Never did I think I’d be writing a post like this on my website! Oh how times have changed! There’s been a lot of debate about do face masks actually work. It seems that the answer is no, they don’t stop YOU from getting anything. BUT if you were to have symptoms/be asymptomatic then it’d potentially help stop those around you from getting infected. However, this post isn’t about the ins and outs of if they work. It’s about how to make a face mask from a bandana.
I read something recently that flights to and from Canada may require passengers to wear a face covering. There’s also talk of when places start ‘opening up’, that masks may be a requirement in public/on public transport. Yet at the same time it’s important NOT to be buying up masks and PPE (personal protection equipment) that front line and key workers NEED for their daily jobs.
I recently saw a video on YouTube from a UK day time TV show where they were talking about how to make homemade face masks from things that you already have around the house. I was drawn to the no sew bandana option. But I looked a bit like Phillip at one point, where it covered my whole face and I couldn’t get it to stay behind my ears, so I altered the design slightly!
I’m not sure if I’ll actually end up wearing them out and about but at least I’m prepared if I need to. Please also think about the health aspects of using face masks. They aren’t mean’t to be warn for HOURS. It’s more of a temporary solution. Don’t touch the part directly in front of your mouth because then the germs will be on your hands etc etc. Again, I’m not a medical professional. I’m just trying to navigate these times like everyone else!
How To Make A Face Mask From A Bandana
In the video for the no sew bandana, they literally folded it in half, folded it in half again, then folded each ‘side’ so they met in the centre. Then put elastic bands in the folded creases of these side sections so you can put it over your face and ears. Like I said though, this was too big for my little head. So here’s my edited version!
1. Cut the bandana in half
Yay! This then makes 2 face masks
2. Fold the bandana in half
I decided to ‘hem’ the part that I cut just to stop it from fraying. You don’t necessarily need to do this though. I also chose to have the folded edge at the top.
3. Fold in the sides
Folding the sides so the edges meet in the middle is a good place to start. I found this still a little bit too big for my head so on my second mask, I over lapped them slightly. This made the length of the mask shorter.
4. Lay a shoe lace in each of the folds
After discovering my ears aren’t very strong, I thought that shoe laces would be a better option. That way I can just tie them together behind my head. It also then means that the face mask is adjustable so I have more control as to how tight I can make it.
5. Stitch a line from top to bottom, 1 inch in from each end
As I only had 1 pair of spare shoe laces, by leaving an inch gap I can easily remove and reinsert them. If the stitching was any closer to the lace I think I’d have trouble reinserting them. I then cut the excess fabric off. If you wanted to have more layers over the mouth, you could leave them. It was recommended that cotton face masks should at LEAST be double layered as a minimum.
6. Insert a ‘filter’
By leaving the open end at the bottom, it gives you the opportunity to put in a ‘filter’. The video I watched said this could literally be a coffee filter or even paper towel/kitchen roll. I slightly stitched either side to close up the ‘hole’. I don’t think a filter would fall or slide out, but it now only has a 4 inch gap instead of being the full length of the mask.
7. Tie around your face!
I find the most comfortable way to wear the face mask, is to grab all 4 ends of the shoe laces and then tie the whole lot together above the point where my hair is tied up. This makes a bit of a giant double bow. Having the bottom of the mask tied up ‘that high’, makes it tighter around my chin so it fits closer around my face.
It’s not perfect, but then I’m not a professional. I don’t have a sewing machine so hand stitched everything myself. The face mask is quite close to my eyes and doesn’t lay completely tight against my skin. But then because of the worry of people buying up proper stocks, I don’t think there are any form of requirements for face coverings YET. It seems at the moment that anything is better than nothing type thing. I’ve even seen just using a scarf can be ‘enough’. Just make sure the ‘reusable’ ones are washed after being worn, don’t keep using them.
Another option I’ve got is to use a buff (the elasticated neck/head scarfs). Like the bandana version, apparently you just fold it in half and then have the same option to insert a ‘filter’ again. When I wear a buff in winter though, it is really tight, makes it hard to speak and my breath makes it ‘moist’ fairly quickly.
Hopefully we get back to some sort of ‘normal’ sooner rather than later. But at least I now have some sort of option if it becomes a requirement!
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