How to Fold a No-Sew Bandana Face Mask

How to Fold a No-Sew Bandana Face Mask
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New CDC recommendations endorse using face masks when in public to help combat Covid-19. As most outlets no longer have inventory of official face mask products, many designs have circulated for DIY versions that you can sew at home. Those needing something quicker (or lacking a sewing machine) have used t-shirts, scarves, and bandanas โ€” shown to be less effective than an N95-rated product, but still much more useful than nothing at all.

Now a new bandana-folding technique is circulating that shows how to whip up a quick mouth-and-nose cover using your favorite rag and two elastic ponytail holders (you could also use rubber bands or shoe laces to hold it in place).

I like this style better than the cowboy-bandit tied-in-back approach for a couple reasons: It holds pressure against my mouth and chin better, leaving less potential leakage from happening. And it slips less โ€” the ear bands hold it in place better than a tied knot that constantly slips down toward my neck.

Here’s how to make it.

First, gather your supplies.

Fold bottom of bandana up to the middle.

Fold up to 3/4 mark.

Complete folding so bandana is approximately 1/4 the original width.

Slip an elastic band over one side of the folded bandana. Slide it 1/3 of the way in.

Repeat on the other side, also about 1/3 of the way in.

Fold one side over at the point where the elastic sits.

Open the folded section up to expose its interior.

Fold and tuck the other side into the interior of the bandana opening that you just opened up.

That’s it. The bandana face mask is now complete.

Slip the elastic bands over your ears and adjust the bandana to cover your nose and mouth.

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This is not a medical-grade mask by any means, but if you’re an asymptomatic carrier of Covid-19, it can help reduce the spread of the virus. An additional suggestion to add a paper towel to its interior may also increase its capabilities.

Here’s an official graphic from the CDC, showing the addition of a coffee filter as well.

Remember this one for when you’re making a few quick cuts in the garage, too. Broadly useful.

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Mike Senese

Mike Senese is a content producer with a focus on technology, science, and engineering. He served as Executive Editor of Make: magazine for nearly a decade, and previously was a senior editor at Wired. Mike has also starred in engineering and science shows for Discovery Channel, including Punkin Chunkin, How Stuff Works, and Catch It Keep It.

An avid maker, Mike spends his spare time tinkering with electronics, fixing cars, and attempting to cook the perfect pizza. You might spot him at his local skatepark in the SF Bay Area.

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