How to make a mask to wear during the coronavirus pandemic as Victoria battles to contain COVID-19 outbreak

Authorities have told residents of Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire that if they can't keep 1.5 metres from people in the coming weeks, they should wear a mask.

Premier Daniel Andrews has also flagged that when the six-week lockdown ends, wearing masks will remain an "important feature" in Victoria's response to the pandemic.

Store-bought cloth or surgical masks are an option but there is also the satisfaction which can come from making your own.

So, how do you do that? Here are some tips.

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What equipment do I need to make a mask?

  • Some material — cotton is preferable and make sure there is enough to create several layers about 25cm x 15cm each
  • The Victorian Government recommends three pieces of fabric: water resistant for the outer layer, blended for the middle layer, and a water absorbing cotton fabric for the inner layer
  • A sewing machine. Or a needle and thread if you've got the time and skills
  • Some elastic, or extra material for ties to keep the mask in place
  • Patience

Now, how do I actually make it?

Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has instructions on how to make masks here, and recommends you follow this process:

  1. 1.Cut out three different layers of fabric (see recommended fabric types above) in 25x15cm rectangles
  2. 2.Stack them neatly in the correct order and fold down one edge of the long side of fabric to create a seam of 1cm
  3. 3.Stitch down the folded long side. Repeat step two and three for the opposite edge on the long side
  4. 4.Fold the short sides over to create a seam and stitch that way too (make sure there's room to thread your elastic or ties through)
  5. 5.Run your elastic or fabric tie through the hem you've created
  6. 6.Knot the ends of your elastic tightly
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has asked Melburnians to wear masks in public when they can't social distance, in a major shift in health policy in the state and across Australia.