Face coverings are now required for indoor spaces, such as shops, takeaways, petrol stations and public transport where social distancing is not possible.

A cloth face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably. It can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head. Face coverings should not be used by children under age 2, or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on and after taking it off. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth at all times and store used face coverings in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash them. Do not touch the front of the face covering, or the part of the face covering that has been in contact with your mouth and nose. Once removed, make sure you clean any surfaces the face covering has touched. You should wash a face covering regularly. It can go in with other laundry, using your normal detergent. When wearing a face covering, take care to tuck away any loose ends.

Please note: evidence suggests face coverings do not protect you and they do not replace social distancing. However, if you are infected and have not yet developed symptoms they may provide some projection to anyone you come into contact with if used correctly.

Below are three simple methods of making your own face mask:


Sewn Facemask


  • Two 10”x6” rectangles of cotton fabric
  • Two 6” pieces of elastic (or rubber bands, string, cloth strips, or hair ties)
  • Needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine

There are various ways to make a cloth face mask. The simplest patterns require just two pieces of cloth and some elastic, or similar that you can use as ties. Cotton or t-shirt fabric are ideal for this style of mask. If you can’t buy fabric from a roll you can always recycle an old and unused item of clothing.

Cut your material to around 10 x 6-inches or roughly 25 x 15 cm. Place your two pieces of fabric on top of each other. You want the pattern that you’d like to be on the ‘front’ of your mask face down. The piece of material facing up towards you will be the inside of your mask.

Next, fold over the long sides of the material around 1/4-inch or 0.5-1cm. Hold in place, ideally, with pins and hem (folding the edges of your material over and stitching them so that your fabric will not fray). Once you have hemmed along the length of your face mask, fold over the sides of your face mask around 1/2 an inch (1.5cm), pin and hem the sides too.

Thread your elastic, string or hair ties through the hem on the sides. You may need a needle to help with this. You could also add some thin wire into the top hem of your face mask to help you shape it around your nose, jewellery wire works well for this.

With your ties threaded through the sides of your mask, tie your elastic or hair ties in secure knots, and move the knots until they can be tucked inside the hem. Gather the sides of the mask along the elastic and adjust your face mask to fit your face, and add some stitches on either end of your face mask to keep your elastic in place.


T-shirt mask (no sewing required)


  • A T-shirt
  • Scissors
  • Coffee filter or paper towel (optional)

You can make a simple facemask from an old t-shirt that you no longer need. Ideally, your T-shirt should be 100 per cent cotton and as opaque as possible.

To start, cut a straight line across the width of the T-shirt (front and back) approximately 20cm from the bottom of the T-shirt.

From a point 2cm below the top right-hand corner of the fabric, make a 15cm horizontal cut through both sides of the fabric that is parallel to the top of the rectangle. Cut down towards the bottom of the fabric until you reach approximately 2cm above the bottom edge. From here, make another 15cm cut that runs parallel to the bottom of the fabric to make a rectangle that can be discarded.

To make the ties, cut open the edge of the 2 long strips of fabric. Unfold the main piece of fabric and place over the mouth and the nose. The 4 strips act as ties to hold the cloth face covering in place and should be tied behind the head and around the neck.

Adjust until you get a snug fit around your nose and chin. If you like, you can add a coffee filter or paper towel to your face mask, and secure it with a safety pin.

Bandana style face mask (no sewing required)


  • A bandana, old t-shirt or square cotton cloth (20x20inches
  • 2 x elastic or rubber bands, or hair ties
  • A coffee filter, paper towel or kitchen roll (optional)

Fold your bandana or cloth in half, then folding it again twice – lengthways from both the top and the bottom. At this point, you can also add a square piece of coffee filter, paper towel or kitchen roll to your mask – which you can change.

Then, place your rubber bands or hair ties around your strip of material, and fold the material in towards the middle. Adjust the mask to fit.


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Sources: gov.uk, creativebloq.com, cdc.gov