How to make your own face mask (whether or not you know how to sew)

Updated 10:03 AM ET, Wed April 8, 2020

There's one thing you should know before diving into the conversation around masks: The public should not purchase surgical masks or N95 respirators. Health care workers are facing shortages and need those masks to treat coronavirus patients.

You should also note:
  • Homemade masks are not a substitute for social distancing and staying inside
Still, if you want to make a mask, here are simple, step-by-step instructions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to do just that, whether or not you know how to sew.
Not sure how to wear or clean the masks? We answer those questions under the mask-making instructions.
Materials you'll need
  • Bandana, T-shirt or square cotton cloth, about 20" x 20"
  • Coffee filter
  • Rubber bands or hair ties
Make your mask
1. Cut the bottom off a folded coffee filter. Keep the top part -- you'll need it for the filter in your mask.
2. Lay a bandana or 20" x 20" T-shirt flat in a rectangle. Fold the bandana or shirt in half lengthwise.
3. Fold the cut filter in the center of the folded bandana or shirt. Then, fold the top of the bandana or shirt down over the filter. Fold the bottom up.
4. Place rubber bands or hair ties around the folded bandana or shirt, about 6 inches apart.
5. Fold the side of the bandana or shirt in toward the middle and tuck.