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DIY Face Masks

Posted by on Friday, April 10, 2020 Under: DIY
Since disposable face masks were being reserved for our healthcare workers at the beginning of the pandemic, we've resorted to making face masks with things we already have at home. While I was pregnant I picked up sewing to hem my maternity pants. Several years later, this sewing machine is coming around to be so useful for today's pandemic.

Week 1 of Making Face Masks

Using Hobby Lobby's guidelines, here are the two face mask sizes I made pictured below: one standard size and the other one was made to fit my kids. The Hobby Lobby's guidelines is set for the standard adult size for pleated face masks. I attempted to make the first one for my sons but then realized it was way too big so this big green one is now mine and the second smaller one pictured below is for my sons. They both have small heads so I made two of the small ones in the same pattern.
 (These green ones were the very first ones I sewed in March 2020.)

(I've gotten much better a year later and these robot ones are the more recent ones that I sewed in April 2021, a year later after the pandemic started.)
During the first month of the pandemic declaration, I couldn't find new elastic bands online for purchase and didn't want to go on a long scavenger hunt at our local stores so I found these old elastic headbands in my bathroom cabinet and used them as ear loops instead. They were amazing substitutes! I had one in black, green and white so they were just enough for our four face masks! I had to make the ear loops for my kids shorter. Otherwise, the small face mask wouldn't fit securely on their faces.

The most time consuming part for me was measuring the pleats evenly on both sides. The pleats are helpful in making sure the mouth and nose get good coverage. 

For the pleated face mask, according to Hobby Lobby's instructions, you'd need a fabric that is 8 inches x 15 inches. I used those dimensions for my husband and me. For the kids, I had to kind of eye it so for my boys (3 and 6 years old), I decided to cut the fabric size to 8 inches x 10 inches for them. It was perfect for my 6 year old but slightly too big for my 3 year old. However, it did not fall off his face and he could grow into them quickly. If your kid's face is on the bigger side, make them bigger than that and use your best judgment. I also feel that if you use hair ties instead of headbands, you'd need to make sure that the hair tie is long enough. I've found hair ties that were too short to use as ear loops.

Other things at home that you could use as elastics for the ear loops include old bikini straps and elastics inside of fitted sheets that you no longer use and can repurpose as a face mask.

This is a picture of the other two face masks I made below. I made my husband's face mask with his favorite NFL sports team's fabric, the Carolina Panthers.

For the kids' masks, you can see that I didn't add as many pleats.

UNIME Anti-Dust Mouth Mask Cotton Mouth Mask,Unisex Black Face Mask Reusable Fashion Mask Anime Face Mask Washable Mask Reusable Mask for Cycling Camping Travel for Men Women,Pack of 2

Week 2 of Making Face Masks
After I finished making pleated face masks for my family, a new trend started online of more people wearing non-pleated masks. Some of them even look like bra cups, which is facinating to me. If we save all of these non-pleated face masks, we can make bikini tops for the summer! I wanted to see if making these masks would be easier to make so I watched a tutorial online from Treasurie's blog and made myself a fabric stencil for it. 

There is definitely more cutting involved for making the non-pleated cup style face masks but I still enjoyed learning to make it. This mask ended up being a 3 layer mask so there is a sense of protection there and I find that this mask style is easier to breathe through than the pleated ones. Whether they offer more or the same protection as the pleated face masks, I'm not sure?

Here's how my non-pleated face mask looks below. I also now use pantyhose cuts as ear loops, instead of elastics because elastics are still so hard to find now. However, I've discovered that these nylon pantyhose subsitutions are so much better for the ears as they don't hurt when you wear them for too long. I also want to note that this sailboat face mask was made from a baby bed sheet that both of my kids used when they slept in a crib. Therefore, any mask that I make out of this has so much sentimental value to me.

Week 3 of Making Face Masks
After a couple of weeks of making face masks, I decided that I was confident enough to make face masks as gifts for friends. Here's how my 3rd week of face mask making looks like below. These are pleated face masks that I've significantly improved since week 1. The ear loops of these below are also made out of 1 inch cuts from a nylon pantyhose. I'm more careful with sizing my pleats and making sure my sewing is more steady. Plus, I'm not taking any more shortcuts and used an iron.

Stay safe, everyone. 

Similar Supplies for Sewing Projects:
Nautical Light Blue Sail Boat Marine Print Cotton Drapery Upholstery Fabric 55"W (by The Yard)

melupa 109 Yards Length 1/4 Inch Width Elastic Bands White Braided Elastic String Cord Heavy Stretch Elastic Rope for Sewing Craft, DIY Earloop, Beading

In : DIY 

Tags: do it yourself face mask  diy  face covering  pleated face masks  face mask elastics 

About Me

San Luis Obispo Mom Originally from San Diego, California, I'm a San Diego State University alumna, veteran's wife and mom of two kids who were born two years apart. After living on the East Coast for 6 years, we now reside in San Luis Obispo County and here, the exploration continues.
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