I was planning to launch our reusable vintage pattern napkins online and then realized they would work perfectly for those hoping to DIY a face mask quickly.
Dinner napkin to mask transformation (no sewing required)
A couple notes - if you are a medical professional check out the CDC guidelines regarding mask safety and take advantage of one of the many small businesses (several listed below) gifting free masks to medical facilities and professionals.
The purpose of the DIY pictured here is for usage by individuals who need a mask for work (while practicing social distancing of 6 feet or more) or those who must venture out of the home for necessities. I make no claims as to the effectiveness of this DIY in preventing disease. I recommend to avoid touching the face when wearing a mask and wash your mask after use in hot water - don't keep reusing the same one.
Takes about 2 minutes to fold this. I had to try it a couple times to get the fold the way we wanted. I used rubber bands but for better comfort try hair ties or even cut up sections of nylon stockings or socks (Tutorial #1 talks about this!)
You can also cut out a coffee filter or blue shop towel and insert inside the folds to filter better.
Are you skeptical about DIY or handmade masks? No problem, read the official CDC recommendation here. I think that N95 masks need to go to doctors and DIYs like this can help relieve the extreme lack of supply so doctors and hospitals can get what they need.
What do do with these later?
When you no longer need a mask around (after this pandemic is under control), wash the cloth again and you have a beautiful cloth napkin to use at home or for picnics or at work!
Do I need a napkin?
Any piece of fabric will work! Try a bandana, or cut up some soft fabric you have at home from old clothes. If you happen to want some napkins for the future, the ones we have are discounted 50% off the normal retail price and the patterns are super cute. (edit they are sold out)
Buy or donate masks with these small businesses
Each of the small businesses below are hand-making masks in the USA with fair wages and excellent working conditions. They are practicing social distancing and workplace sanitation. They are donating either 100% of masks to healthcare professionals and frontline workers (and asking for donations to cover costs) or using a 50/50, buy a mask, donate a mask model.
Keep in mind that due to USA wages, variations in materials costs and design intricacy, these are not going to be as cheap as disposable overseas-made masks.
Hedley & Bennett - $22 Wake up and Fight Mask - I bought one of these and waiting for it to ship, they appear to be quite slammed with orders. They donate one to a hospital for each one sold (so you are really buying two), and it has a space for a coffee filter or other filter to be inserted. The design is really nice!
Whimsy + Row - $10 simple cotton mask - buy one and donate one model. Whimsy + Row founder Rachel is one of our long time vendor buddies from doing craft fairs and flea markets! She has transformed her company over the years and now manufactures her own line right in LA and has a beautiful storefront she built out in Venice.
MATE the label - donation only - contribute to their effort to donate masks! They are not available for personal use just able to be donated to healthcare professionals, grocery workers and more. MATE uses the highest quality organic cotton and manufactures in LA using labor paid fair wages. I own their leggings and LOVE them. Seriously the softest fabrics ever.
Dot & Army - Donation only! They are a mother - daughter team just like me and my mom! They are hand-making each mask right in Georgia and donating 800 of them. They made the beautiful napkins we sell. Consider shopping from their site or sending them donations to help support their efforts. It's really hard right now for small businesses and any support helps.
Marley's Monsters - mostly donation, selling a few occasionally! You have to follow them on Instagram to get word of any available for sale to the public. They are mostly donating to local hospitals. They are designed to be worn over N95 masks for healthcare professionals who are forced to reuse masks due to the shortage. This company is AMAZING and they make many of the reusable fabric products we sell here like UnPaper® towels. They also sell some No Tox Life products in their store in Oregon.
Christy Dawn - The Sustainable Mask - 10 pack for $30 (5 for you, 5 are donated). This made in LA company has beautiful dresses - I've admired their designs for years. It's great to see them helping out during these times. They pay fair wages and have a safe working environment, all products are sewn in house.
SUAY Sew Shop LA - I really saved the best for last here. Donation only. Head over to their GoFundMe to help them out.
Short story: they did actual particle count testing and figured out how to make a close-to-medical-grade mask that filters out around 85% of particles the size of coronavirus. Pretty darn good and better for healthcare professionals than cotton masks, assuming N95 masks are unavailable.
Read the long story on Business Insider here.
They are making and donating 10,000 masks a week to medical professionals and front line workers. They also released their template and instructions for FREE so if you have sewing skillz head over here to learn!
Heather from SUAY runs a sewing shop that is essentially a non-profit (she loses money on its operations because she pays all workers above minimum wage and gives on the job training), but it's not structured that way yet. She's working on getting it set up as a real non-profit for the future.
What are your plans for face masks? Did you find a good pattern you like? Let me know on Instagram your recommended businesses to shop from or DIYs!
- Callie, co-founder No Tox Life