Here’s How to Make a Face Mask at Home in 4 Steps

Here’s How to Make a Face Mask at Home in 4 Steps
Image: Shutterstock
At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW - prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.

We might have started a new year but face masks certainly aren’t going anywhere. With the government urging us to strictly adhere to social distancing guidelines and face coverings now being mandatory for certain settings in Greater Sydney and Victoria, people are changing their way of life to adapt to the new ‘normal.’

If you need to wear a face mask while out in public but are unable to find any in stores – don’t panic. It’s a lot easier than you’d think to make your own face mask at home with few materials and if you’re handy on the sewing machine, even better! All you’ll need is 5 items and you’ll have a face mask in 4 quick steps.

face mask cloth mask sock
Image: Getty Images

What you’ll need for a DIY face mask:

  1. The first thing you’ll need for a face mask is pretty obvious – a sewing machine. The Janome JR1012 is one of the holy grail machines, fitted with built-in stitches, variable lengths and automatic bobbin winding. If you’re looking for something a little more lowkey, this portable sewing machine is perfect for beginners and comes with fast delivery.
  2. Along with the machine, you’ll require a needle and thread for the finer work (getting a kit like this one is the easiest and most cost-effective way to do it). 
  3. Once you have the equipment, you’ll need to source some cotton fabric. People have chosen everything from old t-shirts to socks and muslin cloths. If you’re keen to jazz it up a little, you can opt for patterned fabric like these ones.
  4. You’ll also require a pair of scissors. Most people usually think they have scissors lying around in their kitchen drawer but soon realise they don’t. If that’s the case for you, it’s best to buy a premium pair that’ll get the job done (no safety scissors here). These stainless steel sewing ones  are durable and ultra-sharp – grab a pair and get snipping.
  5.  Lastly, you’ll need a bag of rubber bands. You can buy one of assorted sizes online for under $10. 
Image: Centre For Disease Control and Preventions

What to do:

  1. Once you have everything, you’ll need to cut 10 by 6 inch rectangles, fold the long sides down and hem, before folding the short sides and stitching down.
  2. Then, you’ll cut your elastic band and thread it through the longer side, before tying it in a knot.
  3. Pull it together, gather the sides and pop on your face mask. 

It’s important to remember that a fabric face mask likely won’t work as well as surgical masks for the simple reason that they don’t fit and filter as well as their surgical counterparts. A homemade face mask has its 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.

Log in to comment on this story!