People across the country now have to wear face coverings in certain circumstances when out of the house, to help limit the spread of coronavirus.

While medical face masks and respirators are prioritised for health and care workers, you might want to try making your own face covering, wherever you live.

Here’s our guide to different types and step-by-step instructions on how to make them.

Whether you’re handy with a sewing machine, like cutting up old t-shirts or just want a quick fix, the principles are the same: the more layers of material the better, and the mask needs to fit snugly around the face, and you should be able to breathe comfortably.

One study has shown that the best materials to use are tightly woven cottons or twill, natural silk or quilted cotton material. But you can also make do with what you have around your home.

No sewing necessary

Let’s start with a simple one.

Folding cloth and elastic bands. Materials: Bandana, handkerchief (or square cotton cloth approximately 50cm x 50cm) Elastic bands (or hair ties). Lay the cloth out flat. Fold in half. Fold top third down, fold bottom up. Thread through two elastic bands, 12cm apart. Fold each side to the middle and tuck in. Place mask over nose and mouth, bands behind ears.

The government advises washing your hands or using hand sanitiser before putting on and after taking off face coverings.

How to wear your mask

  • 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
  • Wash a face covering regularly – it can go in with other laundry, using your normal detergent

Our next example uses an old t-shirt, preferably thick cotton or a cotton and polyester mix. And still nothing to sew.

How to make a mask from an old t-shirt: Draw pattern across arms and body of t-shirt. (Remember to get the t-shirt owner’s permission first.) Cut along pattern so you have two-layered piece. Pin one side. Insert non-woven fabric material, coffee filter or paper towel. Pin other side. Tie at back so it is tight across nose and tight under chin.

Homemade masks are not necessarily intended to help the wearer, the government says, but they could help stop you inadvertently passing on the disease to others if you have it but are not showing symptoms.

If you do have coronavirus symptoms – such as a high temperature or continuous cough, you should stay indoors and isolate at home.

Whichever face covering you use, they are not a substitute for other lockdown rules. Hand hygiene especially is just as important as before – so washing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds when you get home.

The sewing challenge

Our third example needs a few stitches, but they can be as simple or as complicated as you like – as long as it all holds in place and survives a few washes.

How to make a facemask by sewing two pieces of cloth together: Cut two cloth rectangles 25cmx15cm and place on top of each other, lengthways. Fold over the top of the fabric 0.6cm and stitch all the way across. Fold the bottom up and stitch 2.5cm inwards from the edge on either side - the will create a filter pocket. Fold the shorter sides in about 1cm and stitch - leaving a gap to thread elastic. Thread a 15cm piece of elastic through the hem on one side and tie the ends. Repeat on the other side. Put filter material inside pocket. Place mask over face and adjust before stitching elastic in place.

There are plenty of other ways to make a face covering – and many examples on social media from professional, designer logo’d masks to cut-up sports socks.

Have fun giving them a go. Remember you might need more than one, so you have something to use while the other is being washed. Face coverings should not be used for children under the age of two years or people who might not be able to fit them correctly.

When you have your mask, here are a few reminders of what not to do.

DO NOT use if damaged or damp, DO NOT wear it around chin, DO NOT wear loose-fitting masks, DO NOT pull away from face to speak, DO NOT touch front of mask, DO NOT share your mask

Source: BBC News

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