Two DIY Face Masks To Make At Home

Staying home is still the most effective way to prevent spreading COVID-19, but if you have to step outside, these DIY fabric masks from fashion designer Luly Yang will help you stay safe and stylish

By Andrew Hoge


April 13, 2020

The time has come to start covering up. On April 3, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a recommendation that individuals should wear fabric masks in public spaces where social distancing can be difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores and pharmacies. While a fabric mask is not a substitute for a surgical or N95 mask, which are prioritized for healthcare workers, the CDC says they can help individuals who have the novel coronavirus but are not showing symptoms from spreading the disease through talking, coughing and sneezing.

The CDC has tutorials for creating basic sew and no-sew fabric masks but, if you have the time, why not create masks that are as stylish as they are effective?

Seattle-based fashion designer Luly Yang has created two face mask guides tailored to different levels of craftiness: a five-minute pleated design assembled sans sewing machine; and a more stylish, multi-layered pattern that contours to the shape of the face. Both can be made with materials found around your home.

“It’s important for all of us to take every precaution to slow down the spread of coronavirus,” says Yang, who recently sourced and donated 20,000 medical-grade face masks to Providence Healthcare’s 100 Million Mask Initiative. “These mask patterns are at-home options for our community and their design provides added benefits including breathability, great fit and can be cleaned easily.”

Yang recommends making at least two masks so you can have one available if the other is being cleaned.

For those Seattleites lacking DIY finesse, several local fashion designers, including The Oula Company and Poppyseed, are selling stylish masks. Poppyseed founder Rebekah Adams says her masks are made with two layers of a thick ponte knit (research from Missouri University of Science and Technology suggest that more heavily woven fabrics are most effective) and her first 44 masks sold out in 30 minutes. Her next batch will drop on April 13, and for every $15 mask sold, Adams will donate one to Providence’s campaign.

Before you begin, keep these mask-making tips from the CDC top of mind:

  • Masks should “fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face”
  • Multiple layers of fabric are recommended (pro-tip: in general, the more densely woven a fabric is, the less light comes through when held up to a light source)
  • Masks should be able to be washed and dried “without damage or change to shape”

Luly’s 5-Minute Face Mask

Materials needed:

  • Cotton cloth, such as a T-shirt or pillowcase (suggested size: 15”x13”)
  • Hair ties or elastic bands
  • Two safety pins
  • Scissors

Luly Yang’s 5 Minute Face Mask Tutorial from Luly Yang on Vimeo.

Luly’s Tailored Face Mask

Materials Needed:

  • Outer cotton fabric (a T-shirt or pillowcase)  
  • Jersey mid-layer (a thin sweatshirt)
  • Fabric lining (something lightweight and breathable, such as a tank top)
  • Hair ties or elastic bands
  • Metal wire (optional)   

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