

To learn more about PPE, read here.

Effectiveness  Comparison of Household Materials for Mask

Any material being fashioned as a face mask is better than no face mask. Please stay at home, stay safe, social distance, but if you must go out, make yourself a face mask to help flatten the coronavirus curve here in the United States and our world. Thank you for reading the blog– James

 You can now purchase our general face mask fabric here 

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Comment


  • I have been making 3 layer masks. I ordered your face mask fabric that I received today. I plan to use it as the inner layer in my masks but it appears thick and I am concerned about the breathability. Should I just use 2 layers with the revolution fabric closest to the face? Just looking for advice.

    Sue Heckert on

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