As part of staying safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, physical distancing includes wearing masks when out in public. Due to the shortage of manufactured masks, many people have been inspired to, or been tasked with, making homemade masks to help ensure everyone has access to one. In our homes, mask making has not only been an activity born out of necessity, it has created an occasion for artistic engagement to help break up the e-learning and screen time, and has provided us with an opportunity to talk with our young children and teens about wearing masks as an extension of our responsibility to our community. Getting them involved in the mask making and wearing helps them to understand that they are doing their part to keep themselves and others safe with physical distance and by covering their mouths and noses. The making is a creative endeavor and they see that the masks can also be beautiful. In fact making them beautiful is also an expression of mutual care and responsibility.
We have found some designs that are simple to sew by hand or with a sewing machine. The masks pictured below uses strips cut from a t-shirt to securely tie around your head. This stretchy fabric is a great alternative to 1/4 inch elastic listed in many patterns. Please follow the link here to see how these circle masks begin by tracing a plate on a simple cotton fabric. Younger children (5-10 years old) can help with this simple design.
Adults and older kids who have access to and can work on sewing machines can check out this how-to video for another mask-making option. These can be hand sewn as well, but on the machine once you get a few made it can go fairly quickly. So if you're looking to make masks in larger quantities to share with family, friends and neighbors, or to distribute to local organizations in need, this is a great option. See images below for examples of these masks.