Making Masks for Healthcare Workers:
How Safe Are They, How To Make Them, Where and How To Donate Them
How safe are homemade fabric masks?
There has been a lot of debate surrounding fabric face masks and whether they help or hurt in regards to COVID-19. A fabric mask alone will NOT protect you from COVID-19 as they do not have a built-in filter. However, for many healthcare workers who are using bandanas and scarves for a layer of protection, homemade fabric masks are a big help. Hartford Healthcare and Trinity Health of New England are both accepting donations of homemade masks. Please see the guidelines below for instructions, proper fabric type, handling, and when you should NOT make a mask.
Should you make masks?
We understand some may be inclined to come together in groups to work on mask-making projects, but we strongly urge all individuals to continue to practice social-distancing under the following guidelines: stay home; if you must go out, keep six feet of separation between yourself and other individuals.
Before beginning your mask-making project, please consider the following:
If you answer "YES" to either or both questions, please do not make masks. If you are experiencing cough, fever, or shortness of breath and have a concern that you may have COVID-19 please call your primary care provider for a risk assessment.
How to make a fabric mask:
Joann’s has a great video tutorial available with step by step instructions. See video on the left side of this page.
Another option is to make a headband with buttons on the sides to help relieve the pressure the elastic straps have on medical staff’s ears. See video tutorial on the left side of this page for instructions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the mask need a pocket?
Most institutions would like masks to have a pocket so that the hospitals can insert a filter if needed. Please see mask construction guidance and suggestions in the instructions provided.
I cannot find elastic anywhere; what can I do?
Local stores have depleted their stock. Many sewing groups are sharing elastic but are also using ponytail holders and scrunchie ponytail holders instead. You can also sew ties on the mask and should be 16” in length or make a headband with buttons, as shown in the video.
We are also seeing people removing the elastic from clean/washed fitted sheets if you do not have any elastic at home.
What are the best fabrics to use?
Please place any donation of homemade masks in sealed plastic bags (you can place as many masks as possible in the bag), then place the bag(s) in a box that is clearly labeled Homemade Mask Donation.Deliveries can be arranged with our hospital volunteer coordinators:
3D Printed Shields
UCONN Health is accepting donations of 3D printed shields as well as raw material donations (filament). If you have a 3D printer at home, are in good health, and want to help their medical workers, please contact Keith Petit, Property Administration Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and the .stl file.