In the fight against COVID-19 in the UAE, wearing a face mask is now a requirement when leaving the house to carry out essential trips and tasks – if you haven’t got a medical mask to hand, here’s how to fashion your own homemade face mask using household fabrics
In early April 2020, the UAE government instructed that a face mask must be worn at all times as people leave their homes for essential trips – to the supermarket for food supplies or in medical emergencies.
The news comes as Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain work together to stop the spread of coronavirus, and protect citizens and residents from falling ill. Other nations around the world have laid out similar guidelines.
Unsurprisingly, the demand for medical, surgical and n95 masks has skyrocketed, and more and more people are turning to fashioning their own alternatives at home.
While not as effective as medical masks, homemade face masks made from household fabrics can still provide protection and reduce the risk of spreading the virus, while also covering UAE dwellers in lieu of other options when needing to leave the house.
How can I make my own face mask at home?
You don’t have to be an expert seamstress or seamster, but you will need…
- An old (but very clean!) t-shirt, pillowcase, or tea towel (you will need three layers, ideally two pieces of cotton and one flannel sheet)
- Thread and needle/sewing machine
- Elastic/broken hair bands
- An iron
Start by cutting your fabrics into six and nine inch pieces, and place two (preferably the flannel and the cotton layer) on top of one another.
Take your elastic pieces, and place them length ways across each side, leaving approximately half an inch below and above, pinning each piece down.
Add the third layer of fabric, and re-clip all the components. Leave a hole on one side about two inches or so, and begin to sew around the outline using a 1/4 seam and double stitch over the elastic band areas for added durability.
Carefully clip off the corners with your scissors, and turn the mask the right side out. Iron over the fabrics and begin to fold them over so they over lap twice, about half an inch, clipping in place as you go.
Iron over once more, and run over the edges with the sewing machine once more to keep those layers in place.
Can I make a face mask without a sewing kit?
Actually yes – and it’s surprisingly easy. All you will need is a square bandana or scarf (preferable cotton) and a couple of elastic bands.
Simple fold over length ways until your piece of fabric is approximately three inches in heights – long enough to cover your nostrils and mouth.
Then add elastic bands or hairbands to each end, and then fold the fabric over. If you can, tuck in one side to the other, and then loop the bands out to be pulled over your ears.
While these are ideal for short essential trips, please note that such homemade masks are not ideal for longterm wear, and need to be removed and washed upon returning home.
Looking for more ways to make use of what you already have in the house as you stay home? See our guide to household items that quickly convert into gym equipment.