Government issues step-by-step guides on how to make your own face coverings
In order to reserve surgical masks for NHS staff, people are being encouraged to make DIY face coverings.
people are being urged to wear face coverings or masks while out and about or shopping when social distancing is not possible.
Government officials recommended wearing a bandana or scarf in ‘enclosed spaces’ last month. In order to reserve
surgical masks and PPE for NHS staff, people are now being encouraged to make DIY face coverings.
The UK government has issued instructions for making face masks at home, using elastic bands, an old cotton T-shirt or pieces of cloth.
Official advice said coverings will help people avoid transmitting the virus to others if they have it without any symptoms.
How to make an old T-shirt face covering
You will need:
- An old T-shirt (ideally size small or extra small)
What to do
Cut a straight line across the width of the T-shirt (front and back) approximately 20cm from the bottom of the T-shirt.
Step one: cut a line across the t-shirt (Image: UK government)
From a point 2cm below the top right-hand corner of the fabric, make a 15cm horizontal cut through both sides of the fabric that is parallel to the top of the rectangle.
Cut down towards the bottom of the fabric until you reach approximately 2cm above the bottom edge.
From here, make another 15cm cut that runs parallel to the bottom of the fabric to make a rectangle that can be discarded.
Step three: cut out a rectangle (Image: UK government)
To make the ties, cut open the edge of the two long strips of fabric. Unfold the main piece of fabric and place over the mouth and the nose.
The four strips act as ties to hold the cloth face covering in place and should be tied behind the head and around the neck.
How to make a sewn cloth face covering
You will need:
- Two 25cm x 25cm squares of cotton fabric
- Two 20cm pieces of elastic (or string or cloth strips)
- Needle and thread
What to do:
Cut out two 25cm x 25cm squares of cotton fabric. Stack the 2 squares on top of each other.
Fold over one side by 3/4 cm and hem, then repeat on the opposite side.
Make two channels by folding the double layer of fabric over 1.5cm along each side and stitching this down.
(Image: UK government)
Run a 20cm length of elastic (or string or cloth strip) through the wider hem on each side of the face covering.
These will be the ear loops. Use a large needle to thread it through.
Tie the ends tightly. If you only have string, you can make the ties longer and tie the covering behind your head.
Step three: Thread the ear loops and sew them into place
(Image: Uk government)
Gently pull on the elastic so that the knots are tucked inside the hem. Gather the sides of the covering on the elastic and adjust so the covering fits your face.
Then securely stitch the elastic in place to keep it from slipping. These elastic loops fit over the ears.
Step four: Securely stitch the elastic in place to keep it from slipping
(Image: Uk government)
How to safely wear a face covering
The UK government has also issued advice on the correct way to wear a face covering or mask.
- A cloth face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably.
- A covering can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head.
- You should wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on and after taking it off and after use.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth at all times.
- Store used face coverings in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash them.
- Do not touch the front of the face covering, or the part of the face covering that has been in contact with your mouth and nose.
- Once removed, make sure you clean any surfaces the face covering has touched.
- Wash it regularly in the laundry using your normal detergent.