Watch: How to make a face mask at home
Face masks have quickly become a staple part of our wardrobe, rain or shine there’s no getting away from them. While you can easily pick one up on the high street or online, many of us have decided to make a statement and make our own.
Chelsey Bowen, YouTuber and DIY goddess, told Yahoo UK “A fabric face mask can cost a fortune, people are racking up massive bills using the disposable ones.”
Chelsey shows us three different ways to make a face mask from scratch at home using upcycled material you probably have knocking about in the house already.
“Let’s face it, face masks have become pretty dominant in our lives. They have to be on our faces in restaurants, on public transport, ever since they have become mandatory.”
Although there is little evidence to suggest that face masks protect you from contracting COVID-19, there is evidence to suggest that they can help reduce the transmission of the virus to others, keeping us all safer in the process.
Face coverings are mandatory in England in shops, takeaways, on public transport, as well as places of worship and entertainment venues.
Chelsey uses a cotton shirt she bought from a charity shop to make the masks, but she says you can use anything lying around in your wardrobe that you don’t want anymore.
Watch: What is the latest guidance on masks?
When choosing a fabric to make your face mask, WHO recommends the mask to have three layers; an outer layer of hydrophobic material such as polyester or a polyester and cotton blend which repels droplets and moisture, an inner layer of hydrophilic material like cotton which absorbs droplets from your breath easily, and a middle layer which acts as a filter and should ideally be a strip of polypropylene fabric.
While making her own masks, Chelsey starts by using a generic template that can be found easily online and cuts the shirt into the desired shape.
For the first mask she uses a sewing machine and 2 layers of fabric with pieces of elastic for the ear loops.
This option is great for flexibility because the elastic loops stretch to fit your face so there’s no need to worry about getting the measurements perfect, and it also means you can make them for friends and family without knowing their head size.
It’s also probably the fastest way to make a mask because the sewing machine does all the hard work while you relax.
The second mask is similar, but is hand stitched for all those who don’t have a sewing machine and the ear loops are made of ribbon, but Chelsey says you can even use shoe laces if that’s all you have!
This option is great because you can get your fashionista hat on and use quirky ribbons or ties in all kinds of colours, textures and patterns.
Chelsey opts for a hot pink ribbon to go with her check mask, but you could use any style you wanted, be it velvet ribbon or those multi-coloured shoelaces you swore you were going to wear when you were 14 and never made it happen.
This option is also super handy because all you need is a needle and thread, and the loops can either tie round your ears or your head depending on how you prefer to wear your mask.
Watch: How to remove a face covering correctly
The final mask is the pièce de résistance… a homemade mask using only the shirt and fabric glue, no sewing or stitching needed.
So if you think you’d never be able to make your own face mask, think again. Chelsey has got you covered.
Chelsey pre-empts concerns about the fact that the shirt she used was second hand from a charity shop which some might worry is unsafe during a pandemic, by explaining that as long as the clothing is washed at 60 degrees before using it it will not be a problem - this is in line with NHS guidance.
“I would recommend [washing at 60 degrees] if you are buying the fabric new anyway because it’s going to preshrink your fabric, then your masks won’t shrink anymore when you’re washing them.”
Chelsey’s brilliant tutorials will have you making face masks for family and friends in no time, but be sure your mask always covers your nose, mouth and chin to ensure you’re properly covered.
Visit Chelsey’s YouTube channel for more incredible upcycling hacks to do at home.