Earlier this month, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that Americans should wear masks that cover the mouth and nose whenever they leave their homes and go to public places. The decision, made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, aims to prevent transmission of coronavirus.
Wearing a face mask in public does not eliminate the need for social distancing measures or handwashing, but it is an additional step Americans can take to prevent the spread of the virus.
The CDC also recommends that citizens use simple cloth face masks, not N-95 respirators or surgical masks, as those should be saved for healthcare workers.
By constructing your own face mask to wear in public spaces, you can help prevent the spread and keep others in your community safe while also preserving medical masks for healthcare workers.
Basic Tee Shirt Face Covering
This is the most basic of the three do-it-yourself (DIY) tutorials and only requires a basic cotton tee shirt.
Although this can be done with a women’s fit tee shirt, the standard men’s fit works better.
Step One: Put your head through the neck hole of the tee shirt as you normally would, but keep the neck hemline just below your eyes and across your nose. If the fabric slips down your nose, you can tuck the fabric of the tee shirt near and around your ears.
Step Two: Take the sleeves on either side and tie them behind your head. You want the shirt to be tight enough on your nose and mouth that the mask does not fall, but not so tight that you cannot breathe.
Now you have a simple face covering that will prevent potential virus spread.
Tee Shirt Mask
This is a more involved DIY tutorial and requires a cotton tee shirt (one that you do not mind cutting up) and some scissors.
Step One: Cut off about five inches from the bottom of the tee shirt.
Step Two: Cut up the horizontal side of the shirt so the fabric is one long sheet folded over.
Step Three: From the open side, cut two slits horizontally one inch from the bottom and one inch from the top.
Step Four: Cut out the square in-between the two slits, leaving two straps.
Step Five: Unfold what you have cut. You should have a center panel with a top strap and a bottom strap on each side.
Step Six: Place the panel over your nose and mouth then tie the two top straps together around your neck.
Step Seven: Tie the two bottom straps above the top straps around the back of your head. You may need to tie a bow to keep the mask from sliding.
The end result is a secure and simple face mask.
Bandana Face Mask
This is another simple DIY, but is more flexible with its materials. You need either a bandana or a piece of fabric roughly the size of a bandana (22 inches by 22 inches) as well as two bands to place around your ears. Elastic ponytail holders are ideal, but you can use string tied in a loop, rubber bands or extra fabric as well.
Step One: Fold the top horizontal half down to the middle.
Step Two: Fold the bottom horizontal half down to the middle.
Step Three: Turn over and repeat folding towards the middle.
Step Four: Place the bands roughly one fourth of the way from each end.
Step Five: Fold the ends at the bands towards the middle then turn over again.
Step Six: Place each band around your ears and adjust so the fabric covers your nose and chin securely.
The finished result is an easy to create and an easy to remove mask for everyday use.
Cleaning Your Face Mask
In addition to being easy to make, these no sew masks are also easy to sanitize. Currently, it is unknown how long the virus can live on soft surfaces like clothes, so it is a good idea to clean your mask after each use.
The CDC currently claims that a simple cycle in the washing machine should suffice to clean the masks. Since all three masks consist of cotton fabric, they should all be easy to throw in with the rest of your laundry.