Are you wondering how to make a DIY medical face mask? The demand for surgical face masks has been on the rise ever since the recent coronavirus has spread to different corners of the globe. However, with the current global crisis, face masks are flying off the shelves or are being diverted to hospitals and clinics since medical personnel are in need of them more as they treat Covid-19 patients.
Since the production of this personal protective equipment cannot keep up with the demand, the CDC recommends homemade facemasks in lieu of PPEs to help protect ordinary people against the viral infection. Even those who are in the frontlines are requesting for additional facemasks as an alternative source of protective covering.
Cloth Antiviral Face Mask is Now Recommended
The CDC is currently recommending for everyone to wear face masks when they are in public as a means of stopping the spread of or inhaling droplets from others. Fortunately, makers of cloth face masks are willing to share how to make a face mask for others to create their own. Learning how to build your own DIY face mask will mean that essential personnel will receive PPEs.
Take note, however, that masks that are made at home will not be as effective in filtering compared to the N95 masks. But since there is limited medical grade face masks being made, these cloth masks can be used by those who need to run errands to help reduce their risk.
Ideal Fabric for DIY Medical Face Mask
Researchers from Cambridge University have studied different materials for making homemade facemasks in terms of how well they could filter tiny particles.
Based on the data that they have gathered, among the top fabrics that can be used for making an antiviral face mask are t-shirts made from cotton, pillowcases, as well as any other materials that are made from cotton. Combining two layers of cotton fabric can increase the filtration rate of the mask.
In another study, the best masks are those that were made using two layers of “quilters cotton” that has a thread count of 180 plus a thicker as well as tighter weave.
Creating Your Very Own DIY Face Mask
If you are wondering how to make a face mask, this tutorial is a good place to start. This pattern is for an adult sized mask. Here’s what you need:
- Any fabric made from 100% cotton and has a tight weave
- Scissors used for cutting fabric
- Clips or even pins
- Fabric ties or 1/8” flat elastic to create ear loops
- Thread and sewing machine
When making a face mask for an adult, you should cut the fabric into a single rectangle with the dimensions 16” x 8.5”. You will need to cut 2 elastic pieces which should be at least 7” to 8” long.
In case you are making masks for children, the rectangle fabric should be 14” x 6.5” with the elastic pieces around 6” long.
For a large child, make the measurements of the fabric to be 15” x 7.5” while the elastic pieces must be 6.5” long.
In case you won’t be using any elastic for the ear loop, fabric ties can be a useful substitute. Simply cut rectangles that are 18” x 1.75”. You should then fold the longer sides until they meet in the center. Fold it in half once more to cover the edges. Run the fabric in the sewing machine to stitch the length of the rectangle to produce the final result which is the fabric ties. You can trim the ties as you see fit.
Instructions to Follow
Once you have all the materials and that you have cut the fabrics accordingly, you can now follow the steps below.
Sew the Fabric Top Side and With Pocket
Start by folding the prepared fabric in half. The right sides should be facing one another. Sew the edge of the top 8.5” width using a seam allowance of 5/8”. There should be at least 3 to 4 inches of opening in the middle of the seam since this is where you will be placing the extra filters for the mask. This is also where you will be turning the mask right side out afterwards.
Turn your fabric until the seam where the opening is found is placed in the middle. Iron the seam so that the opening will appear. Fold any excess allowance from the seam under the opening then sew using zig-zag or topstitch along the sides of the seam to prevent them from fraying whenever you insert and remove any additional filters.
Pin Fabric or Elastic Ties
For elastic ties, you should pin one each at least ¼” or even half an inch from the top and bottom corners of the mask. Take note that the ties should be sandwiched between the fabrics. This should be done on all sides prior to sewing the entire mask so that, by the time you turn it right side out, the elastic ear loops will be outside.
If you are going to use fabric ties, they should be sewn on each corner of the mask to be tied at the back of the head once the entire mask is sewn.
This tutorial is perfect for making DIY face masks as an added support when stepping outside the house. Although they may not be 100% effective in filtering minute particles, they can be used as an alternative to face masks instead.