To address the ongoing shortage of face masks, people are getting crafty by making reusable cloth face masks from old clothes and dust bags. While cloth face masks offer limited protection compared to surgical ones, it’s still better to wear one only if you are going outside of your home to buy essentials. This leaves the medical-grade versions for those who are sick and the healthcare workers who are in need of them the most. Ahead, check out the different DIY cloth face masks you can make at home.
Some kinds of fabrics work better as filtering cloths in face masks. Ones with thicker and tighter weaves, such as batik and heavyweight quilter’s cotton, are ideal for face masks. If you don't have these, a dust bag can work well, especially if you can make it with two or more layers. A cotton dust bag layered underneath a silkier material was used in this particular DIY face mask and used some Moleskin notebook elastic for ties.
Not everyone has dust bags, but scrap fabrics can be found anywhere. Bear in mind that since these fabrics have looser weaves, they offer minimal protection and should only be used if you really have to leave the house for a short period of time. For your first try, you can use a stencil guide for cutting the fabric so the mask will cover most of your lower face.
Have an old bandana lying around? This no-sew version is very breathable while still providing a lot of coverage. You just need a pair of rubber bands or hair ties to hold it in place around your ears. A big bandana can be folded into multiple layers that will suffice for a few minutes outside of the house.
If you have a T-shirt you don’t wear anymore, give it a second chance at life by making it into a cloth face mask. It’s also recommended that you use ties rather than elastics to tie it around your ears since it’s more adjustable. You can maximise the cloth by making the ties from the same fabric as the mask.
It doesn’t hurt to add a little bling to your face mask. Use different fabrics that have tighter knits to create multiple layers. Then, using any beads or appliques available, you can decorate the outermost layer of the cloth face mask. It’s a fun, creative way to spend your free time but don’t expect it to provide sufficient protection if you stick with flimsier fabrics.
While these DIY cloth face masks are handy, it’s still better to practice physical distancing and minimal human-to-human contact. Stay home, stay safe.
(Cover photo from: @myrnamyura)
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