Face masks are becoming the new normal, since it has been made compulsory for Lagosians to wear a face mask when in public. Most people would rather buy a face mask than make one for themselves but we can’t rule out the fact that it is becoming a scarce commodity due to the ever-increasing demand of the face masks.
To make a face mask however, you really don’t have to go through the complexity of understanding face mask patterns or dusting off your sewing machine. Actually, you can do it without any sewing. You can make a homemade, non-medical face masks in many different ways. But we will just cover three of the ways outlined by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, UK), plus tips on how to make easy and comfortable face masks.
Before we get started, it is important to note that wearing a face mask should not stop you from following social distancing measures and practicing good hygiene. The official advice on the face mask thingy differ across the globe, but the general consensus is that wearing a homemade face mask will not help protect you from contracting Covid-19. But it can help protect others from you passing on any germs that you may be carrying. So you might want to consider whether – or not – you need an homemade face mask at all. Still, you may decide to make them for others to wear, or even sell them to generate income. So then, bearing all of that in mind, Here are three ways to make your own face mask.
Bandana-Style Face Mask
The quickest way to make a face mask, bandana-style. What you need is a bandana or scarf, 2 x elastic or rubber bands, or hair ties, and a coffee filter, paper towel or kitchen roll (optional). Fold your bandana or scarf in half, then fold it again twice – lengthways from both the top and the bottom. At this point, you can also add a square piece of coffee filter, paper towel or kitchen roll to your mask – which you can change. Then place your rubber bands or hair ties around your strip of material, and fold the material in towards the middle, tucking the ends into each other if possible.
Image Credit: CDC
If you have a T-shirt that you don’t mind cutting up, then you can easily and quickly make a face mask from it. We would advice you to not use old T-shirts that have holes in them or are worn through. Ideally, your T-shirt should be 100 per cent cotton and as opaque as possible. Cut the bottom off your T-shirt. The height of the amount of material you need should be the length from the top of your nose to underneath your chin (around 7-8-inches of 17-20cm). It’s best to cut bigger than you think you need so you can trim the excess later. Then cut into your T-shirt – around 6-7-inches (15-17cm) – to make the ties for your face mask. Adjust until you get a snug fit around your nose and chin. If you like, you can add a coffee filter or paper towel to your face mask, and secure it with a safety pin.
Image Credit: CDC
Cloth Face Mask
This will require sewing a face mask with cloth materials. You probably have been seeing people wear some colourful face masks made from Ankara and other beautiful fabrics. To do this, you will need:
Image Credit: CDC
Cotton fabric (10 x 6-inches or roughly 25 x 15 cm)
2 x 6-inch (15cm) pieces of elastic or rubber bands, hair ties or strips of cloth
Sewing machine (ideally, you could do this by hand)
Needle and thread
There are various ways to make a cloth face mask, of varying difficulty. The simplest patterns require just two pieces of cloth and some elastic, or something that you will use as ties. If you want your DIY face mask to stand out.
First, place your two pieces of fabric on top of each other. You want the pattern that you’d like to be on the ‘front’ of your mask face down. The piece of material facing up towards you will be the inside of your mask.
Next, fold over the long sides of the material around 1/4-inch or 0.5-1cm. Pin in place (don’t worry too much if you don’t have any pins, you can always use a needle or just keep checking that your fabric is held together) and hem. Hem just means folding the edges of your material over and stitching them so that your fabric will not fray and will stay together.
Once you have hemmed along the length of your face mask, fold over the sides of your face mask around 1/2 an inch (1.5cm), pin and hem the sides too.
Once you have created your hem, you can thread your elastic or hair ties through the hem you have created. You’ll need a needle to do this, or a pin, or basically anything that you can use to poke the elastic through your hem – a thin pencil might do the job.
With your ties threaded through the sides of your mask, tie your elastic or hair ties in secure knots, and move the knots until they can be tucked inside the hem. You can then adjust your face mask to fit your face, and add some stitches on either end of your face mask to keep your elastic in place.