By the time the CDC told all Americans to start wearing face coverings to slow the spread of coronavirus in early April, protective masks were already hard to find. The medical-grade masks that are available should be reserved for healthcare workers, which leaves everyone else with limited options for following the updated safety guidelines. Luckily, making your own mask at home is fast, ethical, and cheap—and you don’t even need to break out the sewing machine to do it.
- Strip of fabric at least 17″ x 10″ (large enough to cover the bottom half of your face)
- Rubber band (or hair ties)
When I created this post, I didn’t know about the coffee filter option, which helps to filter out microscopic particles. I will update this post to include it later.
- Iron the edges of your fabric on both long sides (optional). I thought I had leftover Stitch Witchery to keep it locked in place, but alas I didn’t. (To boost your mask’s filtration power, place a trimmed coffee filter or paper towel on the cloth where your mouth will go at this point.)
2. Pull each end of the fabric through an elastic hair tie or rubberbands…one on the right end and one on the left end, so that it’s roughly divided into thirds.
3. Fold the ends to the center and tuck one end into the opening of the other to hold it together. If you have Stitch Witchery, you can iron it down.
4. Pull the hair ties over each ear to secure the mask to your face.
That’s it—easy peasy!
After wearing the mask outdoors, you’ll need to disinfect it. Take it apart, throw away the disposable filter, and soak the fabric in soapy water for a few minutes. When the cloth is clean and dry, add a new filter and reassemble the mask as shown above to use it again.
DIY cloth masks are better than nothing when it comes to protecting your face from someone coughing or sneezing nearby. But no mask will make you invincible to COVID-19, and you shouldn’t use one as an excuse to act any differently outdoors. Use them on necessary trips outside, like to the grocery store or your essential job. And remember that wearing a mask doesn’t replace social distancing efforts.
Thank you so much for reading. And as always, have a beautiful and safe day. XOXO, Candy