How to Make a COVID Face Mask (Even if You Can’t Sew)

L.A. officials are now recommending face coverings in public—here are some easy ways to comply

After many weeks of being told not to bother wearing face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the non-symptomatic public is being instructed by local officials to wear coverings over their noses and mouths when performing essential tasks outside their homes. (Not medical grade masks—front-line workers need those.)

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the measure in his daily COVID-19 update on April 1, explaining the reversal in messaging by way of a sports metaphor. I’ll paraphrase:

Imagine that the coronavirus particles are the size of a football player and imagine the pores in a mask are the size of a doorway. Sure, a football player can get through the doorway—but four or five football players would have a hard time trying to cram through at once.

People with sewing machines are churning out masks you can buy online (Etsy has loads), but there are also plenty of DIY ways to make one even if you don’t know from a bobbin.

The New York Times, posted a pretty easy needle-and-thread tutorial yesterday, but there are some extremely easy no-sew versions. Here’s one that requires only a bandana and two rubber bands:

Don’t have a bandana or scarf handy? You can very easily make one of those if you have a T-shirt and a decent pair of scissors:

And here’s another version that only requires an old T-shirt and a pair of scissors; similar versions recommend inserting a paper towel as a filter:

Whatever you do, do not buy up N95 masks. Leave them for the people who really need them. One of these versions will suffice next time you have to head to Trader Joe’s or Vons. Note: Even in a mask, social distancing is key!

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