How To Make A Face Mask From A T-Shirt, Bandana Or Cloth

Melanie Woods
DIY cloth face masks are shown here.

To mask or not to mask? It’s a question that’s been on Canadians’ minds as the COVID-19 pandemic has ramped up here and around the world. Many health officials have said they aren’t necessary, while some countries have moved to formally require mask use for people out in public. 

Now, we have an answer here in Canada — sort of. 

On Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) formally recommended masks as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Then, on Monday, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Teresa Tam recommended Canadians wear “non-medical” masks to protect people around them.

Don’t buy PPE

“The special advisory committee on COVID-19 has come to a consensus that wearing a non-medical mask even if you have no symptoms is an additional measure that you can take to protect others around you,” she said. 

She stressed that a mask isn’t there to necessarily protect you, it’s to protect asymptomatic people from unintentionally spreading droplets to those around them.

But, before you rush to stock up on surgical masks, remember that PPE (personal protective equipment) is in short supply, and you can make a face covering at home. 

So, how do you actually make your own mask? Turns out it’s a lot easier than you think. Here are three different masks you can make yourself. for free, with materials you probably already own. 

Sewing machine method

Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto released simple instructions for a two-ply, pleated mask you can make quickly and easily with a sewing machine.

What you need:

  • standard sewing supplies (sewing machine, measuring tape, etc.)
  • dark-coloured polyester fabric for the outside of the mask (this could be substituted with 100% cotton if polyester is not available)
  • light-coloured 100% cotton for the part of the mask that goes against the skin 
  • elastic

The hospital is challenging local residents to collectively sew 1,000 homemade masks a week to both wear themselves and to donate to the...

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