Now that it’s safe for us to leave the house again, many of us have rejoiced at finally being able to see our loved ones and having a meal that wasn’t cooked at home. But this doesn’t mean it’s all clear. The government has still mandated that masks are compulsory whenever we’re in public and safe distancing rules still apply. 

But if you’re out and about regularly, the two reusable government masks we’ve been issued are definitely not going to be enough. And since we don’t know how long this pandemic might last, disposable masks might not be a long term solution either.

Sure, there are tons of stylish options that you can buy online right now, but what if you’re on a tight budget? Or you’re waiting for your cute personalised mask to be sent to you? Well, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of tutorials online with varying degrees of difficulty  to show you how you can DIY your own face mask.

I decided to try out three different methods to see how easy it would be. Here’s how it went.

Method 1: The Bandana

What you’ll need: A square scarf/bandana (if you don’t have either, just cut up any clothing item you have into a 30cm x 30cm square) and two hair ties.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Lay your scarf flat.
2. Fold both ends of the scarf to meet in the middle.
3. Flip it over, and then put the hair ties through each end.
4. Now flip it back so the smooth side is facing outwards and fold the ends into the center and tuck the excess in.
5. Pull the hair ties to tighten it and voila!

Difficulty level: 1/5

Verdict: If you’re in a rush (or just really lazy), this is the one of the easiest methods to do. It’s super simple to follow and doesn’t require more than a minute! The only downsides are your hair ties can’t be too small and if your face is small, the mask could be a bit bulky.

Method 2: The T-shirt

What you’ll need: A steady hand, a t-shirt, a pair of scissors, paper towel (or disposable mask) and at least 4 safety pins.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Draw a pattern along the sleeves and body of the t-shirt.
2. Cut alongside the pattern on both the front and back of the t-shirt so that you’ll have two layers.
3. Pin one side of the cloth pieces and slip in your disposable piece. 
4. Pin the other side to seal it up.
5. Fold the ends down to hide the safety pins and then tie the ends at the back at your head.

Difficulty level: 2/5

Verdict: When I initially started on this piece, I had my doubts. When cutting up the t-shirt, the mask did look a bit flimsy and I was wondering if the safety pins would look really ratchet. But because of the soft cotton knit material, it ended up being really comfortable to wear and I could easily fold any excess material to fit my face. Just a word of caution: cotton tends to “shrink” and curl in when you’re cutting it, so just be careful when you’re cutting the straps in case it becomes too thin!

Method 3: The Shoe Bag

What you’ll need: A shoe bag, a sewing kit, needles and ribbon/string (I used the string from the shoe bag)

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Measure about three inches from the bottom of the bag and fold two 1-inch pleats. Iron down or press a heavy book on top of it to lay it flat. 
2. Pin it in place.
3. Sew a running stitch at the points where the fabric meets. If you’re lazy like me, just sew them at key points instead of all over.
4. Flip the mask and fold it over and then tuck about half an inch in to create a sort hollow band.
5. Pin it down and then add a little cross stitch on each corner.
6. Thread your ribbon through. If you don’t want the strings to move, you can also do a small stitch in the middle. 

Difficulty level: 3/5

Verdict: While this mask took the longest to make (around 30 mins), I actually liked it the most. I felt it was the least DIY looking. I could also see it matching with a lot of my clothes without it looking out of place. I also chanced upon a place that upcycled designer shoe bags and a similar one would cost USD$95 so major win for me!