Face Mask Cover DIYs + Where to Donate Face Masks
Make a DIY surgical face mask to help first responders and health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Why sew face masks?
As you've likely heard by now, hospital staff and other workers on the front lines battling the COVID-19 pandemic are facing a shortage of face masks. The CDC states, "When no facemasks are available, options include using a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face with no facemask."
They go on to say, "In settings where facemasks are not available, HCP might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered PPE, since their capability to protect HCP is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face."
N95 face masks are the ideal because "N95 respirators have 2 advantages over simple cloth or surgical masks; they are >95% efficient at filtering 0.3-μm particles (smaller than the 5-μm size of large droplets—created during talking, coughing, and sneezing—which usually transmit influenza) and are fit tested to ensure that infectious droplets and particles do not leak around the mask."
While N95 surgical masks are the ideal PPE (personal protective equipment) that nurses and other medical personnel should be wearing, manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the demand. Sewing a surgical mask cover may help extend the life of N95 masks, keeping medical staff protected longer.
Nurse Jessica Nandino states in her article that there is conflicting evidence as to whether the DIY face masks alone can help. One medical study states that finely woven cotten can provide filtration of fine particles. Another study states that fabric masks may increase risk since viruses can live a long time on fabric. Do your research and, most importantly, see what your local hospital is requesting before you begin sewing.
April 6, 2020 Update
The CDC states: "We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission."
Learn how to make a face mask with only an old T-shirt and rubberbands:
Where You Can Donate
Do not sew face masks and drop them off at a hospital before checking whether the hospital needs these masks. Otherwise, you risk these masks being thrown away! Ensure that you WILL make a difference by seeing where the needs are first before you begin.
Learn how to make a face mask here.
In order to stay informed as to which hospitals are looking for donations, please consult this incredible resource. Students (and friends) at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health have put together a document which lists hospitals and other medical centers currently accepting donations. Check back as the file is continuously being updated.
Hospitals Requesting Homemade Face Masks
For example, the Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC) in West Virginia has a mask making program. You can learn more here.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office has created an entire website, LA Protects, to provide information for companies and organizations interested in producing and requesting essential protective gear for Angelenos during COVID-19. Please visit their website if you work for a qualified manufacturer who is able to create PPE according to the specifications listed: laprotects.org
Another outstanding resource is a new website by The Sewing and Craft Alliance called We Need Masks. This entire website is dedicated to providing locations that need masks as well as sewing instructions.
Visit We Need Masks
Know of other healthcare centers requesting face masks? Contact us here and let us know!
How JOANN Stores are Helping
On March 23, JOANN stores launched a program to donate materials to anyone looking to make masks, gowns, or other supplies for healthcare workers. You can learn more about how this program works here.
A press release on their website states, "Beginning Monday, March 23, while adhering to social distancing guidelines, JOANN will open its classrooms to any who want to help make these essential items. Participating locations will offer sewing machines, materials and guidance to help customers safely make facemasks and covers, gowns and other items to donate to America’s hospitals. JOANN will provide and donate 100% of the supplies needed for these projects for those who come in to make."
All open JOANN stores will also serve as collection points for donated items.
DIY Surgical Face Mask Patterns
Free Crochet Face Mask Pattern
By: Anna Gregory for FaveCrafts.com
From the Designer: "Very recently I was diagnosed with asthma. Over the last two days, I have crocheted a face mask made from cotton thread. It is adjustable and I think it would be helpful and will help people feel comfortable in this fearful time."
Get the Pattern
Diy Face Mask - Protect The Supply Of Medical Masks For Medical & 1st Responders Workers
By: Lynn from MainelyDiY.com
"It is important for every one of us to do our part to impede the spread of the corona virus. Three important actions you can take right now are social distancing, washing your hands, and reserve the supply of masks for the frontline health care professional and first responders."
Get the Tutorial
DIY N95 Mask Cover with the Cricut Maker
By: Cori George from Hey, Let's Make Stuff
Make a DIY face mask cover for an N95 mask or to wear by itself, and learn where you can donate masks to make a difference in your area. Blogger Cori George has adapted this pattern for the Cricut machine to cut the pattern pieces for you, enabling you to create face masks faster than ever.
From the Designer: "Making masks hits particularly close to home for me because my sister-in-law is a nurse. Because her hospital was prioritizing PPE for presumptive COVID-19 cases, she was not wearing a mask when a patient coughed on her. The patient had come in for an unrelated reason and later was shown to have COVID-19 symptoms. All my SIL had on were gloves. Thankfully it looks like she’s virus-free, but as more and more cases come up, the more and more unsafe our healthcare professionals are."
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A.B. Mask - for a Nurse by a Nurse
By: Jessica Nandino for Instructables
Cori George's tutorial is an adaptation of an instructable written "by a nurse, for a nurse." Jessica Nandino's original tutorial is incredibly insightful and thorough. If you do not have a Cricut maker machine or you prefer a traditional sewing pattern instead, be sure to consult the instructable.
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Super Simple Face Mask Pattern For Adults And Kids
By: Mayra Cecilia from So Sew Easy
"By now, most countries have some sort of shortage of face masks. So what can you do if you can't get your hands on one? With this super simple face mask you can help protect yourself and those you care about."
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How To Sew A Face Mask
By: Vicky Pietz from Pattern Princess
"Learn how to sew a face mask to keep yourself safe during these uncertain times. In the news the past few days, the announcers keep letting us know that at this point everyone should be wearing a mask to protect themselves and others in the community. If you have a sewing machine and have basic sewing skills, you can make this face mask."
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No Sew Diy Mask - Duct Tape To The Rescue
By: Lynn from MainelyDiY.com
"Want to make a mask but don’t know how to Sew? Especially with the CDC’s recommendation for the general public to use face covering when not at home in order to help reduce the spread of COVID 19. Duct Tape to the rescue!"
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Not much of a sewist? Looking for another way to pass the time as we all wait for stay at home mandates to lift? Many companies are offering all sorts of resources for keeping busy indoors. Browse the lovely options below!
- Bluprint, an NBCUniversal online creative learning platform, provides ways for the entire family to nourish their creativity from home, offering rich learning experiences for all ages; and starting on March 26 at noon EST, they're giving access to all of their content for FREE for 14 days.
- Brit+Co is making all of their classes free through the end of March. Use code SELFCARE at checkout
- FaveCrafts, as always, will remain free for readers to browse and be inspired!
Stay Safe and Healthy!
It's wonderful that we have the opportunity to help each other as a crafting community! We invite you to do whatever you can to help.
We'll be regularly updating this page as information becomes available. Stay safe, and happy crafting!
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