So here we are, halfway through summer, and face-mask-wearing is pretty much required by law in many businesses and municipalities. Like them or hate them, face masks are the new seat belts. Although they do not lend themselves nearly so well to a snappy slogan a la “click it or ticket” (“wear ’em or scare ’em?” surely somebody can do better than that!), face masks are a must-have part of your summer wardrobe, and your fall wardrobe, and most likely your winter wardrobe as well.
While you can always make do with disposable single-use masks, the cost is going to add up, plus just think of the poor, overburdened landfills. Reusable cloth masks are the way to go, but the CDC recommends that these be washed after each use (or at least once per day), so you’ll need at least a couple of these to see you through the season.
The cool thing is, face masks really are incredibly easy to DIY even for someone whose crafting skills are at a sub-kindergarten level. All you’ll need for this face mask hack is a spare cotton pillowcase, a pair of scissors, and a few elastic hair ties or even rubber bands — and no needle or thread! This mask is 100 percent sew-free.
How to make your pillowcase face mask
According to crafting blog LoveCrafts (no relation to Cthulhu’s daddy H.P., although come to think of it, a Cthulhu facemask would be pretty cool), the first step is to cut the pillowcase along one of the long sides and then up the short side until you just have one big cloth rectangle. Fold and trim that rectangle into a square, then fold the square in half, pressing hard so you’ll get a visible crease. Unfold, and fold the top and the bottom in towards that middle line so you’ll have a long rectangle folded in thirds. Fold the top and bottom sides into the middle yet again.
Now take the elastic bands and slip one over each side, positioning them about 4 inches from the ends. Fold the end sections in towards the middle, making sure that they overlap by an inch or so. Take one end and tuck it into the other, smooth down the cloth, and pull the elastic bands out to each side.
Changes and add-ons to this homemade face mask
Wow, look at that! You now have a pretty decent face mask, after less than five minutes’ worth of effort. If you want to make things even easier on yourself, you can always just start with a square cotton scarf instead of a pillowcase since that will let you skip the cutting. You can also feel free to re-purpose any other spare cotton cloth you may have around the house, such as a sheet or a shirt — again, just trim the material to a square measuring about two feet on each side.
If you want to add a filter of some sort, DIY mask makers have been using anything from coffee filters to shop towels to paper towels to pantyhose. (Do they even still make pantyhose? Who knew?) While the Michigan Mask Project reports that none of these common household items are likely to compare to the N95 mask when it comes to offering both protection and breathability, still, every little bit helps.
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