How to Make a DIY Fabric Face Mask

The CDC is now recommending that we all wear some type of mask or face covering to protect us from coronavirus when out in public visiting essential businesses like pharmacies and grocery stores.

You can order a mask online, but you might run into low inventory or delayed shipping issues. Fortunately, there’s an easy way that you can DIY a face mask using fabric and other materials that you probably have in your apartment right now.

We found a no-sew DIY fabric face mask from @theangrydesigner on Instagram that pretty much anyone can make. These masks won’t be safe for medical workers, but they will provide you some protection if you need to leave your home for a short period of time.

Creating your DIY fabric face mask

The first thing you need to do is to gather the supplies you’ll need. To make our fabric face mask, we used the following items:

  • Fabric (hand towel, T-shirt, bandana, handkerchief, etc.)
  • Old shoelace (cooking twine or ribbon handles from a shopping bag would also work)
  • New fiberglass-free vacuum bags (coffee filters would also work)
  • Scissors

mask supplies

Step 1: Cut everything to the proper size

Take your fabric and cut into a square that’s between a foot and 18 inches on either side. Cut your HEPA vacuum bag into a rectangle that’s roughly a quarter the length of your fabric sides for the height and one inch shorter than the fabric sides for the length. This will be used as the filter in your mask.

NOTE: Only use a vacuum bag if it is fiberglass-free. We used EnviroCare HEPA bags, which the manufacturer claims do not contain any fiberglass.

mask image 1

You’ll then place the cut vacuum bag on the fabric, roughly an inch away from all edges. If you’re using a coffee filter instead of a vacuum bag, fold it into a square shape and center it one inch from the top of your fabric.

Step 2: Fold the fabric over three times

Using the part with the filter as your guide, fold the extra inch of your fabric over the filter, so the top half is being covered.

mask image 2

Then, roll the entire thing over three times. You should end up with a piece of fabric that’s roughly the size of your original filter.

mask image 3

Step 3: Attach your string

Fold the shoelace in half and place in the middle of your folded fabric so it resembles a cross or plus sign.

mask image 4

You’ll then pull each piece of your shoelace to the side so it’s about an inch or two from the edge of your folded fabric.

mask image 5

Step 4: Fold fabric over the shoelace and tuck in

Fold the edge of your fabric over the shoelaces. Adjust the loop of the shoelace so it’s big enough to fit over your head (it doesn’t have to be an exact fit here, you’ll adjust it again later).

mask image 6

Then, tuck one end of the fabric into the other. You’ll want to really get it in the folds that you’ve created, but make sure your fabric remains long enough to fully cover your mouth and nose.

mask image 7

Step 5: Adjust your string and tie

Place the loop over your head and place above your ears. Pull on the end of the strings if necessary to tighten. Just like when tying your shoes, try to keep each side of your shoelace roughly the same length.

mask image 8

Pulling the ends of the strings behind your head, tie a double knot to secure the mask.

mask image 9

Cleaning your DIY fabric face mask

The great about this no-sew face mask is that you can clean it every day. Simply undo the mask and put the fabric in your washing machine with bleach to clean. Do not wash the filter insert.

Stay safe and stay responsible

The general guidance from the CDC is to stay home when necessary to help flatten the curve and limit your potential exposure to the coronavirus. However, if you must go out, this DIY fabric face mask offers some sort of protection.

Do you have any other DIY face mask methods that have worked for you? Let us know in the comments!

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Brian CarberryBrian Carberry has more than 15 years of experience as a content creator and award-winning journalist. He is currently the managing editor of Apartment Guide and Rent.com, and his work has been featured on CNN, Search Engine Land, Campaign Monitor, Randstad and a number of other organizations around the world. In his free time, Brian enjoys sports, cooking (followed by eating) and debating the correct pronunciation of "gif."

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