Make your own mask from a tea towel, t-shirt or vacuum bag

Make your own mask from a tea towel, t-shirt or vacuum bag

The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has led to a shortage of protective face masks, leading to a number of online tutorials on how to make your own using items found around the house.

Homemade masks offer significantly less protection than the N95 medical masks, which are made of a thick, tightly woven material that fits over the face and can stop 95 per cent of all airborne particles.

And while many health organisations have recommended to ditch the masks unless in a medical setting, there is a good reason to think DIY masks could be effective in tackling the pandemic.

They’ve been used extensively in countries such as Hong Kong, Mongolia and South Korea – places that have the disease largely under control.

The World Health Organisation also does not recommend that people without the illness wear the face mask, but they’re looking at reversing their decision due to evidence from Hong Kong that it may be effective in fighting the virus.

Here’s how you can make your own at home using a kitchen towel

What you will need:

  • Kitchen towel
  • One tissue
  • Masking tape
  • Elastic bands

  1. Cut both the paper towel and tissue in half and apply masking tape on each end to make sure the mask is stiff.
  2. Punch holes through either end of the mask and thread the elastic bands through the holes.
Your mask is ready in two simple steps.

How to make a face mask with a t-shirt

A tutorial by YouTuber Runa Ray shows how to make a face mask with a t-shirt, no sewing required.

What you will need:

  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Unwanted t-shirt

  1. Cut out a 16" by 4" rectangle from the middle of the t-shirt, then fold it in half, and measure four inches on either side.
  2. Mark the t-shirt with an even number of tassels on each side and use scissors to cut them.
  3. Turn the t-shirt inside out and separate the corner tassels, but tie the remaining ones in-between.
  4. With the remaining t-shirt material cut some ear straps using the hem of the shirt. 
  5. Attach the straps to the remaining outer tassels and you have yourself a face mask, with no sewing involved, and using an old t-shirt.
How to make a face mask from vacuum cleaner bags

What you will need:

  • Vacuum bag
  • Paperclip
  • Two rubber bands
  • Stapler

  1. Cut the bag into a rectangle. Make sure to keep all the layers together.
  2. With the inside of the bag facing upwards fold twice along the bottom and top.
  3. Fold both bottom corners of the bag.
  4. Get a paperclip or other thin wire and straighten it out.
  5. Take two rubber bands and fold the far ends around them. Staple the folds to secure them.
  6. Push the straightened wire through the centre of the top.
  7. Stretch the rubber bands around your ears to hold the mask against your face. Pinch the wire to secure around your nose.