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Coronavirus: How to make your own face mask



People across the country are being advised to wear face coverings in certain circumstances when out of the house, to help limit the spread of coronavirus. From 15 June, you must wear one on public transport in England.

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.

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.

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.

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.

All masks shown were made by members of the BBC’s Visual Journalism team

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