How to make a face mask: instructions for making your own DIY face coverings - and where they are available to buy online

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In Scotland, it is now mandatory for face coverings to be worn on public transport and in shops

Face coverings are mandatory in Scotland when using public transport and going into shops.

So where can you get face masks - and is it safe to make your own?

Where can I buy a face mask?

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Are you thinking about making your own face masks? (Photo: Shutterstock)Are you thinking about making your own face masks? (Photo: Shutterstock)
Are you thinking about making your own face masks? (Photo: Shutterstock)

When the Covid-19 pandemic first occurred, getting your hands on a face mask was a difficult task.

Panic buying wiped out supplies and many had no idea how to make their own.

But as the UK adjusts to life with coronavirus, masks are much more wildly available.

Face masks are available from online retailers like Amazon and eBay, as well as independent retailers too.

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You can also sometimes find face masks in the likes of pharmacies, but this isn’t a guarantee.

When buying a face mask, make sure to follow the advice on how to wear them correctly and how to dispose of them.

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Can I make my own face mask?

If you don’t want to buy a face mask, it’s easy to make your own at home using materials you already have.

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There are various YouTube instructional videos showing how to make face masks if you're good at sewing.

If you don’t know how to sew, or don’t have access to sewing materials, you can alternatively choose to cut up something like a t-shirt and tie it around your head.

Alternatively, you can follow these steps from the UK government on how to make your own face covering, including both sew and no sew methods.

When should I be wearing a mask?

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The Scottish government states that face coverings are mandatory when using a shop, which is defined as “any indoor establishment which offers good or services for sale or hire”, and when using public transport.

There are some exceptions which states that the following do not have to wear a face mask:

- Children under 5 years of age

- Police constables or workers such as paramedics acting in the course of their duty

- Staff such as drivers or checkout assistants who are physically separated, by means of, for example, screens, from passengers or customers

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- Shop workers if they maintain a two metre distance from customers or members of the public

- If you have a health condition or are disabled and a face covering would be inappropriate because it would cause difficulty, pain or severe distress

How do I wear a mask properly?

If you’re going to wear a face mask, it’s imperative that you know how to wear it properly, otherwise the mask is redundant.

WHO says you should follow these steps:

- Before you even put on the mask, clean your hands with soap and water, or an alcohol based hand rub

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- Next, cover your nose and mouth with the mask, and make sure that there are no gaps between your face and the mask

- Once you have the mask on, avoid touching it while you’re wearing it - if you do touch it, clean your hands again

- As soon as the mask becomes damp, replace the mask with a new one - never reuse single use masks

- When removing the mask, you should take it off from behind, taking care not to touch the front of the mask, then discard it immediately, and once again, clean your hands

When using a cloth face mask, you should wash it immediately between uses.