12.05.2021

Here’s how to make a fabric face mask with a bandana

Professor Heymann, Head of the Centre on Global Health Security, said that if the evidence of this study is supported, then it could be that “wearing a mask is equally as effective or more effective than social distancing.”


Up until now, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has not advised the public to wear a face mask when they’re outside of their own homes to combat the spread of Coronavirus. That said, guidance could be about to change as the organisation reassesses in the light of new research.

What is the WHO changing its stance on face masks?

In the coming days, the WHO is set to look into new research which may suggest face masks could, in fact, be useful. A study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows that the virus could actually be projected further than previously thought – coughs can reach up to six meters and sneezes up to eight. Pleasant.

Is it safe to make my own face mask?

Even if the government does change their advice, it’s about as difficult to get your hands on a face mask as it is pasta, hand sanitiser and at-home gym equipment. Read: near on impossible.

Surgical supplies are low and should be preserved for those working in hospitals and other medical centres. So, is it safe to make your own instead?

America’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention says that DIY masks can be made as a last resort. While there is currently no evidence that a self-fashioned cloth face mask does anything to protect the wearer against someone else’s germs, the CDC said that face masks *could* slow the spread of the virus by preventing those who have it, but do not know they do, from transmitting it to others.

The CDC said: “Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.”

A study from Smart Air Filters found that tea towels, cotton t-shirts and cotton pillowcases are the best materials for making your own DIY face mask (they have a good ability to capture particles while still remaining breathable). But, if you’re not particularly handy with a sewing kit, don’t fret. There are lots of tutorials popping up on Instagram, showing you how to make a fabric face mask from a square fabric scarf or bandana and hair ties.

How to make your own face mask:

It’s actually fairly easy! We love this tutorial by Bridget Brager, where she uses a square, printed scarf and some silk scrunchies to fashion a face mask. These are the steps she followed:

These DIY face masks cannot prevent you from catching Coronavirus, but they can be used as a voluntarily measure to take pressure off of surgical supplies.

  1. Fold your scarf (preferably 20 by 20 inches) in half lengthways, then in half again.
  2. Slide a hair tie (we’ve linked up some of our favourites below that’ll stand the test of time) onto each end.
  3. Open the roll of fabric at one end of your folded bandana, then take the other end and slot it inside.
  4. You can then lift the bandana to your face and hook the hair ties around your ears for security. Ta-dah!

If you don’t have a bandana or square scarf to hand – and you’d prefer *not* to start hacking at an old shirt or bed sheet – there are plenty of stylish scarves like Bridget’s, available online, which might help prevent the spread of Covid-19 while still allowing you to embrace your personal style. Times are tough, so we’re getting joy where we can. We’ve rounded up some of the best below, from designers and the high street. Stay safe and happy crafting!

Please always check the WHO and government websites for the latest information and best practise.

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