How To Make Your Own Mask

Staff Writer

With Mike Gov. DeWine’s plan to open the economy back up, he is recommending that people wear protective masks when out in public. 

Many businesses around the state are requiring customers to wear masks when inside their buildings and will turn those away that aren’t wearing them. 

Agape Thrift Store in St. Marys is opening back up on May 12 and posted a notice on its Facebook page Thursday that all customers will be required to wear a mask when in the store.

If one isn’t able to find or buy a mask, it’s possible to make one yourself.

There are a few different options people have when making a mask. 

There’s one option that requires a person to sew and there’s one that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published that requires no sewing.

The materials needed for that option are a bandana that’s approximately 20-by-20 inches, rubber bands or hair ties and scissors. 

The first thing to do it fold the bandana in half. Next, fold the top down and fold the bottom up. Then, place the rubber bands or hair ties about six inches apart on the bandana. Finally, fold both sides to the middle and tuck.

For those that want to sew their own, Vickie Wehner, who has been making masks for the area since the stay-at-home order went into effect, explains the method she uses when she makes them, as shown in the sidebar.

“The best material is 100% cotton and that’s what I use,” said Wehner. “I always add an extra layer in the middle if I can see light through it. It’s best if it’s a tightly woven cotton.”

She said she makes different sizes depending on who they’re for. 

For a child, she cuts a 7.5-by-5 inch piece of material. For adult females she cuts a 9-by-6 inch piece and for an adult male she cuts a 7-by-9.5 inch piece. She cuts two pieces of material for each mask.

Wehner said she can typically get seven masks done in an hour.

Wearing a mask might help protect people around you, if you happen to be infected with COVID-19 but do not show symptoms. Some individuals infected with COVID-19 never show symptoms or do not get very sick, especially if they are young. These masks mainly help others, not yourself. 

Step-by-step mask instructions

1. Cut out two pieces of material for each mask. Leave a two-inch opening at the bottom. Use a quarter-inch seam with a 7-by-0.25 inch of elastic.

2. Start at the beginning where you’re going to turn it and sew to the corner. 

3. Attach your elastic between the two pieces that are right side together and then reinforce that by stitching over that a couple times. Go to the next corner and then pull the elastic and attach it to the next corner. Go back and forth to secure it.

4. Take the long side and when you get to the end of the next corner, attach the second piece of elastic, reinforcing that corner.

5. Sew the short side, attach the next piece to that second piece of elastic and then reinforce it and sew to where there’s still two inches open.

6. Take material from the sewing machine, turn it so the right sides are out. The elastic will be sticking out on the ends and it should be on the short ends. Then, iron it so it’s nice and flat and make three folds; make sure your folds are going the right direction and then sew around it, about an eighth of an inch, twice around to make it nice and to hold it together.

In addition to wearing a mask, the CDC still recommends that:

• Wash your hands regularly. Use soap and water and wash them for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer is acceptable to use if you are unable to wash your hands.

• Cover your face when coughing with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.

• Avoid touching your face.

• Stay at home, except for essential trips outside like trips to the grocery store or to see a doctor.

• Practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from other people.

• Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces daily.