How to make your own face mask
As evidence is mounting that we should all be wearing face masks to protect ourselves from coronavirus, crafters are sharing simple ways to make masks at home.
Personal protective equipment has become increasingly scarce in recent months as the coronavirus has spread around the world, and face masks are particularly difficult to find.
Health workers have urged members of the public not to buy up surgical masks, as it could create shortages of supplies needed by frontline medical workers exposed to people infected with coronavirus.
While the Australian Government has advised members of the public that there is no good evidence that wearing a mask stops the spread of the coronavirus in healthy populations, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US has said it's becoming increasingly interested in the widespread usage of masks.
A surgical mask, which is made of specialised paper that is protective and breathable, is about 89 per cent effective at protecting sick people from transmitting illness to others, according to the NY Post.
However, using regular household materials to make your own face mask is also not a complete waste of time. A 2013 Cambridge University study found that a dish cloth can protect you from nearly 73 per cent of virus particles; a cotton-blend T-shirt at 70 per cent and; an antimicrobial pillowcase at 68 per cent. You can enhance your protection by doubling up materials, according to that study.
HOW TO MAKE A MASK
Simple protective mask design is fairly easy to replicate with home sewing, and crafters have come up with a pleated design that can stretch over the mouth and nose, with elastic loops that go around the ears.
One crafter, mum Erica Ardnt from the US, said each mask using her simple three-layered takes between five and seven minutes to make.
The design, which you can watch on YouTube, is so cheap and simple to make that one US crafter said she's making them for her local hospital as they struggle to source supplies.
While the homemade masks won't provide as much protection as an N95 particle mask, they are quick and easy to make and are being used by some hospital health workers in the US where supplies are low.
Here's what you'll need to make your own face basic mask.
- Three pieces of fabric 15cm x 23cm fabric for an adult. You can adjust the sizes for children, or smaller faces. (In one tutorial we saw online, two pieces of woven cotton were used along with a piece of thicker linen on the inside, which provides more protection.)
- Two pieces of elastic (1cm x 18cm)
The mask is then made by sewing the elastic ear loops on either side of the fabric, and creating pleats to give the fabric stretch over the face and nose.
You can view the details of the method here.