Tips for Making Masks

Making DIY face masks is a perfect project for a first time sewer. The whole family can learn to sew while you make masks in a variety of colors. It’s good to have a lot of them on hand so they get washed after each use! Have fun and be healthy while you follow these tips making masks.

3 Design Tips for Making Masks:

  • Light and plain colors make it easier to see soiling. Avoid dark colors and busy patterns. 
  • Use different colors on each side if you are able. Lighter fabrics are best for the front, outside facing surface. The back, inside surface of the mask should get the darker or busier choice of fabrics.
  • Use the same soft cotton or flannel that you would use for bathrobes and pajamas and for the back layer. Wash and dry the fabric in hot water first so it is clean and does not shrink after the mask is made.

3 Pointers on Proper Mask Fit:

  • Elastic loops hurt your ears and many months of use like this will make your ears stick out permanently
  • It is strongly preferred that masks are made with ties or elastic loops that fit around the head
  • Include a nose wire or flat piece of metal to ensure tighter fit. Its easy to make these from pipe cleaners or small gauge wire, but remember to cover them inside the layers of fabric so no one’s face gets scratched or cut.

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Safety Tips For Making Masks

The coronavirus is an extremely tiny particle that is combined with droplets of mucus and saliva when expelled while speaking, sneezing, breathing, coughing, singing, or laughing. Using fabric to cover the nose and mouth of infected people helps reduces the spread of the virus as it is expelled from their body. But, using the wrong fabric could cause serious breathing or health issues, so read on.

Important Fabric Filtration Facts:

GOOD TO USE: Easy-to-find, 100% cotton fabrics. Sheets, pillow cases. Finer weaves are better when using woven material alone without a liner. You can even use coffee filters as liners!

BEST TO USE: A filter made from any of these mid- to lightweight non-woven “Pellon” materials considered most desirable by the CDC for DIY masks:

– Pellon 830 Easy Pattern
– Pellon 40 Midweight Stabilizer
– Pellon 30 Lightweight Stabilizer
– Pellon 810 Tru Grid

DO NOT USE solid vinyl, plastics, or plastic sheeting! In order for the mask to act as a filter, the person wearing it has to be able to breathe in air.

DO NOT USE *fusible* lining/interfacing! This is due to the glue chemicals that are not healthy to breathe.

DO NOT USE vacuum cleaner bags as filters! Not even if they are HEPA, as many of them contain glass fibers. According to ShopVac, a major manufacturer of vacuum cleaner bags, they have received frequent inquiries about filtration materials in their products.  They caution people that the filter materials used in vacuum cleaners are not to be used for any purpose other than protecting the users of Shop Vac products from debris being expelled into the air during use.  They state further that these filters are not intended or designed to protect people from viruses, bacteria, or any other pathogens.  They also state clearly that covering your nose or mouth or with the filters are forbidden for any reason.  They are emphatic that the materials they manufacture were not designed for mask use and that no one should make masks from filters manufactured or sold by Shop-Vac. 

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