How to Make a Face Mask Without a Sewing Machine

How to Make a Face Mask Without a Sewing Machine
Image: ti-ja / Getty
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With the recent outbreaks of COVID-19 across Sydney and Victoria, people are heading out to restock on hand sanitiser and face masks in droves. While we’re not entirely certain of what the future holds, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared this time (especially if you went weeks without toilet paper last time). 

Online sellers and stores are quickly selling out of face masks – particularly as it’s now mandatory across Victoria and Greater Sydney. If you’re keen to leave the house but don’t want to cop a hefty fine, you’ll need a face mask (and fast). To the surprise of almost everyone, it’s incredibly simple to make your own face mask – you don’t even need to know how to sew! All you need is two items which are easily found online and you’ll have your own mask in less than ten minutes. Read ahead to see exactly what you’ll need and what to do. 

Young asian woman wearing protective face mask in city due to the polluted air
Image: Getty Images

What you’ll need for DIY face masks:

  1. The first thing you’ll need is something like a bandana, square cotton cloth (these handkerchiefs work a treat) or an old t-shirt. People have now caught onto the fact that bandanas are pretty useful for making face masks as well, so they’ve been flying out the door. If this sounds like something you can get behind, you’re encouraged to jump on the band(ana) wagon quickly. You can grab a 12-pack of 100% cotton bandanas for $24.99, or you can buy them individually for $2.75 here if you just need the one. 
  2. You’ll then need a few rubber bands to hold the covering in place on your face. It’s easiest to buy a packet in bulk in case you need to make extra – plus they’re just handy. If you’re feeling festive, you can even buy a bag of rainbow bands to make sure you stand out in the crowd.
Image: Amazon

What to do:

  1. Once you’ve got your equipment, the rest is fairly straightforward. Start by folding your bandana in half and then half again.
  2. Then, place rubber bands about 6 inches apart, fold the sides to the middle and tuck in – and voila! 

Image: Centre For Disease Control and Preventions

If the only thing you’ve got lying around is a pair of scissors and some old socks – you can bet there’s a tutorial for that too.  Check out the step-by-step tutorial here and you’ll be ready to brace the world in 5-minutes flat.

sock face mask tutorial
Image: TikTok (Safia Aggoune)

It’s important to remember that fabric face masks likely don’t work as well as surgical face masks for the simple reason that they don’t fit and filter as well as their surgical counterparts. Homemade face masks have their imperfections, but it’s widely agreed that some kind of face covering is better than nothing. For a deeper-dive into three separate studies on the effectiveness of various masks, read our other article here.

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