Non-medical masks and face coverings: Sew and no-sew instructions
If possible, use different fabrics for each side of the face covering, so you know which side faces your mouth and which side is out.
Some homemade mask instructions also include a pocket to accommodate a paper towel or disposable coffee filter for increased benefit.
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- Two 25.5 cm by 15 cm or 10 in by 6 in rectangles of cotton fabric
- Two 15 cm or 6 in pieces of elastic (or rubber bands, string, cloth strips, hair ties)
- Needle and thread
- Sewing machine (if available)
Step 1. Cut out two 25.5 cm by 15 cm or 10 in by 6 in rectangles of cotton fabric. Use tightly woven cotton, such as quilting fabric or cotton sheets. T-shirt fabric will work too. Stack the two rectangles, as you will sew the face covering as if it was a single piece of fabric.
Step 2. Fold over the long sides 0.6 cm or ¼ in and stitch down. Then fold the double layer of fabric over 1.2 cm or ½ in along the short sides and stitch down.
Step 3. Run a 15 cm or 6 in length of 0.3 cm or 1/8 in wide elastic through the wider hem on each side of the face covering. These will be the ear loops. Use a large needle or a bobby pin to thread it through. Tie the ends tight.
Use hair ties or elastic headbands if you do not have elastic. If you only have string, you can make the ties longer and tie the face covering behind your head.
Step 4. Gently pull on the elastic so that the knots are tucked inside the hem. Gather the sides of the face covering on the elastic and adjust so it fits your face. Then securely stitch the elastic in place to keep it from slipping.
No-sew method using a T-shirt
Step 1. Cut the bottom off a t-shirt (front and back), measuring about 18 to 20 cm, or 7 to 8 inches from the bottom. The front and back of the t-shirt fabric should be thick enough that you cannot see daylight through it.
Note: For this step and the next steps, you may need to adjust your cut measurements based on the size of the t-shirt you are using.
Step 2. With this fabric, make two horizontal cuts of 20 cm or 8 inches, on the top and bottom. Keep at least a 1 cm or 0.4 inches width between your cuts and the top and bottom edges of the fabric.
Step 3. Cut out a panel of 5 cm or 2 inches from the larger piece of fabric by making a vertical cut. Discard the cut fabric. This will leave you with a C-shape.
Step 4. Snip the two pieces of fabric at the crease. This will give you a top and bottom set of tie strings. Now you have four strings.
Step 5. Open your fabric up, so that it lies flat.
Step 6. Fold the right-hand flap created between the tie strings in half horizontally, towards the centre of the mask. The edge of the fabric will overlap the centre crease.
Step 7. Repeat step 6 on the left-hand side, folding the fabric over each other. You will now have a mask with three layers of fabric to cover your nose and mouth.
Step 8. Tie one set of strings around your neck, and the other set over the top of your head. The strings that attach over the top of your head will run along your cheeks and above your ears.
No-sew method using a bandana
- Bandana (or square cotton cloth approximately 51 cm by 51 cm or 20.5 in by 20.5 in)
- Coffee filter or a folded paper towel
- Rubber bands (or hair ties)
- Scissors (if you are cutting your own cloth)
Step 1. Cut a coffee filter horizontally across the middle. Keep the top with the rounded part.
Step 2. Fold a square bandana in half.
Step 3. Put the rounded top of the cut filter in the center of your folded bandana. Fold the top of the bandana down over the filter. Then fold the bottom of the bandana up over the filter.
Step 4. Insert the folded cloth into two rubber bands or hair ties, about 15 cm or 6 in apart.
Step 5. Fold sides to the middle and tuck around the bands or hair ties.
Step 6. Pull the bands or hair ties around your ears.
- How to wear a non-medical mask or face covering properly (video)
- How to safely use a non-medical mask or face covering (printable poster)
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