Introduction: The NeoMates COVID-19 Grand Challenge

Our UCI biomedical engineering senior design team decided to utilize our skills and knowledge to design protective masks. These masks can be made at home, using materials found around the house. Our team decided to use 100% cotton bed sheets with a thread count of 300 since this material is known to provide adequate protection against respiratory droplets. Our masks incorporate different key features that increase comfort for the user and allow the user to adjust the fit of the mask depending on their head shape.


Fabric of choice (enough to have three 9inx6in rectangular pieces)

Roll of knitted elastic band

Stud/Socket snap buttons

Step 1: Prepare Fabric for Face Covering

Cut your selected fabric into three 9in x 6in rectangles.

Step 2: Prepare Elastic Bands

Cut two 8.5in strips and one 8in strip from the roll of knitted elastic. These measurements work best for small-medium sized masks. If you are looking to make a larger sized mask, you may increase the lengths of each band by 1-2 inches.

Step 3: Sew Two Pieces of Fabric

Take two of your pre-cut 9in x 6in rectangular pieces of fabric, and sew the top and bottom lengthwise. We recommend leaving 1/4in of space from the edge of the fabric before starting your stitch.

Step 4: Sew Elastic Bands Onto Face Covering

Take the two 8.5in elastic strips and sew them at a 45-degree angle in the top corners of the double-layered fabric. After securing the two top bands, sew the 8in strip at one of the bottom corners. The two top bands will act as the bands that wrap around one's head, while the bottom horizontal strap will be secured around the nape of the neck.

Step 5: Sew Third Piece of Fabric Onto Covering

Once Step 4 is complete and the strips of elastic are sewn in appropriate places, make sure to flip the mask over. Once flipped over, sew the top and bottom of the third pre-cut piece of fabric onto the already layered fabric. Be sure to create these horizontal stitches a couple millimeters further from the edge when compared to the previous stitches from Step 3.

Step 6: Flip Inside-Out

Take the mask and flip it inside-out. The elastic bands should now be tucked within the layers of the fabric.

Step 7: Pleats!

Fold pleats into the mask and secure the folds with pins. Once pleats are pinned down, you may use an iron to flatten down the fabric.

Step 8: Zigzag Stitching the Sides

Once the pleats are ironed flat, secure the folds and edges using zigzag stitches down the sides of the mask. After sewing the sides, you may use scissors to cut off any frayed fabric.

Step 9: Secure the Stud Buttons

Hand sew three stud snap buttons in designated areas on the front of mask, allowing 1in of space between them.

Step 10: Adding the Final Socket Snap Buttons

Flip the mask over to have the backside facing up. Secure two socket-snap buttons in designated areas on the back of the mask on the left side.

Step 11: And You're Done!

Congratulations on completing this Instructables and making your own protective mask!