Introduction: DIY Face Shield
You can make a face shield at home using materials found at hardware or home improvement stores. While these face shields are not approved medical devices, they’re better than nothing.
These face shields can:
- Protect against flying objects, splashes, liquids or droplets
- Be sanitized with soap and water or sterilizers
- Be worn over a mask or a bandana for extra protection
Disclaimer: These designs and instructions are offered for your personal use and discretion. We neither make nor imply any licensing or specific purpose for these shields. To be clear, you’re on your own here. Be careful drilling, heating the acrylic, and using the glue gun. And having said all that, thanks for making them.
Questions? Contact human@diyfaceshield.
- Acrylic sheet, 8” x 10” x 0.08" such as Optix, or polycarbonate sheet such as Lexan
- ½” foam such as an exercise tile mat (or any closed-cell, water-resistant foam)
- 18” length of ¾” knit elastic such as Dritz or rubber bands if necessary
- Hot glue sticks or other adhesive (like double-sided carpet tape)
- Sanitizing supplies such as a disinfectant like Zep, or ethanol, at least 70%, like Everclear. Soap and water works too.
- Gallon-size plastic bags such as Ziploc
- Parchment paper and aluminum foil
- Cylinder for bending the plastic sheet, measuring 6-8” outside diameter and 12” long, such as a charcoal chimney or two socket couplings for a 6” diameter PVC pipe
- Drill with ¼” bit
- Measuring tape or ruler
- Potholders or oven mitts
- Oven or toaster oven
- Hot glue gun
- Needle-nose pliers (optional)
Step 1: Drill Holes for the Elastic Strap
Don’t remove the protective coating from the plastic sheet yet. Note that the shield is 10” wide and 8” high.
- Measure and mark two holes in the right and left corners of the 10” side.
- Each hole should be 1 inch from the top edge and ¾” from the side edge of the plastic sheet. You’ll need help holding the sheet during drilling to prevent the sheet from spinning. Clamps work too.
- The image show a wooden “jig” made to sandwich the plastic sheet during drilling between two pieces of plywood with pre-drilled holes measured at the right spots -- a good method for making multiple face shields.
- Sandwiching the plastic between pieces of wood helps reduce the chatter and likelihood of cracking.
- Using a drill or drill press with a ¼” bit, drill both holes.
- Now you can remove the protective coating from the sheet.
Step 2: Bake the Acrylic
This process is quick and doesn’t create fumes, but you can turn on a fan or vent hood if you’d like.
- Preheat your oven to 320 degrees.
- Make a panel out of two sheets of 8” x 10” aluminum foil to hold the plastic sheet. Cut a piece of parchment paper the same size and place it on top of the foil panel.
- Once the oven is preheated, put the plastic sheet on the parchment paper and leave it in the oven for 4 ½ minutes.
- In a hotter oven, the sheet will heat up faster but also might bubble.
- Thinner plastic? Shorten the time… just check it until it’s nice and flexible.
- While the sheet is heating, prepare other materials:
- Cut the elastic band to 18” long.
- Cut two strips of the ½” foam to 1 ½” wide. One strip should be 9 ¼” long and the other slightly shorter, about 9” long. The longer strip is glued against the plastic sheet; when bent, it must be slightly longer.
- Get the cylinder ready to bend the plastic sheet over when it comes out of the oven. It’s a good idea to stabilize the form with strips of wood or other objects so that it doesn’t roll while you’re bending the sheet.
- Cut another piece of parchment paper to place over the cylinder.
Step 3: Bend the Acrylic
Be careful not to burn yourself on the hot plastic sheet.
- After 4 ½ minutes, use the oven mitts to remove the plastic sheet from the oven and place it lengthwise over the cylinder.
- Use your oven mitts to bend the plastic over the cylinder and hold it in place for 20 - 30 seconds until the plastic sheet is rigid. Be careful that the cylinder doesn’t roll or the corners of the sheet curl up.
Step 4: Glue the Foam Into the Shield
- Using the hot glue gun, apply a generous amount of glue to the longer strip of foam. If the foam has a smooth side and a textured side, apply the glue to the smooth side.
- Lining up the top edges, glue the foam to the face shield.
- Next, apply plenty of glue to the textured side of the shorter foam strip and glue to the foam on the shield, pressing textured sides together. This will enable the wearer to enjoy the smooth side of the foam on their forehead.
- Press to hold the two foam strips together to set the glue.
- Once the glue is set, you can trim both edges of the foam if you’d like.
- Using the same ¼ inch drill bit, line up with the existing holes and drill through both layers of the foam for the elastic bands.
Step 5: Add Elastic Bands
- Using the blunt end of a ⅛” drill bit, push the end of the elastic band through the hole, and then use your fingers or the needle-nose pliers to pull the end through the hole in the foam.
- Tie a knot to hold the elastic band.
- Repeat with the other end of the elastic band in the other hole.
Congratulations, you just made a plastic shield!
Step 6: Sanitize the Shield
This step is important. Don’t distribute shields that become vectors for a virus!
- Use a disinfectant spray, hand sanitizing gel, or other sanitizer on both sides of the face shield and elastic strap. Or wash with soap and water.
- Now wash your hands for 20 seconds.
Step 7: Package
Seal the sterile face shield into the gallon ziplock bag, being careful not to tear the bag with the sharp corners of the shield (and contaminating it).