Home-Made Face Mask Design
Studies in 2008 by Public Health England evaluated a range of household materials
that, in the event of a pandemic, could be used by members of the general public to
make individual facemasks.
These studies found that t-shirts and pillow cases made into a facemask using the
design detailed below may act as a barrier against influenza, or to limit spread by a
person with symptoms (we have no data on SARS-CoV-2 but it’s not unreasonable to
It is important to stress, however, that the wearing of facemasks will only offer
limited protection, and should not be considered sufficient protection. Additional
preventative measures need to be adopted. These are detailed below:
1) Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and who have fever and
2) Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue when
possible and disposing of it promptly.
3) It is also important to wash your hands frequently with soap and water to
reduce the spread of the virus from your hands to face or to other people and
cleaning hard surfaces like door handles frequently using a normal cleaning
4) If caring for someone with a flu-like illness, a mask may be worn to cover the
nose and mouth to reduce the risk of transmission. The UK is looking at
increasing its stockpile of masks for healthcare workers for this reason.
Please read all instructions before beginning
Two clean 100% cotton washed t-shirts in contrasting colours. (These can be obtained
at relatively low cost from many retailers- Tip: Get a large sized t-shirt for extra
material!). Using two colours will make it easier to remember which side of the mask
is facing outwards and which is facing inwards so that you do not self-contaminate by
putting the mask on back to front. However, if you wish to make the mask using one
piece of material, we suggest that you mark the fabric in some way.
Pencil/ Yellow marker pen
Needle + thread / sewing machine (preferable)
Cut out the template attached to this document and place it on a single layer of the t-
shirt. Use the pencil to draw around the template so that when you remove it, you
have a guide as to where to cut. Cut around the rectangle. Repeat this with the other
Place the two rectangles on top of each other. If there is a significant difference
between the appearance of the inside and outside of the material, place the softer sides
facing each other.
Either with a needle and thread or with a sewing machine stitch the two rectangles
together at each end as shown on the template by seam A
You will now have a rectangle of fabric that is stiched at either end to form a loop.
Turn this inside out, so that the edges at each end are neatly sewn together and the
stitching is less visible. Iron the seams flat-this makes the next step easier.
Step 4: Again, using either a sewing machine or a needle and thread, sew the fabric
together at either end where indicated by Seam B. This will create two ‘tubes’ at either
end of the mask.
Step 5: Cut the elastic in half, creating two lengths, each approximately 55cm in
length. Each length should be long enough to go around your head from the bridge of
your nose to the back of your head. Tie a loose knot at one end of the elastic to help
feed it through the tube. Do the same for the other tube. Once the elastic has been fed
through there should be an equal length visible either side of the mask.
Pleating and folding: Fold the fabric as shown in the template: fold the uneven dashed
lines backwards, and the evenly dashed line forward (may re-word/design this-image
needed!). It may help to indicate on the fabric where the folds should roughly be. Iron
the pleats flat. (This is where a paper version suggested below may be of assistance).
Helpful hint: Fold the paper template first to calculate how the pleats should be
Pin the fabric with the pleats folded at either side of the mask, and at either side where
the hard line indicates to hold the pleats in place. The length now on either side should
be about 2/3 the original length of the mask. Iron the pleats flat and sew on either side,
indicated on the template by seam C.
Step 8. The mask is nearly finished. Place the mask so that it sits on the bridge of
your nose and under your chin. You may need some one to help you with this part.
Hold the elastic at the back of your head at a comfortable length so that it keeps the
mask on. It should be comfortable: not so tight that the elastic digs in, but not so loose
that the mask does not stay in place. Mark the correct length and stitch the together
the ends of the elastic to finish the mask.
IMPORTANT: Remember to always wear your facemask in the same orientation, i.e.
you should always have the same side facing outwards (the contaminated side).
Different colours used should help with this. Facemasks should be machine-washed
frequently to eliminate any residual flu particles which may be contaminating the
outside of the mask. Remove your mask by taking the straps from the back of your
head and pull forward-do not touch the material part of the mask. If you do, please
remember to wash your hands with soap and water before and after you touch your