How to Make Your Own Face Mask

Sew your mask or try the no-sew method
how to face mask
Photo: Istock

There are few enclosed public places you can go without wearing a face mask right now. Use this guide to sew your own mask or create a no-sew mask — both of which require few materials to construct. Whichever method you do choose, be sure that your face mask fits snugly while still being comfortable, allows for breathing without restriction, and can be properly secured. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USA Today websites, along with videos on YouTube, also provide resources to help visually guide you through these steps.

Sew It

According to the CDC, you will need two 10-by-6-inch rectangles of cotton fabric, two 6-inch pieces of elastic (or rubber bands, string, cloth strips, or even hair ties), a needle and thread or sewing machine, and scissors.

To assemble, stack the pieces of fabric on top of each other and sew them together. Take the long sides of the fabric, fold them over a quarter-inch, and hem them. Then take the short sides of the fabric, fold them a half-inch, and sew those down, leaving the ends open. 

Proceed to run a piece of 6-inch elastic through the short sides with a needle or bobby pin and tie the ends together. Finally, tuck the knots into the fabric, adjust so it’s comfortable, and sew the elastic in place to make it secure. 

No-Sew Method

Here, use items such as T-shirts or bandanas. For the T-shirt method, all you need are scissors. With a bandana, you’ll need a square, approximately 20-by-20-inch cotton cloth/bandana; a coffee filter; rubber bands or hair ties; and scissors if you need to cut your own cloth. 

For the T-shirt: Measure 7 to 8 inches vertically and cut across from there horizontally. Then start from a short side of the fabric and from there, horizontally cut out the center of that piece 6 to 7 inches, leaving the edges alone to help create the effect of strings. Cut to create the tie strings and tie one string around your neck, and the other around the top of your head. 

For the bandana: Cut a coffee filter in half horizontally. Fold the bandana in half horizontally and place the coffee filter in the center. Then fold the top of the bandana to the bottom of the filter, and the bottom of the bandana to the top of the filter, making them overlap. Take two of your rubber bands or hair ties, and string the bandana through them, placing them around 6 inches apart. Last, fold the sides of the bandana to the middle, tucking one end into the other. With the bandana covering your mouth, place the hair ties/rubber bands over your ears.

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