How To Make Your Own DIY Face Mask To Protect Against Coronavirus

Photo: getty
How To Make Your Own DIY Face Mask To Protect Against Coronavirus
Health And Wellness

As the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise, more and more citizens are becoming concerned. While washing your hands helps prevent you from contracting COVID-19, the CDC strongly recommends practicing social distancing to lower the number of people exposed to the virus.

Even though some states are on lockdown or quarantining, people are still allowed to leave their homes for necessary outings. During these outings, you're more likely to contract the virus, as opposed to being home (assuming no one in your household is infected).

Because of the risks associated with being out and about, it’s not uncommon to see people taking extra measures to protect themselves. For example, medical professionals and grocery shoppers alike are wearing face masks and gloves.

Unfortunately, since there is a shortage of face masks, it's time to take matters into your own hands and learn how to make a DIY face mask.

But why are people wearing masks?

RELATED: 3 Tips For Communicating Your Need For Social Distancing During The Coronavirus Pandemic

COVID-19 may be an airborne virus, but there isn't yet sufficient evidence to prove that. What is fact is that coronavirus spreads from person to person interaction. If someone comes in contact with the virus and touches their eyes, nose, or mouth, that’s how the virus enters their body.

So, the purpose of wearing the mask is to limit exposure. Masks are very helpful when used correctly, and prevent people from catching and spreading bacteria and viruses, as well as blocking the virus' potential entry points.

If your mouth and nose are covered, a face mask reduces the likelihood of getting infected.

Who should wear a mask?

Not everyone needs to go out and buy a face mask to stay safe. In fact, the high demand for masks makes it difficult for those who actually need them to get them! If you aren't sick or are around sick people frequently, like medical professionals, you don’t need a mask.

If you’re sick, you do need a mask so you don’t further spread the virus. And in the case of doctors and nurses, it’s understandable why they need masks. They are exposed every day to the virus, much more than an average person. That’s why it’s important for medical professionals to be fully equipped.

Which mask should you use?

Not all masks are created equal. For example, the blue and white surgical masks we commonly see do nothing to keep you from infected droplets. They are ineffective at keeping droplets out.

A surgical mask is best for those who have already contracted coronavirus and don’t want to spread it. Cloth masks and bandanas keep moisture in, so they become breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses.

The N95 respirator mask filters at “least 95 percent of particles in the air you breathe.” This medical-grade mask is the most effective, but there aren’t enough for everyone.

How long should you keep the same mask on?

It does you no good to wear the same mask all day long, but there isn’t a definite number of hours in which you should change your mask. Instead, look for signs, like dampness, as indicators it's time for a new mask.

And don’t use the same mask more than once unless it’s reusable. Doing so can do actually more harm than good. If you reuse a single-use mask, your hands are covered in the bacteria.

Why you should make your own mask?

You should make your own mask so medical professionals can have the materials they need to perform their jobs safely. There simply aren’t enough masks for everyone.

To help medical professionals have the equipment they need, here's how to make a DIY face mask using materials you have in your own home.

RELATED: How To Disinfect Your Home, Kill Germs & Avoid Contracting Coronavirus

What you'll need:

  • Sewing machine
  • Thread (for the sewing machine)
  • 2 pieces of cotton fabric (6”x 9”)
  • 1 piece of flannel (6”x 9”)
  • 2 elastic strips
  • Scissors
  • Pins/clips
  • Optional: Iron

Instructions:

1. Cut the cotton and flannel fabric into rectangles, making sure the dimensions are 6”x 9”. 

2. Lay one piece of cotton and flannel fabric rectangles on top of each other. Make sure the cotton fabric is on top because it will be facing outside when the mask is complete.

3. Clip or pin the top and bottom of the elastic strip on both sides of the rectangle fabric, about half an inch from the top. Repeat for the second elastic strip.

4. Put the second piece of cotton fabric on top of the other rectangles. Add pins or clips or pins to the side to attach them.

5. Leave a gap about 2.5 inches wide on one side of the rectangle.

6. Then, take the rectangle to your sewing machine to sew the sides together. Don’t sew directly on to the elastic strips. Make sure you remove the clips or pins one at a time as you finish one side.

7. Turn your mask and the strips out. Cut little triangles on the side with your scissors to make the process easier, and avoid cutting your thread if you sewed.

8. Iron about 3-inch folded pieces of your mask if you want pleats. Clip or pin pleats.

9. Finally, sew all the sides and make sure to sew the gap from earlier, and your mask is complete.

Can you make a face mask without a sewing machine or iron?

The answer is yes. The mask might not last as long in since it's glued together, but the iron is only necessary if you want a pleated mask.

What you'll need:

  • E6000 glue
  • 2 pieces of cotton fabric (6”x 9”)
  • 1 piece of flannel (6”x 9”)
  • 2 elastic strips
  • Scissors 
  • Pins/clips

Instructions:

1. Cut 6”x 9” rectangles out of the fabric. 

2. Lay the flannel fabric rectangle down. Place one of the cotton rectangles on top of it.

3. Clip or pin the top and bottom of the elastic strip on both sides of the rectangle fabric about half an inch from the top. Repeat for the second elastic strip.

4. Put the second piece of cotton fabric on top of the other rectangles. To attach the side, add pins, clips or pins.

5. Then, glue the all sides together with E600. Don’t add glue directly on to the elastic strips. Remove the clips or pins one at a time as you finish each side.

6. Turn your mask and the strips out. Cut little triangles on the side with your scissors to make things easier.

We're living in uncertain times right now, but as long as we take precautionary measures and abide by the rules, we can keep ourselves and our loved ones (and strangers!) safe.

RELATED: 8 Ways To Limit Coronavirus Exposure When Grocery Shopping Or Ordering Takeout

Sign Up for the YourTango Newsletter

Let's make this a regular thing!

Tamara Sanon is a writer with a passion for covering topics about health and wellness, lifestyle, astrology, and relationships.

Author
Editor